Bloating: Causes And Prevention Tips
How often do you hear yourself or friends complain about bloating? We often just say were bloated when we feel full, but for many women, the problem relates to a chronic underlying condition. If you feel bloated often, you may have a condition like irritable bowel syndrome , which affects up to 24 percent of women.
Linda Lee, M.D., explains common causes of bloating and what you can do to prevent this uncomfortable condition.
Certain Probiotics May Have Specific Benefits
Your gut microbiome, or gut flora, consists of a wide variety of bacteria.
Its exact composition is unique to you.
Your colon contains billions of bacteria with types from over 500 different species .
Probiotics that have been found to provide health benefits include various strains of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces. Many probiotic supplements contain a combination of different strains in the same supplement.
Research has shown that some strains seem to be more effective than others for treating certain conditions.
Therefore, youre more likely to get good results by taking probiotics that have been shown to achieve specific effects, such as controlling diarrhea.
In addition, its important to consume probiotics in sufficient amounts.
Probiotics are typically measured in colony-forming units . Generally, higher doses have been found to produce the best results in most studies .
However, some probiotics may be effective at dosages of 12 billion CFU per day, while others may require at least 20 billion CFU to achieve the desired effects.
Taking extremely high doses hasnt been found to cause harm. One study gave participants up to 1.8 trillion CFU per day. However, its expensive and doesnt appear to provide any additional benefits .
Importantly, scientists still dont know everything about probiotics. Although research has rapidly expanded within the past several years, there is much left to explore.
Take Digestive Enzyme Supplements
Certain over-the-counter products may also help with bloating, such as supplemental enzymes that can help break down indigestible carbohydrates.
Notable ones include:
- Lactase: An enzyme that breaks down lactose, which is useful for people with lactose intolerance.
- Beano: Contains the enzyme alpha-galactosidase, which can help break down indigestible carbohydrates from various foods.
In many cases, these types of supplements can provide almost immediate relief.
If youre interested in trying a digestive enzyme supplement, a wide .
Many over-the-counter products can help fight bloating and other digestive problems. These are usually digestive enzymes that help break down certain food components.
Don’t Miss: Align Daily Probiotic
I Get So Bloated I Look Pregnant
Hannah Lewis, 36, is a model, who is single and lives with her eight-year-old son in Ascot, Berks.
Abdomen exam: Normal
Hannah says: Ive suffered from excessive bloating for more than 10 years and can look pregnant after eating certain foods.
I also get terrible stomach cramps, constipation and severe flatulence. My GP hasnt offered much help.
Some days my tummy is so bad I dont want to go out. If I have an important event to attend, I either dont eat at all or just eat crisps which dont cause me to bloat. Ive tried over-the-counter medicines, but none have helped much.
Mr Wests assessment: Hannah has classic IBS symptoms. Her mother apparently suffered from it and it can run in families.
I reassured her it isnt associated with a higher risk of any other more serious conditions.
Treatment for Hannah is all about symptom control, as her bloating gets worse with certain foods including roast dinners and curries.
Ive advised her to avoid these and keep a food diary to spot other triggers.
Following a low FODMAP diet, avoiding gas producers like onions, broccoli and apples, can improve IBS.
You Have Lactose Intolerance
For some people, dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream can cause bloating, because they cant digest the dairy sugar lactose, says Schapiro.
If you are lactose intolerant, avoid these foods. You can always take a lactaid pill that helps you to digest dairy, too. There are also so many non-dairy alternatives to choose from so you dont feel like you are missing out!
Also Check: Can Soy Cause Diarrhea
Is Bloating A Cause For Concern
October 26, 2018 By Yenny Rojas
Weve all had that bloated, uncomfortable full belly feeling at some point. Most of the time, its perfectly normal and no cause for concern. On rare occasions, it could be an indication of a more serious problem. Unless your bloating is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and weight loss, its probably nothing to worry about. Most of the time, diet and other simple reasons such as eating a big meal or too much salt can explain the bloating youre experiencing. Lets discuss some common causes of bloating, and when bloating can be a cause for concern.
Chewing Too Much Gum Can Leave You Bloated
Just as Violet experienced with that mythical piece of blueberry-flavored bubble gum, chewing gum can leave a person feeling painfully bloated albeit not as severe. There are actually a number of different triggers responsible for creating the sensation. Nutritional therapist Naomi Mead told Cosmopolitan that chewing gum can cause a person to accidentally swallow air while they chew. This trapped air in the gut can leave you feeling like a child’s balloon and can also be a major cause of painful bloating.
If you’re watching what you eat, chances are you’re also likely picking sugar-free gum over regular. Nutritionist Anne Mauney wrote in an article for the journal Food & Nutrition that sugar substitutes found in these gums can also be a very common cause of bloating. The issue comes from substances called sugar alcohols in the gum. While these substances taste sweet on the tongue and make you feel like you’re eating actual sugar they’re actually very hard for the body to digest. “Once in the intestinal tract, the sugar alcohol will meet bacteria that ferment it and release gas, which leads to bloating, cramps, pain and diarrhea,” she explained.
