What is Bloating?

Bloating is a condition where your belly feels tight and full. It is often due to gas but may sometimes be due to an underlying disease. Knowing so you can get the right diagnosis for its causes and treatment is important.

What are the causes of bloating

One of the most common causes of bloating and abdominal pain is constipation because the longer stool stays in the colon, the more time bacteria has to ferment, resulting in gas and a feeling of bulging. Here are some other causes for bloating:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): This can make you sensitive to gas that can cause pain and diarrhoea.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO): People who have had intestinal surgery and are troubled with IBS are likely to have this condition
  • Gastroparesis: This is delayed stomach emptying that can cause bloating and bowel blockage.
  • Gynaecological conditions: Problems with your ovaries or uterus may cause bloating.
  • Reaction to certain foods: Fruits and vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, and apricots may result in bloating. Lactose intolerance also often causes bloating.
  • Eating too quickly and overeating: This causes air to get trapped in the stomach leading to bloating.
  • Inactivity: Exercise is necessary for digestive health because it strengthens the abdominal wall.
  • Smoking: Toxins in cigarette smoke may irritate the stomach lining adding to the feeling of being bloated.

What are the symptoms of bloating

Some symptoms of bloating include 

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Straining to start or finish a bowel movement
  • Continuing to feel full after a bowel movement
  • Stool that looks like rocks

Severe bloating may lead to blood in your stool, inability to pass gas, weight loss, vaginal bleeding, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain, and fever (perhaps due to an infection). 

If bloating is accompanied by blood or mucus in the stool, chronic or frequent diarrhoea, prolonged constipation, or vomiting, it is best to seek a medical consult. Take advantage of the world-class specialities at Yashoda Hospitals. To book an appointment, contact Yashoda Hospitals.

How can bloating be treated?

Some of the effective remedies and treatments for bloating include the following:

  • Eating slowly: This will prevent you from swallowing too much air, which can lead to gas and bloating.
  • Changing the diet: If you notice that certain foods, like milk and milk products, cause you to bloat, reduce or eliminate these foods. Adding fibre-rich foods to the diet also helps.
  • Medications: Antacids may reduce bloating by allowing gas to pass more easily through the digestive tract; Simethicone helps pass gas bubbles trapped in the intestines; Alpha-galactosidase helps break down carbohydrates in vegetables and beans.
How can bloating be prevented?

The first line of treatment for bloating is usually dietary changes. Research shows that a FODMAP diet of reduced amounts of wheat, onions, garlic, legumes, milk, yoghurt, ice cream, fruits, honey, and cauliflower can reduce symptoms of gas. In people sensitive to FODMAP-rich foods, the small intestine doesn’t fully absorb these carbohydrates and passes them to the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria and produce gas. Eating a fibre-rich diet and drinking lots of water and fluids also helps ease bloating.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Bloating

Fruits and vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, and apricots and dairy products such as milk and cheese may result in bloating.

Yes. Taking probiotics improves digestion and may prevent bloating as it restores the balance of the gut.

Yes. Alcohol may irritate the gastrointestinal tract causing the feeling of being bloated. Too much alcohol impacts the probiotic bacteria in the gut microbiome.

Although apple cider vinegar has been touted to help prevent bloating, there is no scientific evidence to suggest this. Eating slowly and adding fibre-rich foods will help reduce bloating.

Yes. Green tea contains caffeine that acts as a natural laxative and may help reduce bloating. It also helps stimulate digestive tract movement.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.