How Can I Control Ascites
If you have ascites, these steps can help you control the condition:
- Weight checks: Weigh yourself daily. Call your healthcare provider if you gain more than 10 pounds, or more than two pounds per day for three consecutive days.
- Limit alcohol: Its best to avoid alcoholic beverages entirely to reduce your ascites risk.
- Limit NSAID use:Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, affect your kidneys. They can cause your body to retain excess water and salt.
- Low-salt diet: Stick to a low-sodium diet, consuming no more than 2,000 to 4,000 milligrams per day.
What Tests Might I Need
After the initial exam, your provider will recommend other tests to confirm a diagnosis:
- Ultrasound or CT scan: These imaging scans show your abdominal area in more detail.
- Paracentesis: Youll get a local anesthetic before this procedure. Your provider inserts a needle into your abdomen to remove fluid. The fluid is analyzed for signs of cancer, infection, portal hypertension and other conditions.
Are Stomach Distension And Bloating The Same Thing
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two different conditions. While stomach distension is the physical expansion of the abdomen , bloating refers to the feeling of abdominal fullness or discomfort [1
Most people have experienced some digestive symptoms at one point or another, especially after eating a large meal. Stomach distension, abdominal bloating, gas, cramping, and indigestion can be normal every now and then. But if youve been taking care to improve your gut health, yet notice an uptick in these symptoms, its probably time to look for and target root causes.
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Diet And Lifestyle Changes For Stomach Distension
As I describe in Healthy Gut, Healthy You, diet and lifestyle changes are the foundation for healing most gut issues. While diet needs to be personalized, most people will benefit from getting back to basics when it comes to food.
Principles of a healthy diet include:
- A diet low in allergens/intolerances
- A diet that contains the appropriate amount of bacterial feedings for the individual
- A diet that regulates blood sugar and contains the appropriate amount of carbohydrates
- A diet that focuses on fresh, whole, and unprocessed foods
The low FODMAP diet has been shown to improve a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms for people with IBS and other functional gastrointestinal symptoms:
- A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis found that a low FODMAP diet reduced IBS symptom scores, improved quality of life,and eased abdominal pain,bloating, and overall symptoms in people with functional GI symptoms [2
Can Bloating Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many ways to prevent and avoid bloating:
- Avoid the foods that are known to cause gas. These include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, beans, and lentils.
- Avoid chewing gum.
- Avoid using straws for drinking.
- Reduce or avoid drinking carbonated drinks .
- Reduce or avoid eating and drinking foods that include fructose or sorbitol. These artificial sweeteners are often found in sugar-free foods.
- Eat slowly.
- Eat more foods high in fiber to prevent constipation. If foods alone dont help, consider taking a fiber supplement.
- Avoid dairy products if you notice they cause gas and bloating.
- Quit smoking.
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How Can I Prevent Stomach Bloating
If your stomach bloating is caused by diet or alcohol, you can help prevent it by making some lifestyle changes. Some good general guidelines include:
If the cause of your bloated stomach is something more specific, such as specific food intolerance, perimenopause or a medical condition, you might need a little help with diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Some options include:
Can I Be Suffering From Something Serious If I Have Stomach Bloating After Meals
Most often, bloating is an indicator of poor food habits or stress. However, occasionally, it can indicate an underlying health condition that could prove disastrous if ignored. Serious causes of bloating include Inflammatory bowel syndrome , Crohns disease, acid reflux, intestinal obstruction, gastrointestinal infections, stomach cancer etc. These health conditions range from minor issues to cancers and hence, it is advisable to keep your eyes open for a few warning signs if you experience stomach bloating after meals regularly. If in doubt, it is best to consult a medical practitioner at the earliest. As they say, better safe than sorry!
These warning signs include:
- Passing blood in your stools
- Sudden and severe weight loss
- Severe constipation for more than 2-3 days
- Loose and uncontrollable diarrhea
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Why You Experience Bloating After Eating
As mentioned, you usually do not need to worry about feeling bloated after a meal, but if it happens quite often, you may need to dig deeper into the details to identify the underlying cause. Here are some of the most common reasons:
1. Food Intolerance
How people react to certain food is quite fascinating. Some people can eat anything without noticing any problem, while others are more sensitive to certain food and end up feeling bloated. If you experience this on a regular basis, this could be because you are intolerant to certain types of food. Yeast, gluten, milk, and fructose can all cause stomach bloating in some people.
One obvious reason of dealing with bloating after eating is to eat too much. Overeating will most often result in flatulence and bloating. This happens because your digestive system fails to break down the food when there is too much of it. The best solution is to eat smaller meals more often throughout the day.
