Why is My Stomach Bloated? – 8 Causes of Abdominal Bloating
Does your tummy look bigger than usual? Don’t worry because you are not alone. In fact, bloating is among the most common complaints heard by doctors since many experience this regularly.
What exactly is abdominal bloating?
According to John Hopkins Medicine, bloating is a condition wherein your belly feels tight and full due to gas or air. You might also feel full or swelling sensation in the abdomen.
Ideally, bloating comes with excessive gas or flatulence, frequent burping, abdominal rumbling or gurgles, and pain. It is not a cause of concern since it goes away within the day or after a few days and does not get worse over time.
Still, what makes you bloat? The truth is there are several reasons, which you will learn more about below.
Now that you’re glued, stick around because you will learn about:
- What abdominal bloating is
- The causes of stomach bloating
- Quick tips on how to address this condition
1. Gas: The Most Common Cause Of Bloating
Are you wondering why bloating is more common after eating? It’s all because of the air you swallow every time you eat or drink. Apart from this, gas builds up in your digestive tract once undigested food is broken down. When gas stays, bloating follows.
But if you drink or eat too fast or chew gum, you are more likely to swallow more air. Air gets trapped in the stomach, which could lead to bloating. Eat mindfully and do not rush your food. Enjoy and savor it.
- You unintentionally swallow air when you eat or drink
- Digesting food leads to gas buildup in your digestive tract
2. Blame It On The Food
Even if you eat slowly, unfortunately, there are some foods that cause bloating. This includes:
- Carbonated drinks like soda and beer
- Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage
- Sugar alcohol
- Dairy products
Most of these foods contain FODMAP or fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols. These are short-chain carbs that escape digestion and fermented by gut bacteria in the colon area. While all of these are happening, gas becomes a by-product; hence bloating.
Aside from FODMAP, some foods have high fiber and gluten content. This could be an issue especially if you are not used to eating too much fiber or you have food intolerance.
Further, those bubbles from carbonated drinks are filled with gas. This gas could fill your digestive system. Once this gas reaches your intestine, it could stay there for sometime; hence the bloating.
All of these foods may not adversely affect your BMI, but you better watch out.
- There are foods that cause bloating
- Components such as FODMAP produces gas
- High fiber and high gluten content may also cause gas, which leads to bloating
3. You Had Too Much To Eat And Mess Up Your BMI
This is another reason why you feel bloated.
The average length of the stomach’s lower curvature is around 16.3 centimeters while the greater curvature is at least 22.2 centimeters. The size may vary depending on age, sex, height, and body weight of the person.
That being said, the stomach can only stretch up to a certain extent to accommodate the food you eat. When you overeat, your stomach stretches too much, which means you’re not giving it enough time to digest.
When that happens, gas will follow and your tummy is protruding. Listen to your stomach. It will send signals that it is already full.
- Overeating is among the causes of abdominal bloating
- The human stomach can only stretch up to a certain capacity
- earn to listen to your stomach
4. Perhaps, You’re Constipated
How frequent are your bowel movements? If you only go three times a week, then chances are you are bloated.
You are constipated when you:
- Have lesser bowel movements than your normal
- Stool that looks like pebbles or small rocks
- Feel strained to start or finish a bowel movement
- Don’t feel empty even after pooping
When you are constipated, there is a higher chance that the bacteria will stay and ferment in the gut. This will make you gassy and feel bloated.
Drinking at least eight glasses of water and eating fiber-rich foods could help ease constipation.
- Constipation is among the causes of abdominal bloating
- Bacteria lives longer in the gut, which makes you feel gassy
5. Two Words: Fluid Retention
There are several situations wherein your body retains more fluid than usual. Eating salty food causes water retention and adversely affects your BMI. This is because when you eat something salty, your body is induced to conserve water; hence the bloating. Plus, it’s not good for your health and if you want to maintain the recommended BMI.
Hormonal changes could also trigger water retention; hence why your tummy is bigger during Red Days as compared to ordinary days. This bloating could get worse when you hit the menopausal stage.
People with food intolerances such as those who have celiac disease, are lactose intolerant, or allergy with gluten have higher chances of getting bloated.
- Fluid retention is among the causes of abdominal bloating
- Your body retains fluid when you eat too much salt, during hormonal changes, or if you have food intolerance
Unfortunately, bloating could mean something more serious than eating too much beans and broccoli. The following are the more serious causes of this condition.
6. It Could Be An Infection
Bacteria like E. coli, Helicobacter pylori, and rotavirus are examples of stomach infections. Apart from symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain, these infections can also come with gas and cause bloating.
Thankfully, stomach infections go away after several days. In case the symptoms gets worse every day and you don’t see any improvement, make sure you get yourself checked.
- Bloating is the body’s another way of saying that there is an infection
- Certain infections could affect the stomach
- Generally, stomach infections go away after a few days
7. SIBO As Among The Causes of Bloating
SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial growth and is among the reasons why you are bloated.
The human intestines and stomach contain bacteria, which help in digesting the food you eat. Unfortunately, stress, constant fatigue, lack of sleep, poor diet, and changes in weight could disrupt the balance that leads to SIBO.
SIBO causes bloating, although you might not easily notice that you have this condition. Worse, you will experience diarrhea or your body might have a hard time digesting food.
- One of the causes of abdominal bloating is SIBO
- Any disruption in the balance of bacteria in the gut could lead to SIBO
- Aside from bloating, diarrhea and difficulty in digesting food are among the symptoms of this condition
8. You Might Be Suffering From A Serious Medical Condition
Here’s the truth: even if you eat slowly or you avoid foods that could cause bloating, if you are suffering from a medical condition that affects the digestive system, then bloating will still happen.
Conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or IBS and Crohn’s disease, which causes inflammation in the gut, may result in frequent bloating.
Gastroparesis is another medical condition that potentially causes bloating. This is a type of disorder wherein stomach muscles stop working properly. As a result, food passes slower than usual through the stomach and intestines, and leads to bloating.
Gynecological conditions could also trigger bloating. Women who are suffering from endometriosis may cause cramps and the feeling of bloating. Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID could make you bloated.
Speaking of medical conditions, cancer is also among the possible reasons why you are bloated. Cancer of the ovary is among the deadliest forms of cancer that causes bloating.
Uterine cancer is also a cause of concern. Aside from bloating, pelvic pain, watery or bloody vaginal discharge, and vaginal bleeding might happen.
Colon cancer is also a serious condition that causes progressive bloating. Although preventable, it is among the top cancer deaths you need to watch out for.
Don’t underestimate stomach cancer. The symptoms are vague, which includes bloating, feeling of fullness, and indigestion. It is usually asymptomatic at the beginning and once diagnosed with this type of cancer, you have already reached the advance stage.
- Bloating, especially when accompanied with other symptoms, may indicate a more serious medical problem
- Conditions such as IBS, gastroperesis, endometriosis, and certain types of cancer are examples of conditions that cause bloating
- Pay attention to the accompanying symptoms since this indicates that you might be suffering from a serious condition
Abdominal bloating is manageable and may get better in a few days even without medicine. Drinking water, taking laxatives, and applying heat pad are among the remedies that could help ease bloating.
Nevertheless, if you constantly feel bloated and with accompanying symptoms like fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or blood in your stool, then seek professional help as soon as possible.
This could be a sign of something serious, so you need to pay attention to your health. Schedule a checkup before it’s too late.