What Does It Mean When Your Stomach Feels Tight
When your stomach feels hard, you may be experiencing bloating or distension of the abdomen.
Theres bloating and then theres, well, bloating. Were talking about when your stomach bloats outward or distends and becomes hard to press on. It can feel like youre carrying around a bowling ball in your belly.
So what exactly is going on here? First, your stomach feeling hard when you press on it is what doctors call a non-specific finding, Shabnam Sarker, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, tells LIVESTRONG.com. This means that a hard stomach doesnt point to one condition, and there are generally quite a few possible causes.
This could be from distension from air, such as bloating that happens when you swallow extra air or consume food products that create a lot of gas, she says. Other times, it may be indicative of a more serious condition, such as a bowel blockage or inflammatory bowel disease .
For your day-to-day comfort and general health overall, a hard, bloated belly isnt something you should ignore. Heres what it could mean, and how to get the help you need:
Cautions With Other Medicines
Some medicines and Buscopan can affect each other and increase the chances of you having side effects.
This is because they can cancel each other out and stop each other from working. Metoclopramide and domperidone increase the movement of the gut, whereas Buscopan reduces it.
Some medicines increase the risk of side effects if you take them at the same time as Buscopan, including:
- quinidine or disopyramide
- some inhaled asthma medicines, including salbutamol, ipratropium and tiotropium
Do not take Buscopan together with other irritable bowel syndrome remedies, as they work in the same way. You’re unlikely to get extra relief for your symptoms, and it may cause more side effects. Take only one IBS remedy, unless your doctor tells you to take more than one.
Tips To Prevent Pain In Burning Stomach
A burning feeling in the stomach is often paired with pain, which can be quite debilitating. Here are some tips to help you better prevent burning stomach pain.
- Dont suppress belching, as burning stomach may be alleviated through burping.
- Avoid spicy and oily foods.
- Eat more complex carbohydrates like whole grains.
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How To Prevent Bloating
Typically, the first line of treatment for preventing gas and bloating is changing your diet. Research has shown that a low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols diet can reduce the symptoms of gas and IBS. A low FODMAP diet avoids fermentable, gas-producing food ingredients, such as:
- Oligosaccharides, which are found in wheat, onions, garlic, legumes and beans
- Disaccharides, such as lactose in milk, yogurt and ice cream
- Monosaccharides, including fructose , apples and pears
- Polyols or sugar alcohols found in foods such as apricots, nectarines, plums and cauliflower, as well as many chewing gums and candies
In people sensitive to FODMAP-rich foods, the small intestine doesn’t always fully absorb these carbohydrates, and instead passes them to the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria and produce gas. To see if some of the FODMAP foods are causing your gas and bloating you can start by cutting out FODMAP foods and then slowly bringing them back into your diet one at a time to pinpoint any foods that are causing the problems.
In the long run, the key to preventing bloating is understanding its cause. If mild constipation is the problem, a fiber-rich diet, water and exercise may help, but these steps wont always work for chronic constipation. Chronic constipation and other conditions, such as IBS or gastroparesis, require medical treatment, so its important to talk to your doctor about your bloating symptoms.
Why Bloating Happens And How To Prevent It
Today, people of all shapes and sizes will stare down at their waistbands, dumbfounded by a button so easily clasped just the other day. Bloating happens even to the leanest of people, but there are steps you can take to reduce bloating before it starts. Follow these tips to keep those skinny jeans front and center in your wardrobe.
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Having A Food Intolerance
Typically, if someone is feels bloated, it is because of their food or water intake, but even if you havent eaten too much, you may have eaten the wrong thing. Certain food intolerances or sensitives to spicy or acidic foods can cause the gastrointestinal tract to have a more difficult time than usual.
An undiagnosed intolerance to foods can cause a lot of bloating, Hoffman said. The body is trying to break down the foods for the body to use, and a lot of gas can be the result of that work.
If you experience a lot of bloating, try keeping a food journal to track what you eat, when you notice bloating and the amount of discomfort you experience.
When Should I Be Worried About Abdominal Bloating
See your healthcare provider if your bloated stomach:
- Gets progressively worse.
- Persists for more than a week.
- Is persistently painful.
