Being Pregnant Can Leave You Feeling Bloated
We all know that things like a missed period and nausea can point to pregnancy, but according to What to Expect, bloating is another common and very typical sign of a new pregnancy and impending baby bump.
“You can blame on the hormone progesterone, which helps slow down digestion, giving the nutrients from foods you eat more time to enter your bloodstream and reach your baby,” the site explained. “While progesterone is essential for maintaining a healthy pregnancy, it also triggers that oh-so-delightful trio: bloating, burping and passing gas,” another What to Expect article revealed.
The reason for this bizarre occurrence? Progesterone relaxes muscle in your stomach and intestines, slowing digestion. This gives your body more time to absorb nutrients from the food you eat but also increases pressure throughout your digestive system leaving you feeling seriously uncomfortable and bloated. For many pregnant women, bloating usually starts to show up at around 11 weeks into a pregnancy and can unfortunately continue all the way up to the time of delivery.
Why Does My Stomach Look Pregnant
Abdominal bloating and gas are among the most common digestive complaints that doctors hear from patients. Belly bloating bothers some people largely because of how it looks. They may think a protruding tummy makes them look pregnant. Some are frustrated when that swollen stomach sticks around even after weight loss.
I Just Cant Stop Myself Burping
Angie Chace, 66, is a retired accounts supervisor from Portsmouth, Hants.
Abdomen exam: Normal
Diagnosis: IBS with further tests recommended
Angie says: For the past three years, everything I eat or drink makes me burp, with pain and discomfort behind my sternum.
Recently Ive had a very bloated stomach and find both these symptoms get worse with foods such as onions, broccoli and bread. My bowels have never been regular.
Mr Wests assessment: Angie doesnt smoke, chew gum, drink fizzy drinks or take boiled sweets all of which can raise gas in an abdomen.
It may be her burping is due to acid reflux. I would recommend checking for gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatus hernia with a gastroscopy.
Her bloating symptoms sound like IBS but because of their recent onset and her age, an ultrasound scan to rule out ovarian cancer would be wise.
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Dont Eat Too Much At A Time
Being stuffed can feel like being bloated, but the problem is that you simply ate too much.
If youre eating big meals and tend to feel uncomfortable afterward, then try smaller portions. Add another daily meal if necessary.
A subset of people who experience bloating dont really have an enlarged stomach or increased pressure in the abdomen. The issue is mostly sensory .
A person with a tendency to be bloated will experience discomfort from a smaller amount of food than a person who rarely feels bloated.
For this reason, simply eating smaller meals can be incredibly useful.
Chewing your food better can have a two-fold effect. It reduces the amount of air you swallow with the food , and it also makes you eat slower, which is linked to reduced food intake and smaller portions .
People who experience bloating often have increased sensitivity to food in the stomach. Therefore, eating smaller meals can be very useful.
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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Bloating: Causes And Prevention Tips
How often do you hear yourself or friends complain about bloating? We often just say were bloated when we feel full, but for many women, the problem relates to a chronic underlying condition. If you feel bloated often, you may have a condition like irritable bowel syndrome , which affects up to 24 percent of women.
Linda Lee, M.D., explains common causes of bloating and what you can do to prevent this uncomfortable condition.
Why Is My Bloating Not Going Away
Liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, heart failure, kidney problems, and some types of cancer can cause bloating. Bloating that continues for days or weeks may indicate a health issue that needs medical attention. It is advisable to speak to a doctor about ongoing bloating that does not go away over time.
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The Way You Eat May Lead To Bloating
If you chew with your mouth open, eat super quickly, or talk exceptionally fast and you regularly suffer from bloating you may have a condition called aerophagia. But don’t worry! It’s nothing life-threatening. Rather, it simply means you’re a person who tends to swallow a lot of air. And that swallowed air can leave you feeling bloated.
WebMD described aerophagia as a disorder that occurs when you swallow enough to make you burp frequently or to upset your stomach and leave it feeling bloated or uncomfortable. An estimated 25 percent of the population will experience the condition at some point in their lives. Symptoms of aerophagia include stomach pain, a swollen midsection, and frequent belching sometimes several times within a single minute.
