Consider How You Eat And Drink
Making small changes to how you eat, as well as what you eat, can make a big difference to your digestion and how bloated you feel. Although its tempting to eat on the go, try to sit down while you eat and be as upright as possible. Taking your time to chew food and keep your mouth closed to stop you taking in too much air.
Consider Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Although more common in women, bloating in men may result from irritable bowel syndrome . This functional gastrointestinal disorder causes a range of symptoms from constipation to diarrhea to abdominal pain and even bloating.
Treatment for IBS and the symptoms it causes may include medications to improve bowel function, probiotics and diet changes. Adding more fiber to your diet and drinking more water may also help regulate bowel function and alleviate some of the IBS symptoms, like bloating.
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What You Eat Or Drink
What you eat or drink can also lead to bloating.
- Gum and carbonated beverages:These can increase the amount of air you swallow.
- High-fiber foods: These can increase healthy gut bacteria, which can cause bloating if you aren’t used to eating them.
- Alcohol:Wine, beer, and hard alcohol may cause temporary bloating by irritating your stomach lining.
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What Can I Do To Relieve It
Experts often recommend that patients first try to identify, then eliminate, anything in their diet or lifestyle that might be triggering their bloating or, as I like to say, What floats your bloat. Certain foods, particularly those rich in insoluble fiber like cruciferous vegetables, lentils and beans, are classic offenders.
Other common triggers include fermented drinks like beer and kombucha, the artificial sweetener sucralose, as well as onions and fruits. Occasionally, certain behaviors like drinking carbonated beverages, chewing gum or smoking can raise the risk of bloating by increasing the amount of air you swallow, and cutting back on them can help.
With so many potential triggers, it can be hard or even harmful to experiment with identifying and eliminating problematic foods on your own, so seeking the guidance of a nutritionist is recommended, Dr. Harer said.
In some cases, fixing the underlying cause of your bloating may require more than just dietary and lifestyle tweaks. Patients with gastroparesis or significant constipation may benefit from a drug called prucalopride, which helps empty the stomach and expel waste through the colon. For those with over-reactive intestines, certain medications can help dampen those heightened responses, making patients less likely to react with bloating.
Every person is different, so what causes bloating for your friend or family member is not what might cause bloating for you, Dr. Harer said.
You Increase Fiber Too Fast
If you’re working on fiber intake, do so slowly.
Large increases in fiber intake, which can come when following fad diets, doing a 180 with your food choices, or taking fiber supplements, can shock your system, leaving you bloated and even crampy, says Jones.
You’ll also want to be sure you’re hydrating while increasing fiber rich foods in your diet, so drink plenty of water.
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What Causes Abdominal Bloating
- Ascites: Sometimes you may feel bloated due to the accumulation of fluid within the abdominal cavity, called ascites. This is often the result of liver disease.
- Tumours: Very occasionally, you may feel bloated because there is a tumour present within your abdomen, of the ovaries, liver, stomach or elsewhere. The present of a lump or swelling should alert you to the possibility of a tumour or cancer.
- Infection: Certain parasitic disorders can cause abnormal dilatations of the colon associated with symptoms of bloating.
How Can I Prevent Stomach Bloating
If your stomach bloating is caused by diet or alcohol, you can help prevent it by making some lifestyle changes. Some good general guidelines include:
If the cause of your bloated stomach is something more specific, such as specific food intolerance, perimenopause or a medical condition, you might need a little help with diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Some options include:
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Bloating is rarely a sign of a serious medical problem.
If you notice that you become bloated after eating certain foods, bring it up to your healthcare provider. You may have a food sensitivity or intolerance.
Besides those conditions already mentioned, this includes kidney or heart failureboth of which can cause fluid to accumulate in the abdomen.
Why Is My Stomach Bloated
The most common cause of stomach pain and bloating is excess intestinal gas. If you get a bloated stomach after eating, it may be a digestive issue. It might be as simple as eating too much too fast, or you could have a food intolerance or other condition that causes gas and digestive contents to build up. Your menstrual cycle is another common cause of temporary bloating. Sometimes a bloated stomach can indicate a more serious medical condition.
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If It Has Happened What Can You Do To Get Rid Of It
There is no hard and fast way to get rid of the symptoms once youre feeling bloated but drinking lots of water or herbal tea can help to ease discomfort. Moving around can also help dislodge gas from your system, so if you can, go for a brisk walk or jog to help alleviate symptoms.
