Sometimes it’s just a feeling like you’ve eaten too much and can’t get comfortable. Sometimes it’s physical, when you can’t even button your pants in the morning. Other times it’s simply discomfort and gas. The one thing all of these symptoms have in common is that they’re signs of stomach bloat. Stomach bloating occurs when your digestive tract and small intestine are filled with air and can’t readily escape. The gas can cause anything from general discomfort to actually making your stomach temporarily larger.
Some of the most notable symptoms of stomach bloat include pain and discomfort in your stomach, gas, stomach rumbling, and even belching. More severe symptoms can include vomiting or diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, unintentional weight loss, vaginal bleeding, or blood in your stool.
While everyone has probably experienced some variation of stomach bloat at one point or another, here are four different reasons why it might happen as well as ways four ways you can relieve the discomfort and avoid having the problems in the future.
1. It Has To Do With What, And How, You’re Eating
Stomach bloat can occur when you eat too much food or eat too fast. Eating quickly can cause gas because you’re taking in air in addition to the food you’re eating while you’re swallowing. Swallowing additional air can even come as a result of chewing gum. Additionally, your diet can cause bloating, with certain foods like cabbage, brussels sprouts, and beans being likely culprits. You should also avoid artificial sweeteners like those found in sugar-free foods and drinks.
In addition to the type of food you’re eating, the quantity matters as well. By eating slowly, you’re less likely to overeat. We suggest that any of our patients who experience stomach bloating that’s seemingly related directly to diet keep track of what they’re eating and determine if there are certain trigger foods that make their stomach bloat worse. By keeping a food journal, you may be able to connect which foods make your symptoms worse and which ones seem to help.
2. In Might Also Be What You’re Drinking
Certain beverages can contribute to your stomach bloat. For many, lactose intolerance is the culprit, which comes from drinking milk as well as eating dairy products. Carbonated drinks can cause bloat, as well as drinking these beverages out of a straw instead of directly from a cup or bottle. For the most part, you should stick to drinking plain water if you experience bloating frequently.
3. It’s Important To Stay Regular
Constipation can contribute both to abdominal bloating and the feeling of discomfort, so if you can regulate your fiber and food intake, it can help with regularly emptying your bowels and reducing bloat. Although some high fiber foods, like beans, can contribute to stomach bloat, other high fiber foods can help you have regular bowel movements. If food alone isn’t helping, you can also take a fiber supplement.
4. Underlying Medical Conditions Can Contribute To Bloating
While a lot of stomach bloat comes as a result of diet, there are several medical conditions that affect your digestive system and are common causes of gas and bloating. These conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, certain forms of cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, liver disease, blockage in your bladder or bowels, and even prescription or over-the-counter medications. If you’re experiencing one of these conditions of the digestive system, speak to your doctor about how you can manage your condition and reduce your stomach bloating.
How GI Associates Can Help
While stomach bloating can certainly happen to everyone, it shouldn’t happen to you frequently. If you begin to see that you are experiencing chronic bloating and gas, you should make an appointment to speak with one of the doctors at GI Associates to determine the potential cause of your bloating as well as offer you a solution to relieve your discomfort. If the bloating is infrequent and isn’t debilitating, you can also try relieving your symptoms at home through diet, exercise, and proper eating habits.