People who have anxiety or depression are especially at risk. However, antacids can help if the condition is caused by acid reflux. Changing the way you eat and making an effort to eat slower are behavioral modifications that help the problem to go away.
Have Better Eating Habits
Youre more likely to suffer from bloating if you have developed poor eating habits like not chewing properly or eating too fast, says Claire. We have to be super mindful of this try resting your cutlery between mouthfuls and chewing food until its semi-liquid, advises The Gut Stuff team.
Try to balance your blood sugars at every meal by making sure you eat protein and fats with your carbs, adds Claire. You might also consider taking a digestive aid. A magnesium supplement can also help, especially if youre constipated, she says.
Walking for a few minutes after meals helps a lot of people, recommends Dr Chophada.
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Most Common Gas Triggers
The main triggers for gas and bloating are fermentable foods, foods that are difficult to digest, and mealtime practices. Diet is the most common trigger for gas and bloating, though, and there are specific food groups that are commonly known culprits.
By a process of elimination, you can determine if any of these groups cause you to be gassy, and then you can eliminate them and enjoy being gas-free.
What Causes Abdominal Bloating
- Ascites: Sometimes you may feel bloated due to the accumulation of fluid within the abdominal cavity, called ascites. This is often the result of liver disease.
- Tumours: Very occasionally, you may feel bloated because there is a tumour present within your abdomen, of the ovaries, liver, stomach or elsewhere. The present of a lump or swelling should alert you to the possibility of a tumour or cancer.
- Infection: Certain parasitic disorders can cause abnormal dilatations of the colon associated with symptoms of bloating.
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Whats The Best Treatment For A Bloated Stomach
Your treatment will depend on whats causing your bloating. There are lots of things you can try at home to get rid of trapped wind including changing your diet to limit foods that cause bloating and exercising more regularly. Read more about how to get rid of trapped wind and natural ways to beat bloating.
IBS and constipation can also also be treated at home, as long as you or a doctor are sure theres nothing else that could be causing your symptoms. For example, IBS usually gets better if you manage your stress levels and get more exercise. You can also keep a food and symptoms diary to try and work out what is triggering your IBS and then exclude those foods or drinks. This is helpful with food intolerances too.
But if youre finding that even with these changes, your bloated stomach isnt getting better, you may need treatment advice from a pharmacist or a doctor. This could include medications to reduce the acid in your stomach known as antacid medicines or laxatives to help with constipation.
For more serious causes like ascites or cancers, youll likely need treatment in hospital. This may involve surgery or medication like chemotherapy.
Read more about how to get rid of bloating.
You Had A Lot Of Fructose
Fructose is a type of sugar and, if you want to get really technical, it’s a two-unit sugar molecule that’s a part of sucrose, Cohen says. And, yep, it can make you bloat.
“A lot of fructose in the gut attracts water into the gut,” Cohen explains. And that can lead to feelings of fullness and bloating. Prevention is really the way to go here. Fructose appears in a lot of sugar-free gums and candies, as well as apple juice and honey, Cohen says. If it seems like fructose could be behind your bloat, it’s time to scale back. Also, it’s a good idea to see your doctoryou may have a fructose intolerance.
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More Advice To Beat The Bloat:
1. Eat fermented food once a day: Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, kefir and kombucha are naturally high in probiotics. Like the probiotic supplement, fermented foods introduce good microorganisms that can contribute to maintaining a balanced, healthy gut.
2. Drink up: When youre dehydrated, your electrolyte levels can become unbalanced. This means you could be holding on to unwanted water weight without even realizing it. Drinking more water does not mean more water is retained. Drinking more water means your body can flush out any excess more easily.
3. Move more: You can be eating the right foods, but if youre spending all day sitting, the stagnation can cause unwanted gas buildup. Make a point to get up and move every hour.
Breakfast: 1 cup green tea with an egg scramble with leftover grilled salmon and asparagus
Snack:Gut health smoothie: 1/2 cup plain kefir, 1/3 cup papaya and 1/4 avocado
Lunch: Spinach , 2 teaspoons olive oil and top with 1 tablespoon of chopped pecans and 4-6 ounces lemon herb chicken
Drink flat water with lemon throughout the day!
