What is bloating?

Bloating, or abdominal bloating, is a condition in which the belly feels full and tight, mainly because of air and gas. The abdomen may be swollen, painful, and hard as well. You may also notice a feeling of pain, excess gas, regular burping or belching, or abdominal rumbling.

With abdominal bloating, you may sometimes find it uncomfortable to engage in social and daily activities.

Why Feeling Bloated?

Gas and air

Bloating most commonly results from gas, particularly after your eating. When foods that cannot be digested become broken down, or when you swallow air, gas will amass. Actually, air can enter your body through mouth when you are eating or drinking, but some may get a greater amount of air, particularly if:

  • They are eating or drinking too quickly
  • They are smoking
  • They are chewing gum
  • They are wearing dentures which are loose

Usually, air that you swallowed gets out of the body by burping and flatulence. Besides the accumulation of gas, delayed emptying of the stomach, too, plays a role in bloating and abdominal distension.

Causes of Bloating

Constipation is a very common cause of bloating. It is known that you are usually constipated when you have fewer bowel movements than usual. However, even if you have regular bowel movements, constipation still occurs. Constipation may also display symptoms such as:

  • rock-like, pebble-like stools
  • straining to start or finish a bowel movement

Constipation basically can cause bloating and abdominal pain. If the stool stays in your colon for a long time, bacteria will have time to ferment things there. The consequence is a feeling of a great deal more bloated, and that you will become gassier.

Causes related to medical conditions

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Gut sensitivity
  • Food intolerance
  • Small intestinal parasite infection
  • Hormonal flux
  • Anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Mental health: stress, depression, anxiety
  • Heartburn
  • Weight gain

Causes that you should be extra-careful

  • Celiac disease
  • The accumulation of pathologic fluid in the abdominal cavity as a consequence of cancer, kidney failure or liver disease

Prevention

A very helpful preventive measure of bloating is a diet change. You can alleviate the symptoms of gas with a low fermentable oligosaccharides (found in wheat, onions, beans), disaccharides (found in yogurt, milk), monosaccharides (found in apples, pears), and polyols (mostly found in apricot, plums, cauliflower) diet, known as FODMAP diet.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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