3. Lack of Digestive Enzymes
4. Eating Fatty Food
If your diet includes too much of fatty food, you are surely going to deal with bloating after eating. Your body takes a lot longer to process high-fat meals. Fat moves slowly through your digestive tract and increases the chances of you feeling bloated. You should consider eating leaner food, such as grains and produce.
5. Eat Too Fast
6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
7. Coeliac Disease
Slow Down: Eatings Not A Race
Eating is a marathon, not a sprint. Inhaling your food is not good if you want to avoid bloating after lunch. Thats because when you gulp down your food, youre also taking in lots of air, resulting in lots of gas after eating. It can also result in belching.
You can beat the bloat by eating slower and chewing your food. Not only will that reduce the air youre taking in, but it can also help to make you feel fuller so you take in less unnecessary food. And thats a win-win for your waistline.
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What Causes Stomach Distension
While the occasional large meal can be the culprit when it comes to stomach distension, there are a myriad of possible underlying causes for chronic abdominal distension.
But the most common causes of bloating and chronic stomach distension we see in the clinic are:
- Irritable bowel syndrome : Much of the research on bloating and stomach distension has been completed in the context of IBS. Interestingly, research shows excessive intestinal gas may not contribute much to bloating and abdominal distension in IBS patients, rather it could be a hypersensitivity to gas pressure from abnormal abdominal wall reflexes [24
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
- Autoimmune gastritis
- Gastrointestinal or ovarian cancer
If youve worked through the step-by-step protocol, but still struggle with symptoms, you may consider some specific testing options such as:
- Breath tests to diagnose SIBO
- Upper endoscopy for serious symptoms
- Abdominal X-rays to determine the level of stool retention in those who are constipated
- Gastric emptying studies
How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Abdominal Distension
If you seek medical care for your distended abdomen, your healthcare provider will work to isolate the cause. Theyll start by asking you questions about your symptoms and examining your abdomen to see where it’s distended. The location of the outward curve, whether it’s uniform across your abdominal cavity or more pronounced in a particular region, helps them determine which organs are involved and narrow down the list of likely causes. They may also feel the area with their hands or tap it and listen to the sound it makes to determine the presence of fluids, gasses or solids.
The internal organs of the abdomen can be classified as either solid or hollow. Solid organs include the liver, spleen, kidneys, adrenals, pancreas, ovaries and uterus. These can become enlarged due to inflammation or growths such as a tumor, abscess or cyst. Your healthcare provider might be able to feel that they are enlarged, or they might need to look at an image of the internal organs to tell. A large growth might be palpable through the skin. Your healthcare provider will confirm your condition with imaging tests, then follow up with additional testing and treatment depending on the condition.
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What Should I Do Before Starting The Low
Consult a reliable healthcare provider. Whether youve already been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal disease or you are just beginning to explore possible causes and cures for your symptoms, a registered dietitian or GI specialist can help set you in the right direction. They may have alternative ideas to test before you try the diet. They can also help guide you through the nuances of the diet, provide shopping and menu guides and troubleshoot when questions or problems arise. Theres a lot to keep track of with this diet, including different quantities and portion sizes for different foods. Its easier to follow successfully if you have a guide who knows the way around.
Plan ahead. This is a temporary diet, but its a significant investment of time and trouble in the meantime. Make sure you reserve a chunk of time to complete it when it wont conflict with other important events or obligations. You cant cheat on an elimination diet the whole experiment collapses if you do. Make an intentional commitment to yourself to complete the process before you start. Be deliberate about setting the stage. Clear your fridge and pantry of high-FODMAP foods and prepare some menu plans in advance. Make sure you have ingredients for a few simple standby meals that you know you can prepare and enjoy easily.
What Causes Gas After Eating
Feeling like your belly is fit to burst or experiencing bad gas after eating is unpleasant, but understanding the cause could help to prevent it.
Digestive distress is an unpleasant symptom of bloating. Picture it: youve finished eating and your stomach feels full to bursting point, or youve got so much gas after eating anything that you dont know what to do with yourself.
Although a little tooting here and there can be humorous, too much of it can be painful. In fact, severe symptoms can really take it out of us. For example, dealing with cramping and pain can lead to fatigue, greatly impacting on our personal and social lives.
If that wasnt enough, excessive gas production from your rear end can be continuous, making it pretty difficult to go to work or socialise. Alternatively, the stench could leave you feeling horrified with yourself! But there could be several explanations for its occurrence.
Does rice expand in your stomach? No. If you cook your rice before eating it, it should be soft and chewy because it has absorbed all the moisture it can.