For more advice from Keri Glassman, follow her on .
You Eat Dinner Too Close To Bedtime
If you eat a typical-sized dinner within an hour or two of hitting the sack, youre setting yourself up for morning discomfort. Lying down impairs digestion, so if you hit the bed with food in your stomach, it wont be broken down as quickly, leaving you bloated in the a.m., says Rumsey. Its not always easy to shift your schedule, but try having supper at least three to four hours before turning in for the night. Stay on your feet as much as possible to keep things moving before you fall asleep. If you have no choice but to eat right before bedtime, make it something small, like a piece of fruit or yogurt, and refuel with a bigger meal at breakfast, when your metabolism is running high again and your body will benefit from the energy jolt.
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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.
How To Get Rid Of A Bloated Stomach
One of the most effective bloated stomach remedies is improving your diet, since the foods you eat play a huge part in regulating how much air and poop is trapped inside your digestive tract.
To keep things flowing smoothly, you want to make sure to eat a high-fiber diet, aiming for about 2530 grams every day or even more.
This isnt too difficult when you eat plenty of whole foods, including veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and ancient grains. It can certainly help you to track your symptoms after eating certain foods known to cause bloating, but remember that a bloated stomach is caused by your entire lifestyle, not just the food on your plate.
Some of the best foods for helping to battle stomach bloating include:
Now that you know what you should eat, lets look at some of the foods that might make your bloating even worse. More often than not, some of these foods might be the culprit:
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Replace Sodas With Water
Fizzy, carbonated drinks contain gas that can build up in the stomach. The carbon dioxide that makes soda and similar beverages fizzy can also cause bubbling and bloating in the stomach.
Sugars or artificial sweeteners in the diet can also cause gas and bloating. Drinking water eliminates these issues and helps to treat constipation as well.
Youre Eating Foods That Cause Gas
Certain healthy foods, like beans and cruciferous vegetables, contain complex sugars that the body cannot digest.
When those sugars reach the large intestines, the bacteria inside work to break them down and cause fermentation, gas and bloating, says Rizzo.
Some people are better able to tolerate these foods than others. If you notice that beans, legumes or some veggies, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, onions or garlic, are triggers for you, then stay away.
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Why Do I Feel Bloated When I Have Ibs
The bloating of IBS does not seem to be linked with excess wind. Its thought to be down to erratic propulsion of contents through the bowel. Find out more about IBS. If your bloating symptoms persist, consult your GP to rule out a more serious condition. Bloating and a persistent feeling of fullness are key symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Get More Active Every Day
Exercise helps your body move stool and gas out of the colon and may make bowel movements more regular. Exercise also releases extra sodium from the body through sweating, which can help to relieve water retention.
It is vital to drink plenty of water before and after exercising to stay hydrated, as dehydration can make constipation worse.
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Youre Not Getting Enough Exercise
Exercise can do wonders for your GI tract. Essentially, it gets things moving and decreases your risk for constipation and, therefore, bloating. Adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week, along with strength-building exercises. Just by exercise and adhering to a plant-forward diet, like the Mediterranean diet, its beneficial for a lot of things and can help with bloating, as well, Dr. Christmas says.
What Causes Bloating In The Stomach
Gas is a natural byproduct of digestion, but too much intestinal gas means your digestion is gone awry. While you can ingest gasses by swallowing air or drinking carbonated beverages, these gasses mostly escape through belching before they reach your intestines. Gasses in your intestines are mostly produced by gut bacteria digesting carbohydrates .
If theres too much fermentation going on, its because too many carbohydrates werent naturally absorbed earlier in the digestive process, before reaching those gut bacteria. That could be for several reasons. Maybe you just ate too much too fast for proper digestion, or you might have a specific food intolerance or gastrointestinal disease. Some possible causes include:
These can include solids, liquids, and gas. Digestive contents can build up in your digestive system when there is a backup or restriction in your digestive tract or when the muscles that move digestive contents along are somehow impaired. Any build-up of digestive contents along the digestive tract will leave less room for normal amounts of gas to process through. It also leaves less room for other things in your abdomen, including circulatory fluids and fat, making everything feel tighter. Causes of build-up can include:
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