Should I Visit A Gut Clinic
Upper belly bloating after eating may be an uncomfortable yet mild condition that could make it difficult for you to enjoy a meal. However, bloating may be a symptom of a more serious underlying gastrointestinal condition.
Getting in touch with a specialist at a gastrointestinal clinic may help you find out if your abdominal bloating is related to other gastrointestinal conditions.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
As noted earlier, the symptom of abdominal bloating is most commonly caused by conditions that are more of a nuisance than life-threatening. That said, it is often the first symptom of ovarian cancer which is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women and often diagnosed when it is too late, at least to be curable.
Whether your symptoms are due to a serious cause or not, it is important to see your healthcare provider. So-called nuisance symptoms can interfere with your quality of life, and by that measure, are not just a nuisance.
If your symptoms do not improve with whatever treatment is recommended, talk to your healthcare provider or seek out a second opinion. In our overworked, over-busy society, its important to be your own advocate in your medical care, no matter what your symptoms or the condition that is responsible.
Bloating In The Upper Abdomen
Upper abdominal bloaters feel it very early in relation to eatingusually while eating or within 30 minutes after. They may also have upper abdominal discomfort and experience nausea.
What it might indicate: Upper abdominal bloaters may have stomach ulcers or an infection of the stomach called Helicobacter pylori. An upper abdominal bloater may have abnormal function of the stomach such as slow peristalsis and slow gastric emptying , or impaired dispensability of the stomach. To determine if one of these conditions is the case, Dr. Gonzales and his staff offer in-house testing at Ogden Clinic GI at McKay.
If the test comes back negative, the patient likely has a condition called functional dyspepsia. Functional dyspepsia is a stomach impaired by abnormal sensation and motility or peristalsis and all testing is normal.
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Can Food Intolerances Be Prevented
Taking a few simple steps can help you prevent the symptoms associated with a food intolerance.
- Learn which foods in which amounts cause you to have symptoms, and limit your intake to amounts you can handle.
- When you dine out, ask your server about how your meal will be prepared. Some meals may contain foods you cannot tolerate, and that may not be evident from the description on the menu.
- Learn to read food labels and check the ingredients for problem foods. Dont forget to check condiments and seasonings. They may contain MSG or another additive that can lead to symptoms.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do I need a test to diagnose lactose intolerance?
- Why do certain foods cause my bloating when they never used to?
- What can I do if I have diabetesand my medicine or artificial sweeteners cause bloating?
- Could my bloating be a sign of something more serious?
- What kind of tests will I need?
- What kind of over-the-counter medicine can I try?
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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.
Diagnosing Abdominal Swelling And Bloating
Abdominal swelling and bloating have so many causes, and the diagnosis often has to be speedy to ensure immediate treatment for certain serious causessuch as bowel obstruction and appendicitis.
The first step your healthcare providers will take in assessing your abdominal bloating and swelling is history and physical examination. You will be asked about the duration, pattern, and location, as well as any associated symptoms you are experiencing, and whether anything makes it better or worse.
Your physical examination includes an assessment of whether you are in distress, your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and breathing rate.
Often, abdominal bloating is non-specific in location, and pain can radiate from its source to another area. Your provider will examine you to determine whether you have a specific location of pain or swelling. For example, a sense of bloating in the upper abdominal area could be associated with a peptic ulcer, while swelling in the lower abdomen on one side is more likely to be associated with an ovarian cyst.
Diagnostic tests can include:
- Complete blood count : This blood test can detect low red blood cells, a sign of bleeding, or high white blood cells, a sign of infection or cancer.
- Urine test: This test can detect signs of a UTI.
- Stool analysis: A stool sample can be assessed for evidence of an infection.
- Imaging tests: An abdominal or pelvic computerized tomography scan or ultrasound can detect fluid, tumors. obstruction, and more.
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Alternative And Complementary Therapies
Some women with ovarian cancer turn to alternative therapies to ease their symptoms and side effects.
Common therapies include:
Scientists continue to look for ways to reduce a womans risk of developing ovarian cancer.
For now, they have identified two protective factors:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding Women who become pregnant before age 26 and carry to term are at lower risk, with each subsequent full-term pregnancy diminishing the risk further. Breastfeeding has an effect too, perhaps because it prevents ovulation. The risk for cell mutation, which can lead to cancer, is greater the more you ovulate.