While it helps to avoid the foods listed above that might trigger an episode, its best to remove them selectively and record this in a diary so you can identify a pattern.
Mindfulness and even hypnotherapy may be beneficial they can help you manage stress and regulate the gut-brain axis.
Eating Too Much Fiber
Eating too much fiber especially if you’ve only recently added it to your diet can cause bloating, says Ashkan Farhadi, MD, a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center. That’s because fiber is not easily digested by the human intestine, which in most cases is beneficial it can add bulk to your stool, thereby easing constipation.
However, when healthy gut bacteria digest fiber they produce gas as a byproduct. And if there is excess fiber, there can be excess gas. That’s why beans, which are very fiber-rich, are notorious for causing flatulence.
Some examples of foods that are high in fiber that might be the culprit of your bloating include:
- Whole wheat products: ½ cup of whole wheat pasta has about 6 grams of fiber or 24% of your daily value
- Lentils: ¼ cup of lentils has 15 grams of fiber, 60% DV
- Broccoli: 100 grams of broccoli has 3.5 grams of fiber, 14% DV
- Beans: ½ cup of black beans has 4.94 grams of fiber, 18% DV
- Apples: 1 small apple has about 4.93 grams of fiber, 20% DV
How to treat it: Stick to the recommended daily intake of fiber, which is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women. And, if your doctor has recommended eating more fiber, gradually build up how much you consume.
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You Drink Too Much Booze
The Dietary Guidelines recommend that men have two alcoholic beverages or fewer each day, if any. If youre a big beer drinker, you may notice that the bubbles in the drink make your stomach bloat, says Rizzo.
On top of that, alcohol has unnecessary calories that may lead to weight gain and alcohol also dehydrates you, which means that you will retain water and feel bloated, Rizzo adds.
Having a drink every now and then is perfectly fine, but try and keep it to a minimum if you want to fight bloat.
Take A Warm Bath Soaking And Relaxing
The heat of the bath can provide relief for a sore abdomen. Relaxation can reduce stress levels, which may allow the GI tract to function more effectively and help reduce bloating.
Quick fixes are not always effective for some causes of bloating. However, people who have frequent bloating may find that certain lifestyle changes can tackle the causes and reduce bloating over time.
People can use these simple steps to try to prevent bloating in the long-term:
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How Long Does A Bloated Stomach Last
If your bloating is due to something you ate or drank or to hormone fluctuations, it should begin to ease within a few hours to days. If you are constipated, it wont go down until you start pooping. Water, exercise and herbal teas can help encourage all of these things along. If it doesnt go away or gets worse, seek medical attention.
Is Bloating A Sign Of Something More Serious
Watch Out for Other Symptoms
Simple bloating is usually not a cause for concern, but it may be a warning sign of a more serious health condition in some cases. If you experience other symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, fever, abdominal pain, weight loss, weakness, loss of appetite, or blood in the stool, see your doctor to rule out potentially more serious conditions. The doctor may order a stool sample or take images of your small intestine to assess for digestive problems and other conditions. Tests are available to check for lactose intolerance, celiac disease, ovarian cancer, liver disease, and other health problems.
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What Are The Symptoms And Causes Of Indigestion
Most of us have experienced indigestion and its symptoms, for example, upper abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, belching, nausea, vomiting, and the feeling of fullness after only eating a few bites. There are common causes of indigestion like GERD or pregnancy. More serious causes include cancers or heart attack.
The best way to relieve and even prevent symptoms of stomach bloating and gas, is a healthy diet and regular exercise, however, there are many things you can do to prevent and relieve bloating and gas.
Are These Signs Or Symptoms Accompanying Your Bloat
Fortunately, if you feel bloated its usually harmless and caused by something as simple as gas, indigestion, or premenstrual symptoms.
But when there are other symptoms occurring with your persistent bloating symptoms you may want to dive deeper into the actual cause.
Other signs and symptoms to look out for with your constant bloating include:
- Severe abdominal pain
Dont shrug your constant bloating off if youre experiencing any of the above symptoms.
Because when detected early, certain diseases such as colon cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, or diverticulitis are easier to treat and can reduce more complications.
And if gastrointestinal issues like leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases arent properly treated it could lead to other complications such as autoimmune diseases or cancer.
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When Bloating Is A Sign Of Something More Serious
Each of the previous reasons for bloating can be overcome through diet, exercise, and mindful living. Although not as common, bloating may be an indication of a more serious condition that requires medical attention. The following are three conditions and what to look for.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder that causes a change in bowel habits such as constipation, diarrhea, or both. These changes can cause stomach pain. If you are diagnosed with IBS, youre not alone according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, 10-15 percent of Americans have IBS. If you notice these symptoms or think you have IBS, see your doctor.
