How Is Bloating Diagnosed
Your doctor can generally diagnose the cause of your bloating through a physical exam in the office. They will ask you questions about your symptoms. They will want to know if your bloating is occasional or if it occurs all the time.
Temporary bloating is usually not serious. If it happens all the time, your doctor may order other tests. These could include an imaging test to look inside your abdomen. This could be an X-ray or CT scan.
Menopause And Pelvic Floor Problems
Menopause leads to further slowing of the metabolism and muscle loss.
A lot of women dont realize that there are estrogen receptors in your bowel. At menopause , its not unusual to have some change in bowel function, as your gut gets used to these hormonal alterations, Dr. Wender says. Bloating in particular is well known around menopause.
There is a pretty high incidence of pelvic floor dysfunction where you can be constipated because your pelvic floor muscles dont work as well, or theyre not coordinated properly, Duker Freuman says. As they age, that can catch up with women in particular and cause incomplete defecation. This leads to constipation and bloating as well.
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
A medical condition called SIBO can cause stomach pain and bloating, as well as malabsorption of food. In this condition, there is an alteration in the gut microbiome, and an overabundance of bacteria grows in the small intestine.
This bacterial overgrowth produces excess gas as a metabolic byproduct, leading to stomach pain and a sensation of a bloated stomach or abdomen. This condition is typically seen when intestinal movements slow down this can happen due to increasing age, chronic pancreatitis, and other factors. Antibiotics are generally used to help manage this condition.
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What Is Abdominal Bloating
Abdominal bloating refers to a sensation of fullness or a sense of abdominal enlargement. It is often due to disturbance in the normal function of the gastrointestinal tract, causing an increase in intestinal gas.Gas in the intestine is a mixture of numerous different components which can be increased by swallowing too much air, excess production, or impaired absorption due to obstruction. Excess gas causes bloating as well as other gas symptoms such as flatulence or burping.If the abdomen is visibly distended in association with bloating, it is more likely that there is an organic, rather than functional, cause of the symptom. Bloating is frequently associated with abdominal pain that may be relieved by passing gas or bowel motions.
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Things To Tell Your Doctor:
- Is the symptom located in the upper or lower abdomen?Is it in a concentrated area?
- Is your bloating or distension associated with burping?
- Do you experience nausea or vomiting?
- Is the symptom associated with pain in your abdomen?Upper or lower?
- Does the bloating or distension relate to passing gas or a change in your bowel habits ?
- Are your symptoms related to food? Which ones?
- Do they occur right after eating?
- Do your symptoms increase during the day or improve during night hours?
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Check For A Food Intolerance Or Allergy
Occasionally, a wheat allergy or lactose intolerance results in a lot of undigested food that can be acted on by bacteria and cause bloating, says Dr Chopada.
If you want to reduce bloating consider food intolerances, says Claire. The most common intolerances are lactose , fructose , wheat and gluten, and eggs. You can do this by cutting out food you think you might be intolerant to and seeing how your body reacts. If you arent sure, find a specialist who can test you, she advises.
Over the counter medications like Deflatine tablets can help, adds Dr Chophada.
Drinking enough water can actually reduce bloating, rather than cause it.
How Common Is Stomach Bloating
Between 10% and 25% of otherwise healthy people complain of occasional abdominal bloating. As many as 75% describe their symptoms as moderate to severe. About 10% say they experience it regularly. Among those diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome , it may be as much as 90%. Up to 75% of women experience bloating before and during their period. Only 50% of people who experience bloating also report a distended abdomen.
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You Chowed Down On Bean Dip
The bad news: The high amount of fiber in beans makes them a prime cause for bloating and gas. But the good news is that it doesnt have to be that way.
By eating a serving of beans daily, the body will adapt and learn to digest them, says Allen. Plus, beans are chock full of protein, so theres really no reason why you shouldnt be eating them every day.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Bloated Stomach
As a bloated stomach is only temporary, it is different from gaining fat mass around the stomach. A bloated stomach is caused by built-up gas in the digestive system that makes the stomach uncomfortable and cause it to extend outward. Some people may even describe the belly as looking pregnant. There may be also pain in the abdomen, which should be checked if it is serious. If you experience any of the following additional symptoms, you should seek out medical attention promptly:
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You Ordered Barley Soup
You really wanted that creamy broccoli cheddar soup for lunch, but you went for the heart-healthy barley soup insteadand now youre stuck with a swollen belly. Why? Barley is a complex carb, which means it takes longer for your stomach to digest, says Allenespecially if you don’t eat a ton of it already. If you love the stuff, work it into your diet slowly, or opt for something gentler like quinoa.
What Can Cause Stomach Pain And Bloating
Your gastrointestinal tract is a long tube that spans from your mouth to your anus, encompassing your esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines.
