If you have a sensitive tummy, you’re probably prone to the horror and stress of having a bloated stomach. Especially now that it’s summer, you’d want to show off your midriff in a bikini or a crop top—and while we’re all for empowering women of all shapes and sizes, it’s still hard to flaunt your tummy if you’re uncomfortable!
So what really are the signs of a bloated stomach? While we have common culprits such as constipation, fluid retention, or gas, other alarming factors can cause your bloatedness—such as the food you eat, lifestyle choices, or underlying health issues.
Cosmo chatted with Dr. Paolo Demapelis, a board-certified gastroenterologist, to help you understand a bloated stomach—its causes, treatments, and home remedies. Read below for some tips and knowledge on handling that too-full feeling in your body!
What causes a bloated stomach?
“Bloatedness is the feeling of fullness in the stomach. You might feel like it’s full of air or even like you had a heavy meal even if you just had a few bites,” says Dr. Paolo. According to him, there are a few causes of bloatedness. The most common are functional disorders such as dyspepsia (or, as most people know, hyperacidity) and irritable bowel syndrome.
Constipation, which symptoms include straining to start or finish a bowel movement, can also contribute to bloating and abdominal pain. There are also excessive bacteria in the gut that increases gas production in such cases of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. If you’re lactose intolerant, malabsorption of certain carbohydrates can cause bloatedness. Excessive swallowed air can be a culprit, too.
What are the most common signs of bloating?
Dr. Paolo says that the most common sign that you’re boated is the feeling of fullness in the stomach. You may also have a sensation of increased abdominal pressure or a distended abdomen. Uncommon and more concerning causes include motility disorders (where the intestines move slower than others), constipation and colonic obstruction.
Are there people who are more prone to this?
Did you know that, according to research, bloating is more prevalent in women than men? It’s also a common side effect in people with pre-existing digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or chronic constipation.
Some women also notice that their bloated stomach follows their menstrual cycle. These women experience abdominal bloating before and during their menstrual periods.
Does acid reflux cause bloating?
“Both acid reflux and bloating can occur with dyspepsia, but acid reflux on its own does not cause the bloating,” clears Dr. Paolo.
What are the remedies for a bloated stomach?
Bloating can be really hard—particularly since there are so many triggers that occasional flare-ups are hard to ignore. According to Dr, Pao, you can relieve your bloated belly through a combination of a good diet and healthy exercise. “Mild exercise and the erect posture can increase gas clearance in some patients. Identifying if someone has intestinal malabsorption and avoiding the culprit would help.
"You may also try diet modification with a low flatulogenic diet. Foods thought to increase gas include beans, legumes, Brussels sprouts, onions, celery, carrots, raisins, bananas, fermentable fiber, and complex starches like wheat and potatoes.”
What relieves bloating?
However, if symptoms persist, you might need a professional diagnosis to get to the bottom of your condition. What brings relief in the long term will depend on the cause of your distress, as we have different conditions that ultimately might affect our condition.
When should I be worried about abdominal bloating?
You may want to consult a professional if your bloated stomach:
1. Gets progressively worse.
2. Persists for more than a week.
3. Is persistently painful.
4. Comes with alarming symptoms of illness, such as fever, vomiting or bleeding.
How to stop bloating right now?
If you want short-term remedies for your bloated tummy; fret not! Here are the tried-and-tested tips to relieve it quickly.
1. Take good quality probiotic.
Probiotic may alleviate bloating in several ways! Aside from being quick and easy to drink, it delivers lots of live bacterial cultures to your gut.
Sometimes your bloated tummy can easily signal that air is stuck in your body, so it might be good to release it!
3. Try drinking a herbal tea.
Herbal teas are known for soothing digestive issues, including bloating! Our recos? Peppermint, chamomile, and green tea.