Stomach bloating is something most everyone can relate to and identify as having experienced. While it’s perfectly normal to have some bloating and abdominal pain from time to time, it’s not something you should be dealing with frequently. We’ve outlined everything below that you need to know about bloating, including, perhaps most importantly, what you can do to try and minimize it or avoid it.
What Causes Bloating?
One of the best ways to avoid bloating is to understand why it happens. Stomach bloating comes as a result of excess air getting trapped in the gastrointestinal tract. When the gas has nowhere to go, it can cause discomfort. Sometimes this discomfort can even manifest itself physically, with the bloating causing the stomach to swell and become distended. Stomach bloating can also cause gas, both belching and flatulence, as well as stomach grumbling.
What Triggers The Gas?
Although stomach bloating is always caused by excessive gas in the digestive system, the origin of that gas can be from multiple sources. Some of these common causes can include sources like diet and lifestyle, but it can also be caused by underlying health conditions, both those of the digestive system and other areas of the body. These conditions can include Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, blockage in your bladder or bowel, inflammation, cancers of the ovaries, uterus, colon, pancreas or stomach, pelvic inflammatory disease, anxiety or depression, or liver disease. Additionally, certain medications can cause excess gas buildup. These medications can be either prescription or over-the-counter.
Your Lifestyle Could Be Contributing To Your Gas
If you’re finding yourself eating on the go a lot, you may want to change that habit. Eating too quickly can cause you to ingest too much air, which gets trapped in your gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, when you eat too quickly, it can cause you to eat beyond the point of being full, which can contribute to bloating and discomfort.
If you’re working on your eating habits, you should also address what you’re eating and drinking, both of which can contribute to the root cause of stomach bloating. Certain foods have been shown to cause gas, including cabbage, lentils, beans, brussels sprouts, turnips, and artificial sweeteners. Even chewing gum can contribute. Also, although dairy products don’t cause bloating across the board, lactose and dairy intolerances or allergies are also fairly common and can contribute to the bloating. Anyone who experiences stomach bloating should also avoid carbonated beverages and drinking from straws. If you start to see that you’re experiencing stomach bloating frequently after meals, consider keeping a food log to help determine what the trigger foods are.
Moving Your Body Can Help
Although even thinking about exercising when you are bloated can seem daunting, this could actually be your solution. There are some basic yoga poses you can do that can help release the gas and make you more comfortable. Even something as simple as going on a walk after a big meal can lower the incidence of stomach bloating.
Some Over-The-Counter Solutions
In addition to an adjustment in diet and lifestyle, there are a number of products you can try out to help with your bloating. These can include charcoal caps, simethicone drops, probiotics, lactose intolerance pills, or pills that help break down gassy foods before they hit your digestive tract.
When Should You Visit Your Doctor?
If you’re only experiencing stomach bloating from time to time, you should try some of the remedies and suggestions outlined above to help relieve the pain caused by the bloat. If you begin to experience it more frequently, it won’t go away, it starts to affect your daily life, or the changes that you implement don’t make a difference, you should book an appointment with our team here at Cary Gastroenterology Associates. We can help you to understand what may be causing your abdominal bloating, in addition to working on solutions for making yourself more comfortable.