When excess gas is stuck at any point along this tube, it can feel like your abdomen is stretched tight and bloated. It can be hard to find a comfortable way to sit or lie down when you have abdominal bloating because air gets trapped in the bends of your colon, causing pain. You may also experience burping or flatulence when you are bloated, which can be socially uncomfortable.
Here are common reasons for stomach pain and bloating in women.
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Foods That Cause Bloating
Bloating is when your belly feels swollen or enlarged after eating.
It is usually caused by gas or other digestive issues (
Although bloating may be a symptom of a serious medical condition, it is usually caused by something in the diet .
Here are 13 foods that can cause bloating, along with suggestions on what to eat instead.
It Could Be Constipation
While youre spending a lot of time at home, you may not be moving as much as you usually do. You may also be eating different foods. This can lead to constipation. You may be constipated if you experience:
- Fewer bowel movements than normal for you
- Stool that is lumpy or looks like pebbles
- Difficulty passing stool or a feeling that you still need to go after youre finished
Fortunately, you can make a number of at-home changes to help relieve your constipation. These include:
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Excess Gas Can Build Up
Gas is a normal part of digestion, but if it builds up in your intestines, it may cause bloating and pain. Gas happens when food that is not digested is broken down in your colon. This process produces methane and hydrogen, which you pass naturally as gas.
If you do experience bloating due to gas, modifying your food intake may help. Here are some common drinks and foods that can cause bloating:
- Foods high in fiber or fat
- Fried and spicy dishes
- Carbonated drinks, such as soda or beer
- Lactose found in milk, cheese and yogurts
Over-the-counter supplements can even trigger bloating.
You Had A Kale Salad For Lunch
Kale has a lot of nutrition and is a great food option, but its in the cruciferous vegetable family so it may cause bloating, says Allen. The same goes for broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and arugula.
Kale also contains a lot of fiber and a sugar called raffinose, which your stomach may struggle to break down. A good rule of thumb for high-fiber foods from Allen is to drink lots of water to aid the digestion process and avoid bloat.
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What You Eat Or Drink
What you eat or drink can also lead to bloating.
- Gum and carbonated beverages:These can increase the amount of air you swallow.
- High-fiber foods: These can increase healthy gut bacteria, which can cause bloating if you aren’t used to eating them.
- Alcohol:Wine, beer, and hard alcohol may cause temporary bloating by irritating your stomach lining.
You Aren’t Drinking Enough Water
You’ve heard it before: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! If you’re feeling extra stuffy and puffy, check your water intakeyour bloating could be from not drinking enough water. “Water helps move stool through and enables forward movement in your bowels,” explains Dr. Nazareth.
Make sure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day to keep everything ~flowing~. Get a snazzy reusable water bottle for 24/7 hydration.
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Drinking Too Much Soda
Carbonated beverages, such as soda or sparkling water, are a common reason for bloating. The fizz in your favorite sodas can cause gas to get trapped in your stomach, which can lead to bloating and belching.
Try limiting the amount of soda you drink and switch to a healthier alternative. Water with cucumber or lemon can offer a flavorful drink with your meal, and black tea can provide the caffeine kick you may need in the early afternoon. If youre already feeling bloated, peppermint tea is a common remedy that can be used to help reduce the discomfort.
Abdominal Bloating Is Bothersome And Painful Usually Its A Result Of Digestive Problems In This Account Surprisingly Its Oral Sex That Caused The Belly Of A Woman Age 24 To Expand And Look Like A Balloon
During all the years weve been working here weve heard many strange stories that stemmed from having sex, but this is a first.
A woman, age 24, showed up in the emergency room at Stanford Medical Center after experiencing severe abdominal and chest pain for six hours. Her pain was quite sharp and had spread throughout her abdomen, yet she had no other symptoms.
Doctors had already seen this woman twice.
She had been admitted a year before, and had returned six months later with the same problem. Both times, doctors didnt find a specific cause for her pain. In X-rays, the results were the same: air was detected in the abdominal cavity .
This condition can be caused by a number of factors, from perforated ulcers to intestinal cancer. Unfortunately, this air bubble may cause an embolism that can be deadly. This is why doctors had to find out what caused her repeated ER visits.
As mentioned, despite tests in the previous two cases, no cause was found for her condition and the air was gradually absorbed by her abdominal tissue, a process that took several days, a research team wrote in the Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons.
The woman was observed in the hospital, and was discharged after no damage was found. Although she wasnt injured, other cases known to doctors have caused physical damage, and in one case a woman died.