- Birth control Women who have used oral contraceptives are at lower risk. So are women whove had a tubal ligation or used an intrauterine device for a short time. Women whove had a hysterectomy also see their ovarian cancer risk drop by a third.
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How Is Bloating Treated
Bloating will usually go away by itself if you adjust your diet for a while. Cut down on salty foods, carbohydrates and fizzy drinks. For some people, it can help to avoid foods that contain onion or garlic, wheat, rye, lactose products or stone fruit.
Bloating caused by constipation can be treated by eating more high-fibre foods, increasing the amount of water that you drink, and exercising regularly. Some people may need laxatives to treat constipation.
If you have a medical condition such as coeliac disease, you will need to follow a strict diet to prevent bloating and other symptoms. If you have IBS, following a high-fibre diet and the low FODMAP diet may help. This involves cutting out some dairy products, wheat and other grains, and some fruits and vegetables. Talk to a health professional such as your doctor or a dietitian before starting this diet to make sure it is right for you.
If you have a food intolerance, you may need to try an elimination diet to find out which food or foods are causing your problems. Your doctor or dietitian will advise you.
Some people find that probiotics containing lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can help with bloating by reducing the production of gas in the gut.
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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.
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Natural And Other Remedies For Gas
Many advertisements tout medications or remedies that reduce gas and bloating. Some have been shown to be of value in clinical studies, others have not yet been proven scientifically but are anecdotally helpful. Before trying anything, you may want to consult with your physician.
Two products on the market can help with food-related gas and bloating. Both products are packaged forms of the enzymes needed to break down the problematic carbohydrates. Lactase, found in products such as Dairy Ease and Lactaid, can be taken with dairy foods to help break down lactose and lessen gas. Beano helps digest the indigestible carbohydrate in beans and other gas-producing vegetables.
Natural remedies for gas include:
- Peppermint tea
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If I Have Ascites How Can I Best Take Care Of Myself
People with ascites should work with a dietitian to plan a sodium-restricted diet. Check food labels, and avoid high-sodium foods.
You can use several salt substitutes. However, avoid substitutes with potassium, since the medicine you may be taking for ascites can also increase potassium. A dietitian can help you plan a healthy diet and provide recommendations for salt alternatives.
In addition, you should:
- Take your diuretics as prescribed.
- Record your weight every day.
- Stop drinking alcohol, which can cause further liver damage.
- Treat hepatitis B or C if necessary.
Bloating When To Visit Your Doctor
Bloating is rarely serious, but if you are unable to get it under control by following the suggestions in this article, you should consider making an appointment to see a medical professional.
If bloating is accompanied by blood in the stools, vomiting, persistent diarrhea, weight loss or heartburn that gets progressively more painful, you should make an appointment to speak to your doctor. While some abdominal discomfort is not uncommon with bloating episodes, any severe and prolonged abdominal pain should also be cause for investigation.
In the time leading up to the appointment maintain a food diary noting everything you ate and the time of the meal and the timings of any bloating episodes. This should help you and your doctor to pinpoint potential causes and avenues for investigation.
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When To See A Doctor
Although it is not common, bloating and swelling of the abdomen can signify a severe medical condition. Liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, heart failure, kidney problems, and some types of cancer can cause bloating.
Bloating that continues for days or weeks may indicate a health issue that needs medical attention. It is advisable to speak to a doctor about ongoing bloating that does not go away over time.
People whose bloating occurs alongside these symptoms should seek medical advice:
- appetite changes or trouble eating
- bright red blood in the stool
- black or dark maroon stools
- Barrett, J. S., & Gibson, P. R. . Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols and nonallergic food intolerance: FODMAPs or food chemicals? Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 5, 261268
Dr Gonzales: Where You Bloat Tells A Lot About Why
- Posted On: Apr 30, 2019
Do you regularly gain a pant size after lunch? Does constipation usually accompany your bloating? Bloat is a very common complaint in Dr. Chad Gonzaless clinical practice and one thats fascinated him for years. When patients experience bloating, where its felt it is one of his first questions. According to him, where the bloat occurs is valuable information that can help inform a diagnosis.
