We’ve all experienced bloating. That uncomfortable feeling of fullness when we’ve over-indulged in our favorite fried, fatty food or eaten too many gas producing vegetables. Most often, bloating is caused by those very reasons, over-indulgence in a food, and the feeling of being ‘too big for our britches’ will soon pass. Women have another reason for normal bloating, a monthly menstrual cycle also causes us to be ‘too big for our britches’ for a couple of days. That too shall pass.
It’s when bloating does not pass that makes it an indicator of something more serious. When bloating occurs frequently and/or does not pass after a couple of weeks, it’s time to examine deeper health issues rather than just attribute the bloating to diet or menstrual cycle.
If you experience frequent or long lasting bouts of bloating, first determine if it’s serious by thinking about what you are eating. If your diet consists mainly of fried, fatty foods, cut back on those notorious bloat-producing foods and see if that does not lessen the frequency or severity of your bloating. A diet containing an abundance of gas producing foods like beans, broccoli and cabbage may be to blame for the bloating. A high fiber diet can also produce bloating. Changing some of the foods you eat can eliminate bloating, or taking a gas dissipating aid like Beano or GasX can help.
How you eat can cause bloating. Talking while you eat, drinking through a straw, gulping down food or beverages and chewing gum causes you to gulp air, which will cause bloating.
If the foods you eat or the way you eat are not to blame for bloating, consider your digestive system next. A sluggish digestive system which produces infrequent bowel movements will cause bloating. Increasing your fiber intake will help things move along at a faster pace through your digestive system and decrease bouts of bloating.
When the obvious innocuous causes have been eliminated for bloating and no relief has been found, it’s time to look at more serious bloating causes.
If bloating is accompanied by other symptoms like stomach pain or change in bathroom habits, it could indicate Irritable Bowel Syndrome, lactose intolerance, Celiac disease, an over growth of intestinal bacteria or even the presence of parasites.
Bloating accompanied by pelvic pain, an urgent need to urinate and feeling overly full after only eating a few bites of food can indicate ovarian cancer.
If you experience frequent or long lasting bloating, trace it to it’s source by keeping a food journal. Determine if there’s a common food eaten prior to bloating. If pain is present along with the bloating, see your doctor, as it could be an indicator of a serious health issue.