Most people can relate to the uncomfortable feeling of being bloated. While this is a common ailment, some people might not know what causes bloating, how to experience relief from it, and some simple lifestyle choices that you can make in order to avoid bloating in the future.
The first step to understanding how to find relief from stomach bloating is to understand what it is and why you might be experiencing it. Most people identify and describe the feeling of being bloated as feeling like they ate too much. Sometimes it’s just an overfull and gassy feeling, while other times you might be able to see actual stomach swelling or have problems buttoning your pants. Bloating can be caused by underlying health conditions in some cases, but more often it’s caused by your diet. The discomfort and sometimes physical signs of bloating are caused when excess air is trapped in your digestive system, causing gas and the familiar feeling of excessive fullness.
Your digestive system is complicated and is made up of a lot of moving parts and pieces. Some gastrointestinal disorders make you more prone to gas issues that can cause this uncomfortable stomach bloating. These medical conditions include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation, blockage in your bladder or bowel, cancers (including ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer), mental health struggles like anxiety or depression, pelvic inflammatory disease, liver disease, or Crohn’s disease. There are also medications, both over-the-counter and prescriptions, that can contribute.
It’s perfectly normal to experience abdominal bloating from time to time, so if it’s infrequent, you can probably skip visiting the doctor and try some at-home remedies to make yourself more comfortable. If it becomes a regular occurrence or begins to affect your life, you should talk to your doctor about it.
What—and how—you’re eating can be a significant factor to your bloating. Many people experience both gas and bloating, as well as abdominal pain, due to the foods they’re choosing. Lactose intolerance is a significant contributing factor, so avoiding dairy products may help alleviate your gas. Other foods like beans, excessive salt, brussels sprouts, artificial sweeteners, eggs, legumes, lentils, and even chewing gum can contribute as well. If you can’t figure out what foods cause gas, you should begin keeping a food journal to determine possible triggers. You should pair your meals with water and non-carbonated beverages, as the bubbles in some drinks can also contribute to the gas in your stomach.
Changing your diet is one step you can take in an attempt to lessen the discomfort from gas and bloating, but it’s also about how you’re eating this food that can make a difference. When you eat too quickly, you’re also swallowing air, which is a common cause of bloating. Try to eat more slowly, which might also cause you to eat less, eliminating the feeling of being overfull.
When you’re experiencing stomach bloating, exercise might be the last thing on your mind and it might be tempting to relax until you feel better. However, some basic exercise can help relieve your discomfort. Even going on a walk or doing some simple yoga poses can move the muscles in your digestive tract and encourage the gas to release. Along those same lines, by keeping your large and small intestine muscles moving, you’ll encourage regular bowel movements, which will also lessen the pain and buildup of gas.
If your pain and discomfort due to gas and stomach bloating have gotten to be too much to handle, either in frequency or intensity, make an appointment with our team so we can give you a diagnosis and put you on a path to treatment. We can help determine if this is due to your diet or if the root cause is more than just what you’re eating. Once we’ve determined the cause, we can assess whether you need medication or a lifestyle and diet adjustment.