You May Like: Why Does Lettuce Give Me Diarrhea
Why Does My Stomach Get So Bloated
Bloating. It’s that uncomfortable, overly full, sometimes even painful feeling in your stomach that makes you want to take a nap until the sensation passes. Bloating even can make your stomach look swollen or feel hard to the touch. Although women often feel bloated for a few days or weeks before their period, anyone can have occasional bloating.
What makes your stomach feel like a balloon has expanded inside? Bloating usually happens when gas temporarily builds up in your stomach or intestines. When youre bloated, you may notice that you burp or pass gas frequently, and find that releasing that air brings you some relief. Bloating also occurs when your digestive system slows down and you don’t have regular bowel movements.
Stop Wearing Tight Clothing While Eating
Its sometimes not about WHAT you eat but HOW you eat. This may seem a little far-fetched but tight clothing can constrict your stomach, making it more difficult for things to pass through, explains The Gut Stuff team. Therefore, loosen your clothes before eating.
Its the same with the position in which youre sitting when you have your meal check your eating position, says the team.
What Can Be Done About Feeling Full Without Eating
To try and avoid the occurrence of this feeling, and the underlying condition that may be causing it, there are certain steps you can take.
- Ensuring to eat a healthy and balanced diet will help in many cases, ensuring to chew your food properly before swallowing, and eating slowly, avoiding swallowing air when swallowing food , and eating a series of small meals throughout the day, as opposed to eating large meals.
- Things to avoid include alcohol, cigarettes, spicy foods, excessive amounts of teas or coffee, carbonated beverages , and lying flat or sleeping immediately after a meal.
If your symptoms do not dissipate even after trying the lifestyle changes noted above, then you should pay a visit to your doctor to identify what is causing your problem. Proper diagnosis can then help to determine proper treatment of the underlying health condition. Diagnosis methods may include an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, or a barium meal x-ray.
You Have A Gut Disorder
Functional gastrointestinal disorders happen when the GI tract doesnt appear to have anything wrong with it, but you’re still experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It’s a situation that’s actually very common in the United States, Dr. Eugenio says.
For example, 25 to 45 million people in the U.S. have IBS, which affects the colon, reports the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Diseases. And functional dyspepsia, which affects the stomach and is otherwise known as indigestion, affects nearly 32% of the population, according to a 2004 study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Bloating is common with both of these disorders, although youll usually experience other symptoms alongside it, Dr. Eugenio says. Upper stomach pain or feelings of fullness paired with bloating may be indicative of dyspepsia, for example, whereas lower abdomen cramping and a change in bowel habits could point to IBS. Both are worth speaking to your doctor about, and treatment can include diet changes, psychosocial therapies, and other lifestyle changes, reports the Cleveland Clinic. Of course, your doctor will want to rule out other potential causes first, like colon cancer, pancreas disorders, or liver disease, so it’s important to open up about any and all symptoms you’re experiencing.
Don’t Miss: Align Digestive
What Are The More Serious Causes Of Abdominal Pain
Unfortunately, the more serious causes can be almost any cause, including most of the ones listed above as less serious causes. Consequently, the subjective requirements that most doctors consider as serious causes of abdominal pain are any causes that may generate at least one or more of the following signs or symptoms:
- Penetration of an object into the abdomen or back
- Blunt object injury to the abdomen or back
You Eat Dinner Too Close To Bedtime
If you eat a typical-sized dinner within an hour or two of hitting the sack, you’re setting yourself up for morning discomfort. Lying down impairs digestion, so if you hit the bed with food in your stomach, it won’t be broken down as quickly, leaving you bloated in the a.m., says Rumsey. It’s not always easy to shift your schedule, but try having supper at least three to four hours before turning in for the night. Stay on your feet as much as possible to keep things moving before you fall asleep. If you have no choice but to eat right before bedtime, make it something small, like a piece of fruit or yogurt, and refuel with a bigger meal at breakfast, when your metabolism is running high again and your body will benefit from the energy jolt.
Also Check: Does Almond Milk Cause Bloating
Rule Out Food Allergies And Intolerances To Common Foods
Food allergies and intolerances are relatively common.
When you eat foods that you are intolerant to, it can cause excess gas production, bloating and other symptoms.
Here are some common foods and ingredients to consider:
- Lactose: Lactose intolerance is associated with many digestive symptoms, including bloating. Lactose is the main carbohydrate in milk (
- 14 ).
Both lactose and fructose are a part of a larger group of indigestible carbs or fiber known as FODMAPs. FODMAP intolerance is one of the most common causes of bloating and abdominal pain.
If you strongly suspect that you have a food allergy or intolerance, see a doctor.
Food allergies and intolerances are common causes of bloating. Common offenders include lactose, fructose, wheat, gluten and eggs.