- Comes with symptoms of illness, such as fever, vomiting or bleeding.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A bloated stomach is not a pleasant feeling. While its a common experience and usually temporary, you may become weary of the cycle. Spending a little focused attention on the problem to identify the cause can be well worthwhile. Try recording your symptoms and possible triggers in a journal. Note diet, hormonal and stress factors. When in doubt bring your notes to a specialist for professional guidance. The different factors that contribute to bloating can be complex and difficult to parse, but medical testing can help. As always, seek medical attention if your symptoms are persistent or severe.
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Get More Active Every Day
Exercise helps your body move stool and gas out of the colon and may make bowel movements more regular. Exercise also releases extra sodium from the body through sweating, which can help to relieve water retention.
It is vital to drink plenty of water before and after exercising to stay hydrated, as dehydration can make constipation worse.
Does Your Stomach Swell With Irritable Bowel
Uncomfortable and unflattering bloating is one of the main symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome , along with abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. All of the symptoms are frustrating, but bloating can really make you feel down.
How does IBS make your stomach feel?
The main symptoms of IBS are belly pain along with a change in bowel habits. This can include constipation, diarrhea, or both. You may get cramps in your belly or feel like your bowel movement isnt finished. Many people who have it feel gassy and notice that their abdomen is bloated.
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Slow Down At Mealtime
Eating too fast is a common cause of abdominal bloating because it results in swallowed air. Once that air reaches the intestines, you may feel pain and be bloated. The stomach stretches as you eat and sends signals to the brain alerting you that you are full. However, it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to alert the brain, so you could be overeating and swallowing lots of air before you feel uncomfortably full. Slow down, chew thoroughly, and enjoy your meals. Drink enough water and stay hydrated to help ensure healthy digestion.
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What Is Bloating What Does Feeling Bloated Mean
Why am I so bloated? Abdominal bloating or “feeling bloated” is a very frequent and familiar symptom most people have experienced at some time in their lives. There are many reasons you may feel bloated. Most causes are simple, harmless, and easily treatable with over-the-counter or home remedies. Very rarely, abdominal bloating is caused by something more serious, leading to a rapid worsening of uncomfortable symptoms.
The definition of “bloated” is swelling or distension, and it usually refers to abdominal bloating, which is a distended belly. Bloating may be accompanied by burping , gas , abdominal discomfort, and a feeling of fullness. People sometimes refer to abdominal bloating as a “bloated stomach” or “bloated belly.”
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Imbalances In Gut Flora
Our digestion depends on our microbiome . You may experience unpleasant digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating and feeling full, even if theres not been much food. In order to make things worse, yeast can cause more sugar cravings and simple carb cravings, which can lead to an even greater imbalance in the gut flora.
What If I Forget To Take It
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until it’s nearly time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one at the usual time.
Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember to take your medicines.
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Eating More Calories Than Usual
Lets face it. When youre off your schedule, sometimes the most interesting thing you can do is bake. But consuming excess calories especially those found in cookies, cakes and bread can pack on the pounds and cause your belly to bloat.
If cooking is your jam while sheltering in place, reserve high-calorie recipes for special occasions, or cut it back to one meal a week.
Why Are Fodmaps Difficult To Digest
FODMAPs are fermentable short-chain carbohydrates. Translated, that means two things: They are sugar molecules that are linked together in chains, and they are fermentable by the bacteria in your gut. Molecules in chains need to be broken down into single molecules to be absorbed through your small intestine. But FODMAPs cant be broken down, so they cant be absorbed there. Your small intestine draws in extra water to help move the FODMAPs through to your large intestine. There, the bacteria living in your colon have a field day fermenting them . This produces gasses and fatty acids as byproducts inside your gut.
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Is It Normal To Feel Bloated And Gassy After Eating
Gas from our gut bugs is normal and a sign that we are giving them the foods they need to thrive. We are all different and have unique gut microbes and diets, so some people will produce more gas than others.
Episodes of gassiness and bloating are often due to specific foods or particularly large meals triggering lots of microbial activity and, in turn, lots of gas.
Some people can be more sensitive to the feeling of gas pushing against the walls of the gut , causing pain and discomfort, even if their microbes arenât producing an unusually large amount of gas.
Excess gas and bloating can sometimes be caused by food intolerances, including lactose intolerance and celiac disease, or certain conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or small intestine bacterial overgrowth .
