Abdominal bloating is the feeling that your abdomen is stretched or tight and usually occurs when fluids or gas accumulate in a portion of the stomach. It also occur when the stomach’s contents flow too slowly through the digestive system, when the abdominal wall muscles are weak, or when the diaphragm muscle tightens rather than resting.
What causes bloating?
Typically, bloating is caused by dietary changes, such as eating a lot of rich food. The food you eat alters the sort of bacteria in your gut, leading to bloating and gas. Also, eating a lot of salty food and carbohydrates can cause bloating, so can swallowing air when eating too quickly or drinking a lot of carbonated beverages.
Chronic bloating can be caused by a variety of conditions, including:
- Coeliac disease.
- Liver disease.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
- Food intolerance, usually to gluten, wheat, or milk (lactose intolerance).
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Hormone imbalance, including before your period or during menopause.
- Medication side effects.
- Stress, anxiety, or depression.
What are the symptoms of bloating?
Typical bloating symptoms include abdominal pain, discomfort, and gas. You might also experience frequent burping or belching, as well as gut rumbling or gurgling. Severe bloating may coexist with other concerning symptoms, such as:
- Blood in your stool.
- Vaginal bleeding (in between periods, or postmenopausal bleeding).
- Unexpected weight loss.
- Fever (due to an infection).
How is bloating diagnosed?
In most cases, your doctor can determine the reason for your bloating with a physical examination in the office; This includes examining your abdomen for lumps or swelling and tapping your stomach to detect the presence of fluid. Your doctor can identify the presence of a blockage by listening to bowel sounds. The physician may perform a rectal exam if you have other gastrointestinal symptoms.
If your bloating results from a functional condition, such as an intolerance to dairy products or wheat, your evaluation is likely to be normal. In order to determine whether a particular food is causing your symptoms, your doctor may recommend dietary trials.
However, some patients require further screening, especially if they are experiencing additional severe symptoms. You may be referred to one or more of the following tests:
- Abdomen x-rays.
- Ultrasound or CT scan.
- Barium enema.
How is bloating treated?
Bloating can be treated in various ways, the most important of which is addressing the underlying cause. Doctors usually perform a variety of tests to rule out more serious issues. After then, dietary and lifestyle modifications are the primary focus of treatment; these include:
- Avoid fizzy drinks (such as soda).
- Don’t use straws while drinking.
- Refrain from chewing gum as it increases the probability of swallowing air.
- Avoid foods that are stressful to digest or promote gas production (e.g., Brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans, and lentils).
- Be mindful of your fiber sources; Patients with IBS frequently require higher fiber intake to alleviate their symptoms; however, certain
- forms of fiber, such as psyllium (found in Metamucil), can aggravate bloating. Consult a doctor on your choice of fiber supplements.
- Eat light, regular meals at a moderate pace.
- Drink fennel tea to help relieve symptoms.
Although over-the-counter medications offer only small advantages and do not work for all patients, your physician may recommend a trial of one or more of these.
Constipation-related bloating can be managed by consuming high-fiber meals, drinking more water, and engaging in frequent exercise. Some individuals may use laxatives to cure constipation.
Patients with medical conditions such as coeliac disease must adhere to a strict diet to avoid bloating and other symptoms. The low FODMAP (fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet can be particularly beneficial! This involves eliminating poorly absorbed meals that can lead to gas symptoms.
When to see a doctor?
Consult your medical professional or gastroenterologist if your bloating does not improve with the above remedies. In addition to bloating, you should visit your doctor if you experience other symptoms, such as unexpected weight loss, vomiting, or a change in bowel habits. These symptoms may indicate an underlying disease as opposed to simple bloating.
Call us on the toll-free line 800 (NOVO) 6686 or fill out the booking form below to book an appointment with our board-certified gastroenterologists for better gut health.