What Are The Symptoms Of Liver Disease
At the beginning of the spectrum of liver disease, it can be asymptomatic, says Lindenmeyer. Take hepatitis C, for example, she says: The majority of people who have hepatitis C have no idea, because they dont have symptoms, she says. This is why we recommend screening for hepatitis C for the baby boomer cohort, or everyone born between 1945 and 1965.
Early symptoms of cirrhosis may include feeling tired or weak, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, and pain in the upper right side of your abdomen. With more advanced liver disease, as well as liver failure, symptoms include fluid accumulation in the abdomen or legs, yellowing of the skin or eyes, fatigue, mental confusion, and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, says Lindenmeyer.
Don’t Miss: Probiotics And Antidepressants Interaction
Duration Of Ovarian Cancer
The length of time women live with ovarian cancer will depend on the type, stage, treatments, and other factors.
Nearly half of women with ovarian cancer are still alive at least five years after being diagnosed with the disease.
If you have ovarian cancer, youll likely need to see your doctor frequently for follow-up visits and tests.
Your Unwanted Bloat Could Be The Result Of Travelling
Whether you’re fresh off a long flight or you’ve logged several days behind the wheel on an epic road trip, it’s incredibly common to feel bloated when you travel. New foods and new environments can do that to even the most seasoned traveller. While less-than-healthy snacks during your travels are likely partly to blame, there are some other surefire bloat producers at play and they have nothing to do with pressurized cabins or changes in altitude.
According to Lisa Ganjhu, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, sitting for long periods without moving is a cause of bloating for most people, whether you’re traveling by plane or in a car. You’re just not moving around enough, she explained to Self. Getting up and walking around every couple hours can alleviate the problem, she said, and will also allow you to get your blood flowing and pass some gas that might otherwise contribute to sensations of bloating.
Staying well-hydrated and sipping water regularly while traveling especially on an airplane is advisable as well. “The lack of humidity in cabin air can quickly pull fluid from the body,” Emily Cope-Kyle, registered dietitian nutritionist, told Self.
Read Also: Do Bananas Cause Bloating
Coeliac Disease And Bloating
Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where your intestine cannot absorb gluten found in wheat, barley and rye.
If you have Coeliac disease, eating foods containing gluten can also trigger diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fatigue.
See your GP if you suspect you may have Coeliac disease.
There is no cure for Coeliac disease but, once the condition has been diagnosed, switching to a gluten-free diet should help.
Find out more about Coeliac disease.
You’ve Been Eating A High Fodmap Diet
In case you’re not familiar with them, FODMAPsaka, fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyolsare a type of carbohydrate that’s not easily digested. Because of that, they can lead to stomach pain and bloating, Cohen says. There are a bunch of different high FODMAP foods, but some of the biggest culprits include apples, legumes, milk and dairy products, mushrooms, honey, and even garlic. Given how many foods are FODMAPs, it can be tough to follow a low FODMAP diet, Cohen points outso talk to your doctor or a nutritionist for guidance.
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter
Also Check: Do Bananas Help With Bloating
Black Americans And Ovarian Cancer
While ovarian cancer is more common in white women, studies show Black American women who have this type of cancer dont survive as long. Although there have been advances in treatments, not all racial groups have benefited equally when it comes to survival.
For instance, between 1975 and 2016, the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer increased from 33 percent to 48 percent in white women but decreased from 44 percent to 41 percent in Black women.
Though the exact causes for these disparities arent known, some evidence has suggested that socioeconomic factors, such as access to healthcare, may play a role.
Researchers are currently conducting studies to try and understand more about why this discrepancy exists.
You Ate A Little Too Much
Sometimes your full cues don’t catch up with your brain fast enough, and you end up having a little too much to eat. Overeating can make you feel blah, and the bloating that can come with it isn’t exactly a picnic, either.
At baseline, overeating can cause bloating because it’s just a lot of food for your gut bacteria to work through, Cohen says. But that’s especially true “when a lot of gas-forming foods are also consumedlegumes, broccoli, caulifloweror a lot of carbonated beverages,” she adds.
If you overate once and dealt with bloat in the aftermath, just chalk it up to a life lesson learned. But if you find that this is happening regularly to you, you’ll want to make some tweaks to try to prevent overeating in the first place, Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet, tells Health. One tip, per Gans: “To make that easier to do, try eating on a smaller plate or bowl, so your portions are smaller to begin with,” she says. Talking to a nutritionist about your eating habits can also help, she says.
Read Also: Does Tramadol Make You Constipated
When To See A Doctor About Bloating
You can usually manage bloating with self-care. But you should see a doctor as soon as possible if you have bloating and:
- its very bad
- you feel full quickly or dont feel like eating
- you need to pee more often or need to pee urgently
- youre having abnormal vaginal bleeding, or vaginal bleeding after youve been through the menopause
- you suddenly cant pee or havent peed all day
- youre vomiting and it looks like blood, coffee grounds or its bright green, or you cant keep any fluids down
- have very bad tummy pain
- you havent had a poo or farted all day
- you have a lot of blood in your poo or your pee
- your poo looks like tar