Next time you feel bloated, pay attention to where you feel it. Heres what your symptoms may be indicating.
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Left Side Of The Abdomen
This part of the abdomen contains a portion of the body of your stomach, the tail of the pancreas, and your spleen.
The spleen is an organ that filters blood and supports the immune system.
Center left and center middle:
The transverse colon and the small intestine make up the center left and center middle of the abdomen. The small intestine is where most food digestion occurs.
The transverse colon is the upper part of the large intestine, where unabsorbed food is carried after going through the ascending colon. The small intestine is the organ that takes up most of the abdomen.
The descending and sigmoid colon portions are the part of the digestive system that stores unabsorbed food remains and waste before they leave your body.
How Common Is Stomach Bloating
Between 10% and 25% of otherwise healthy people complain of occasional abdominal bloating. As many as 75% describe their symptoms as moderate to severe. About 10% say they experience it regularly. Among those diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome , it may be as much as 90%. Up to 75% of women experience bloating before and during their period. Only 50% of people who experience bloating also report a distended abdomen.
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What Is A Bloated Stomach
A bloated stomach is first and foremost a feeling of tightness, pressure or fullness in your belly. It may or may not be accompanied by a visibly distended abdomen. The feeling can range from mildly uncomfortable to intensely painful. It usually goes away after a while, but for some people, its a recurring problem. Digestive issues and hormone fluctuations can cause cyclical bloating. If your bloated stomach doesnt go away, you should seek medical care to determine the cause.
Can You Get A Hernia Above Your Belly Button
An epigastric hernia is a type of hernia in the epigastric region of the abdominal wall. Its above the belly button and just below the sternum of your rib cage. This type of hernia is a somewhat common condition in both adults and children. About 2 to 3 percent of all abdominal hernias are epigastric hernias.
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Why Is The Left Side Of My Stomach Bloated And Hard
When your stomach swells and feels hard, the explanation might be as simple as overeating or drinking carbonated drinks, which is easy to remedy. Other causes may be more serious, such as an inflammatory bowel disease. Sometimes the accumulated gas from drinking a soda too quickly can result in a hard stomach.
Reducing The Need To Fart
Farting is the way the body releases swallowed air and other trapped gasses. The positions listed above may help relieve gas temporarily, but many people also look for ways to reduce the need to pass gas.
While it may be impossible to make farts disappear completely, there are some ways to reduce the number of times a person has to pass gas each day.
Many foods increase the amount of gas that results from the digestion of food. Beans are well-known culprits, but these pulses contain many nutrients so should still be included in a healthful diet.
Soaking beans before cooking them may help reduce flatulence in some people, while others may want to limit the quantity of beans they eat.
Cutting down on other foods that cause gas may help as well. This includes foods high in sulfur or certain fermentable carbs and fibers, such as:
- carbonated drinks
Dairy foods, including cheese and ice cream, may also cause gas, especially for people who are sensitive to lactose.
Another important tip is to chew all food slowly and with a closed mouth. A lot of trapped gas is swallowed air, which is more likely to happen if a person eats quickly or with their mouth open.
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Warning Signs And Symptoms
Weight loss is one of the main warning signs for serious bloating. If you find yourself losing more than a few pounds without changing your diet or starting a new exercise regimen, that should be cause for concern, especially if its 10 percent or more of your body weight. Weight loss can be caused by tumors that press on the intestines, making you feel full after just a small amount of food, or from substances secreted by tumors that suppress your appetite.
Ascites is an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen or pelvis. It can cause bloating, weight gain, and a rapidly expanding waistline. Ascites is usually caused by liver disease, but cancer is the culprit about 10 percent of the time. A large amount of fluid can make you look and feel like youre several months pregnant. The combination of bloating and jaundice, which turns the eyes and skin yellow, can be a sign of cancer thats spread to the liver, although it can also occur with more benign forms of liver disease like hepatitis.
Blood in your stool, vaginal bleeding in between periods, or postmenopausal vaginal bleeding can all be associated with serious bloating. Fortunately, the most common causes of these symptoms arent the most serious, but bleeding should always be evaluated because it can be a sign of cancer, particularly colon or uterine cancer.
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