Are you sweating day and night in the gym to get rid of those extra pounds of flab around the abdomen and still getting nowhere? If yes, then the other way round; may be the culprit this time are not your fat cells and you are suffering from abdominal bloating. Bloating is actually the disorder of intestine which is accompanied by regular alterations in the size of stomach, pain in the abdominal region and feeling of fullness in the stomach. The general anticipated cause of bloating is digestive problems which may arise due to improper diet, food intolerance and sometimes stress. It’s the excess gas inside your stomach that makes you feel uncomfortably full all the time, making you appear fat. But bloating is completely different from being fat.
Gas is one big reason for bloating which can accumulate down there due to indigestion of food, activity of flora in the intestine or gas diffusion from blood to gut. But in addition to gas, there are other causes of bloating as well. To understand these causes in detail, read further.
Gastrointestinal disorders: These are the disorders that alter the way gastrointestinal tract works. By interfering in the normal intestinal activity they cause discomfort in the stomach. Some of the GI disorders include:
- Chronic constipation: It is a very common digestive complaint which doesn’t allow you to pass stool comfortably without pains. This disorder makes you feel bloated and uncomfortable. You don’t feel like eating or drinking anything.
- Dyspepsia: Dyspepsia is not a disease but it is commonly known as indigestion due to a lesion in the lining of digestive tract. In this people feel pain in the upper chest and abdomen area. You feel full even when you have not eaten much.
- Irritable bowl syndrome: It is one of the major GI disorders that cause bloating. It is characterized by severe abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, headaches and gas.
Food intolerance: This is another important cause of stomach bloating. This happens because of deficiency of some enzymes which break down foods into simpler products (a process of digestion). Thus extra gas accumulates and disturbs normal unction of gut.
Imbalanced diet: An imbalanced diet also disturbs stomach. This includes improper intake of proteins, eating excessively, eating more salty and fat containing foods. As fats are heavy to digest so cause indigestion.
Hormones: It sounds strange but yes, for many women change of hormones also leads to stomach bloating. It might happen a week before menstruation when excessive fluid builds up in the lower abdomen region. The stomach might look extra fat during this period.
Lactose intolerance: At times there is malfunctioning of the enzymes that breakdown Lactose into simpler compounds which are easy to digest. So body is not able to take dairy products like milk, ice creams, butter etc. Even this causes bloating accompanied with lactose gouts.
The symptoms of abdominal bloating include:
- The stomach is inflated and hard accompanied with the feeling of restlessness, discomfort and fullness.
- Severe pain in the stomach with indigestion.
- The size of the lower abdomen particularly changes throughout the day.
- Excessive amounts of gas in the stomach due to indigestion of food. Gas gets accumulated in the lower intestine.
Treatment to get back to normal stomach
- The natural remedy for bloating problems is drinking more than seven glasses of water everyday. This also helps in combating digestion problems.
- Foods which are not compatible with your digestive system should be avoided. Eating these foods would cause food intolerance leading to stomach bloating. Rather you should find alternatives to all the incompatible foods and drinks. Like if your stomach cannot tolerate dairy milk, it should be substituted with soya milk. Even dairy products should be avoided if you have problem in digesting lactose.
- Gassiness in the stomach can be decreased by reducing the amount of gas you take in. This can be achieved by following some good habits like drinking through straw, drinking aerated or carbonated beverages and sucking on a hard ice candy. Some muscle relaxing exercises and breathing exercises helps in reducing the extra gas in stomach.
- Apart from the foods incompatible with your digestive system, there are bloat causing foods which should be avoided. Beans, cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts and potatoes are high starch and fiber containing foods. They increase gas and cause bloating. Even the highest protein containing sprouts can cause bloating because they contain high fiber content. Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate.
- Doctors say that if you want to eat food with high fiber content then you must drink plenty of water with it. This is due to the fact that water helps fibers to move out of the digestive system thus helps in preventing gas formation and bloating.
- If bloating is due to fluid retention during the pre menstrual period then women must take pre menstrual supplements containing vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. These pills will not allow stomach to bloat.
- If you start experiencing digestion difficulties then watch your eating habits. Like eating fatty foods and chewing too fast causes indigestion, as high fat food slow digestion process. So avoid such habits for the time you experience indigestion.
- Some people suffers from bloating due to lactose intolerance, they also receive periodic bouts with bloating. Take medications made of breakdown of lactose in the stomach, because during lactose intolerance there is malfunctioning of the lactose breaking enzymes.
What time is the high time to see a doctor?
Occasionally if bloating happens, it is not much of a problem but if it persists for a time longer than usual and all the above remedies fail then you should see a doctor. At times abdomen bloating is accompanied with worrisome symptoms like blood in the stool and vomiting, diarrhea and these should be treated by the physicians only. They will prescribe you proper medications and syrups. Some common medications that help in reducing the symptoms are GasX, Alka Seltzer and Mylanta, these can be taken at home.