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What Causes Bloating
Bloating happens when the GI tract becomes filled with air or gas. This can be caused by something as simple as the food you eat. Some foods produce more gas than others. It can also be caused by lactose intolerance . Other simple reasons for bloating include:
- Swallowing air
Other causes could include medical conditions, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Liver disease
- Crohns disease
- Blockage in your bowel or bladder
- Mental health factors, such as anxiety or depression
- Some medicines
When To Seek Help
According to the NHS, if you recognise one or more of the symptoms of bowel cancer or if your bloating symptoms persist, consult your GP to rule out a more serious condition.
In most cases, however, simple lifestyle adjustments should help to alleviate your bloating.
If you get constipation, for example, take steps to prevent it by adding more fibre to your diet, drinking lots of fluids and exercising regularly, advises the NHS.
Even a 20 to 30 minute brisk walk four times a week can improve your bowel function, explains the health body.
It is also worth keeping a food diary as this can help to determine whether your bloating is caused by a food intolerance.
The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the problem food or cut it out completely, adds the NHS.
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Does Menopause Cause Abdominal Bloating
If bloating seems to get worse during menopause, its tempting to blame the bloat on our hormones. But do midlife hormone changes actually play a role? The grand summary: maybe, but its complicated.
Severalstudies have shown that perimenopausal women both with and without IBS have more abdominal bloating, distension, and gas than premenopausal women do. However, its unclear in these studies how menopause causes these effects.
One possible explanation is that shifts in ovarian hormones such as those during menstruation or during early perimenopause can increase visceral sensitivity, which leads to bloating or GI discomfort in women with IBS. Another explanation is that the constellation of menopause symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disruption, and mood alterations somehow worsens GI symptoms in a way that we havent been able to pinpoint. Perimenopausal stress and anxiety could be a major culprit here.
Yet another theory is that Hormone Replacement Therapy may influence GI symptoms. One study found that women receiving HRT had longer colonic transit time in other words, digested food moved more slowly through their intestines, which tends to increase bloating. A later, similar study found the contrary: post-menopausal women taking progesterone actually had faster digestion. This goes against the typical hypothesis that progesterone slows down our GI tracts during pregnancy and the luteal phase of menstruation.
You Ate Before Working Out
Stomach issues after a workout are often related to what you ate prior to hitting the gym. Blood flow moves from the digestive tract to the muscles during exercise, which could impair digestion, says Allen.
Keep your pre-workout noshes light and simplelike half a banana or a mini protein barso your stomach doesnt have to work overtime during your spin class.
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What Does Abdominal Distension Indicate
A distended abdomen is either an organic or a functional problem. An organic problem can be explained by physical evidence, like a disease. Functional problems are observable but unexplained.
Organic causes of abdominal distension might include:
- Menstruation, which causes water retention.
- Significant recent weight gain, which tends to be stored as intra-abdominal fat and may restrict digestion.
- An obstruction of the small or large bowel, causing a build-up of gas and waste matter.
- Partial paralysis of the stomach causing a build-up of digestive contents.
- Inflammation of the abdominal lining .
- A build-up of fluid in the abdomen caused by liver disease .
- Organ enlargement from inflammation or a growth.
- Internal bleeding .
Functional reasons for a distended abdomen tend to involve digestive problems that cause gas and/or digestive contents to accumulate. Causes might include:
- Constipation causing a build-up of feces and back-up of digestive contents.
- Urinary retention causing a build-up of urine.
- A disorder of the muscle contractions involved in digestion , causing digestive contents to back up.
- Abdominal muscle weakness, which causes the abdominal contents to sag outwards and downwards .
How To Prevent Bloating
Typically, the first line of treatment for preventing gas and bloating is changing your diet. Research has shown that a low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols diet can reduce the symptoms of gas and IBS. A low FODMAP diet avoids fermentable, gas-producing food ingredients, such as:
- Oligosaccharides, which are found in wheat, onions, garlic, legumes and beans
- Disaccharides, such as lactose in milk, yogurt and ice cream
- Monosaccharides, including fructose , apples and pears
- Polyols or sugar alcohols found in foods such as apricots, nectarines, plums and cauliflower, as well as many chewing gums and candies
In people sensitive to FODMAP-rich foods, the small intestine doesn’t always fully absorb these carbohydrates, and instead passes them to the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria and produce gas. To see if some of the FODMAP foods are causing your gas and bloating you can start by cutting out FODMAP foods and then slowly bringing them back into your diet one at a time to pinpoint any foods that are causing the problems.
In the long run, the key to preventing bloating is understanding its cause. If mild constipation is the problem, a fiber-rich diet, water and exercise may help, but these steps wont always work for chronic constipation. Chronic constipation and other conditions, such as IBS or gastroparesis, require medical treatment, so its important to talk to your doctor about your bloating symptoms.
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