Health A to Z

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Bloating

Bloating happens when the stomach feels full, tight, and uncomfortable, most probably due to gas. People may confuse bloating with a noticeable belly, abdominal wall looseness, or laxity. Bloating is common among older women and those who just had a pregnancy. However, there are multiple other reasons for bloating and measures to ease it over time.

 

Symptoms of bloating

  • Stomach feels larger than usual
  • Constant stomach pain
  • Rumbling noises from the stomach
  • Releasing gas more than normal
  • Digestive issue

Reasons for bloating

One of the most common reasons for bloating is gas in the gut. Specific food, drinks, or swallowing air while eating can also be a reason behind bloating. Some digestive problems can cause bloating; they are:

  • Food intolerance
  • Coeliac disease
  • Constipation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome 

Some women might feel bloated during their menstrual cycle. But on rare occasions, bloating can also signify ovarian cancer.

Reasons for bloating

How to lower bloating?

  • Regular exercise
  • Chewing with mouth closed
  • Be hydrated, drink water
  • Consuming food with high fiber
  • More frequent meals in smaller quantity
  • Massage stomach from right to left to remove trapped air

 

What not to do during bloating?

  • Avoid fizzy drinks, caffeine, or alcohol
  • Avoid food that known for gas
  • Avoid large portions of meals before bed
  • Avoid processed, fatty, spicy foods

 

Consult a doctor for bloating?

Consult a doctor if you come across any of the following:

  • Stomach bloated for three weeks or more
  • Constantly bloated stomach
  • Often changing diet but still, feel bloated
  • Bloating along with diarrhea, abrupt weight loss, blood in stool, or constipation
  • When bloating stops you from regular activities

 

Call for an emergency when you feel bloated along with:

  • Sudden severe stomach pain
  • Blood vomiting or ground coffee color vomiting
  • When the stool is black
  • Unable to pee or release gas
  • Uncomfortable to breath
  • Severe chest pain
  • Stomach pains while touching

 

Treatment of bloating

Often bloating doesn’t require any treatment, but if you need one, your doctor might prescribe a dietitian for healthy diet tips or refer specific tests to figure out why the bloating is happening.

Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022