Rarely, bloating and gut pain can be a symptom of something more serious, including some types of cancer.
If you experience persistent bloating or pains that cannot be explained by a change in your diet or circumstances , you should speak to your physician.
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Swollen Belly And Essential Oils
Did you know that essential oils can also help you to not be bloated anymore or at least to be much less? Of course, not all essential oils are effective against bloating and good for digestion. Among the most popular we can name:
- Peppermint essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
- Basil essential oil
These are all essential oils that can help you greatly reduce the unwanted and uncomfortable effect of bloating and gas. But if you had to make a single choice between the 3, I recommend that of basil which is really effective against bloating once well applied to the stomach.
If you are bloated, it means you are feeling a sensation of fullness or tightness in the abdomen. This may be accompanied by pain, gas, and belching. If you try to palpate your stomach, it may feel hard. In some cases, bloating can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and trouble swallowing, which indicates a gastrointestinal disorder, and is likely not just a one-off incident.
To receive specialized care, especially if you are frequently bloated, make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. This is a specialist who can treat complex gastrointestinal conditions that may be the underlying cause of your bloating.
Lets talk about how gastroenterologists treat bloating.
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What Is Wrong With You If You Bloat After Everything You Eat
Bloating, which is generally caused by the buildup of gas in the digestive tract, is not uncommon. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic notes that many people believe that they have excess gas when in fact they have normal amounts. While bloating is a common complaint, feeling bloated every time you eat may be a sign of an underlying digestive issue. If youre struggling, see your doctor to rule out a medical issue.
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How Can I Reduce Bloating And Gas After Eating
Gut gas is normal and healthy, especially after eating lots of fibrous plant-based foods or a large meal. And many of us suffer from trapped wind or feeling bloated from time to time.
If feeling bloated and gassy after eating is bothering you, there are some things that you can try.
- Let it out! Holding in gas can cause pain and discomfort. Find ways to relax and let it out
- Gentle exercise like walking or yoga is also a good way of getting things moving through your gut
- Avoid taking in air when you eat by having smaller meals and eating more slowly
- Cut down on fizzy drinks and chewing gum, especially if itâs sugar-free
- Try using a food diary to spot likely triggers for gas and bloating
As a reminder, if you experience persistent bloating or pains that cannot be explained by a change in your diet or circumstances , you should speak to your physician. You should also speak with a health professional if youâre concerned that you might have a food allergy/intolerance or be sensitive to FODMAP foods.
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You Could Be Constipated
Constipation is one of the most common GI problems, according to Johns Hopkins Health, and it affects women more than men. Along with your period, not drinking enough water, not eating enough fiber and taking some medications may make you constipated. The lower GI is where you tend to feel very distended, saysDeborah Fisher, M.D., a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine. Constipation may make you feel bloated or like you need to pass gas. Cramps are also common, and if youre feeling bloated at the same time, you might resolve both by making a few trips to the restroom.
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You Could Be Nearing Perimenopause
Perimenopause is the stage when your body starts to transition to menopause , and can occur anywhere from your mid-30s to your 40s. When women become perimenopausal, your ovaries don’t have a synchronized secretion of hormones anymore, Dr. Christmas explains. Fluctuating hormones may increase water retention and bloating, and some foods, like dairy, can make it worse. Usually, by the time you reach menopause, estrogen levels drop, and bloating tends to subside, she says.
You Eat Lots Of Packaged Foods
Once again, the culprit here is sodiumits used as a preservative for tons of processed convenience foods. You know that crackers and chips are sodium bombs, but even healthy-looking items such as soups, salad dressings, cereals, and tomato sauce can have crazy-high amounts of sodium that easily lead you to exceed the 2,300 mg daily recommended limit. Its a good bet that pretty much any product that comes wrapped in a package contains more sodium than youd think, and youre unlikely to even taste the salt, says Brill. Dodge the belly-bloating effects by reading labels and going for packaged foods that contain less than 500 mg per serving. And of course, try to cut back on the processed stuff and fill your plate with naturally low-sodium or sodium-free fresh fruits, grains, and veggies.
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You Might Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition affecting the large intestine and routinely impacts those suffering from it with symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain and gas. Dr. Fisher explains that IBS can affect people differently some have more problems with constipation, but others experience diarrhea more often. Either way, bloating is common with IBS.
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