Crohns Disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that can cause bloating. It is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and/or fever. If you experience a combination of these symptoms, visit your doctor to get tested for Crohns disease.
Cancer.Dont panic! Most of the time bloating is a result of something very treatable. However, in rare cases, it can be a sign of a more serious illness such as cancer. If your bloating is combined with symptoms such as blood in the stool and weight loss, you may want to see your doctor who can check you for pancreatic or stomach cancer .
Whats Causing My Bloated Feeling
As bloating can be caused by many different factors, its a good idea to understand the most common causes. This should help you identify whats causing you to feel bloated and work out the best way to manage your symptoms. Here are some of the common causes of bloating:
Food intolerance gluten and dairy are the biggest culprits but people may have their own individual intolerances
Certain types of food especially those high in salt and carbohydrates
Lifestyle choices lack of exercise, overeating, or eating late in the day
Fizzy or carbonated drinks
Coeliac disease a common digestive condition where your intestine cannot absorb gluten found in wheat, barley and rye
Irritable bowel syndrome the bloating of IBS is usually caused from the erratic movement of food waste through the bowel
Premenstrual syndrome this is caused by water retention from a change in hormone levels during your menstrual cycle
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Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
The stomach and intestines are home to various bacteria, which help the body digest food. Disturbing the balance of bacteria can lead to an increase in harmful bacteria in the small intestine. This is known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO.
SIBO can cause bloating, frequent diarrhea, and difficulties digesting food and absorbing nutrients. These chronic symptoms may lead to osteoporosis or weight loss in some people.
Working With A Doctor
It is important to speak openly and honestly with your physician to express a clear picture of your experiences and symptoms. FGIDs present special challenges when communicating, specifically because of their vague symptoms and sensitive subject matter.
There isnt a diagnostic test for bloating or distension however your doctor may run some tests to rule out underlying problems or associated disorders.
For more information about GI tests and how to prepare for them, see our website www.aboutGIMotility.org or see IFFGD publications #111 or #510.
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Medications And Other Therapies
Some medications and other treatments have been found to help ease the symptoms of bloating and distension. Your doctor may talk to you about some of these options, depending on your symptoms and other health related considerations.
Antispasmodics: These can relax the muscles of the bowel and provide relief. Examples include dicyclomine and hyoscyamine in the United States and otilonium bromide or pinaverium bromide available in Latin America and some countries in Europe and Asia and a combination of pinaverium bromide with simethicone in some Latin America countries.
Probiotics: These dietary supplements contain live bacteria that help balance out the existing bacteria of the intestines. Some that include a relatively low level of probiotic bacteria are available over the counter or in yogurt varieties. Other options include Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome in general, and Bifidobacterium animalis DN-0173 10 for patients with IBS with constipation .
Rifaximin: This antibiotic is only slightly absorbed and can be used for short periods of time. Usually it is used to lessen bloating in people with IBS whose symptoms do not include constipation, or in those with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Other options: Medications that increase fluid content in stools, lubiprostone or linaclotide for example, may also be used.
When Is It Serious
Most of the time, you can manage bloating on your own. But if you also feel weak or lose your appetite, or have diarrhea, weight loss, fever, belly pain, or blood in your stool, talk to your doctor. To find out whatâs going on, they may take a stool sample or an X-ray of your small intestine, or test you for lactose intolerance or celiac disease.
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How Can You Prevent It From Happening
Prevention is not just about avoiding foods but also taking steps to actively improve the health of the gut. The good news is that there are certain changes you can make to stop bloating occurring as severely or as often.
Obviously your diet is crucial for a healthy gut: avoid eating junk food and eat at least five portions of vegetables a day although its best to avoid fibres that are commonly associated with bloating, which are found in beans and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli.
You should also try reducing the amount of red and processed meat, alcohol and saturated fat you consume, and avoid foods high in salt such as crisps as well as the amount of carbonated drinks you consume.
Exercise is critically important an active lifestyle improves the function of the bowel. You should avoid taking unnecessary medicines such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory , and if you smoke you really need to stop. Ensure you have enough vitamin D you can ask your doctor to measure this.
There is some evidence that a probiotic may help, although it is not possible to recommend a specific brand or type. You can try a natural probiotic in the form of fermented foods such as kefir.