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Which Foods Cause Stomach Bloating After Eating
All types of foods can be triggers for bloating, including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. For some people, having a food intolerance can also increase the risk of bloating. The most common triggers include apples, dairy products, beans, cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage, lettuce, onion, peaches, and pears. Artificial sweeteners, like those found in diet sodas, can also be a cause of bloating. Many people cannot digest these sweeteners, resulting in an unusual amount of gas.
Switching to a whole grain diet has been known to cause bloating, as the amount of fiber intake is significantly increased after switching to whole grains and fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate. If you plan to switch to a whole grain diet, make sure to do so slowly and drink plenty of water.
Salt is another well-known culprit of bloating. When people talk about losing water weight, what they are referring to is the bodys natural tendency to decrease water retention when salt intake is reduced. Avoiding foods with high salt content can prevent water retention and the bloated feeling associated with it.
Dairy intolerance is the most common cause of bloating. Nearly 10 percent of adults suffer from some form of dairy intolerance. While calcium is a required nutrient for the bodys health and well-being, it can be sourced from other foods besides those containing lactose. There are also many lactose-free alternative dairy options.
Ways To Avoid Bloating After Eating
Once you know the reasons behind bloating,you can take steps to deal with it. Here is what you can do to keep bloating at bay.
1. Avoid Carbonated Drinks
You should avoid carbonated drinks or at least limit their intake. Drink more of these drinks and carbon dioxide will build up in your system. This will lead to bloating. The best thing is to stick with plain water or add a slice of lemon to make it taste better.
2. Eat Slowly
Do not eat too fast because this makes you swallow air that leads to bloating after eating. Take more time to eat this keeps you from swallowing air and also helps reduce your overall food intake.
3. Take a Walk
Go for a walk after you eat your meal. Even a short walk after a meal can work wonders in reducing the gas buildup that usually leads to bloating. Besides, walking will also benefit your overall health.
4. Mind the Food You Eat
What’s more, several difficult-to-digest, bloat-inducing foods can make things extremely difficult when you are already having a hard time dealing with bloating after eating.
5. Try a Supplement
You can find gas-busting or anti-gas supplements such as a-galactosidase tablets to avoid dealing with gas after eating certain foods. These pills not just help relieve bloating, but they also prove effective against flatulence and belching. You need to take most of these supplements before every meal, but talk to your doctor about how often you should take it.
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Can Stress Cause Distension Of The Abdomen
Have you ever noticed changes to your gastrointestinal function when youre nervous or stressed? Its no coincidence since your gut and brain communicate with each other via the gut-brain axis, including the vagus nerve.
When it comes to stomach distension and bloating, stress can both physically change the landscape of your gut and also change your perception.
- Stress can disrupt the balance of the microbes in your gut microbiome. These changes can lead to inflammation, immune system dysfunction, and an increase in digestive symptoms like bloating [24
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Diet Makes You Gassy After Eating
Feeling bloated after eating can be caused by certain foods for some people. Foods rich in fibre like whole grains, legumes, and some vegetables – although healthy – can lead to bloated bellies.
Although your gut bacteria are well equipped to break down the fibre in your diet to beneficial metabolites, the process can also lead to the production of gas. Suddenly increasing your fibre intake means you may also be greeted with some odoriferous flatulence, bloating, and some discomfort.
Salt, another major component of the Western diet, is a major contributor to bloating because it tells your body to hold onto water. Other things like taking in lots of air when you eat or drinking carbonated drinks increases the gas build-up in the body, making your belly feel like an inflated balloon.
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Which High Fodmap Foods Are The Best To Avoid
This is the question that youll need to answer for yourself during the process of the low-FODMAP diet. The answer will be different for everyone. The point of the diet is not to deprive you of bad foods but to find out if your symptoms are related to FODMAPs or not and if they are, which ones. Some people may not improve at all on the elimination phase. If you don’t, theres no reason to follow through to the next phase. But if you do, it will be very important to reintroduce foods in a systematic way to separate the real offenders from foods that you can tolerate. Many people find in the end that its only one or two of the FODMAP food groups that bother them. The ultimate goal of the diet is to widen your dietary options as much as possible.
Will I Need Surgery For Ascites
Sometimes, diuretics and a low-sodium diet arent enough to improve the ascites. You may need other treatments, including:
- Paracentesis: Your provider inserts a needle into your abdomen to remove the fluid. This procedure can remove a large amount of excess fluid.
- Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt : This procedure is performed to treat fluid build-up in the abdomen. A wire mesh is inserted into a vein in your liver. When inflated, the stent forms a channel to bypass the liver. TIPS may be appropriate if your ascites aren’t responding to other therapies, if you need several paracenteses per month and you’re not a candidate for a liver transplant.
- Liver transplant: In cases of severe cirrhosis, when the liver is failing, a liver transplant may be necessary.
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