Bloated stomach or abdominal bloating can be due to a number of factors.
This includes fluid retention, irritable bowel syndrome. and infections.
However, it can be harmless for most individuals and can be effectively treated at home.
A bloated stomach can be particularly harmful if it causes pain and discomfort.
Some individuals may experience their belly looking swollen or misshapen or may experience sharp pain.
While in many cases, the causes of a bloated stomach can be as simple as indigestion or too much gas building up in the stomach and bowels.
It is important to note that bloating due to eating food, the one that does not et worse or goes within a day or so is rarely a cause of concern.
Let us look in detail at the causes, medical treatments, and home remedies for a bloated stomach.
Causes of Bloated Stomach
There are different causes of a bloated stomach and it is not unusual.
Many individuals experience the same type of bloating over and over again.
It is important to note, that bloating that follows the same predictable pattern is nothing to worry about.
However, if the pattern changes or bloating becomes worse than normal, it may be because of the following conditions:
1# Gas and Indigestion
One of the most common causes of a bloated stomach is gas and indigestion.
A buildup of gas in your stomach can show symptoms like excessive belching, flatulence, feeling an intense urge to have a bowel movement or feeling of nausea.
Bloating due to gas can range from mild discomfort to intense pain.
Some individuals may also describe it as something is trapped inside their stomachs.
Gas can be due to certain food items like cruciferous vegetables, a stomach infection, and indigestion.
Moreover, chronic illnesses like Crohn’s disease and a wide range of other conditions can also cause it.
Indigestion or dyspepsia is discomfort or pain in the stomach.
You can experience brief episodes of indigestion from time to time.
It is often due to:
- eating in excess,
- consuming too much alcohol,
- medications that can irritate your stomach,
- a minor stomach infection.
However, it is important to note that frequent indigestion can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Possible causes can be a stomach ulcer, cancer, or liver failure.
2# Constipation and Infection
Constipation can often lead to bloating.
Causes of constipation are dehydration, food intolerance, bowel disorder, or using certain medications.
Moreover, it can be due to not eating enough fiber, pregnancy, and nutrient deficiencies.
However, episodes of constipation are often short-lived.
Stomach infections can cause gas, along which you may also experience diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain.
This infection is often due to bacteria, Escherichia coli, or Helicobacter pylori, or viral infections like norovirus or rotavirus.
However, stomach infections usually go after some time.
If you become severely dehydrated, or it worsens overtimes, you might need to seek medical advice.
The infection for a longer period of time may come along with fever, bloody stool, and frequent vomiting.
3# Fluid Retention and Food Intolerances
When you consume salty foods, have food intolerances, and experience changes in hormone levels, then it can cause your body to retain more fluids than normal.
Some omen may experience bloating immediately before getting their periods or early in pregnancy.
Chronic bleeding due to fluid retention can have more serious causes like diabetes or kidney failure.
If the bloating does not go away, then you should speak to your doctor.
A bloated stomach can be due to certain foods as well.
For instance, if you are lactose intolerant, or have a gluten allergy, or have celiac disease, then you can have abdominal bloating.
If you have it due to food intolerances, then it will go away on its own, however, may be linked to diarrhea or stomach pain.
4# Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, SIBO
Your stomach and intestines have different types of bacteria.
Many of these bacterias help to digest food. However, if there is a disturbance in the balance of bacteria, then it can lead to an increase in harmful bacteria.
This is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO.
SIBO can cause bloating, frequent diarrhea, and may also lead to indigestion and difficulty in absorbing nutrients.
For some, it can even lead to osteoporosis or unintentional weight loss.
5# Chronic Disorders and Gastroparesis
Chronic disorders of your gut like irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, and Crohn’s disease can cause floating.
Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation in your digestive tract, whereas IBS is often diagnosed with chronic gut symptoms with no obvious causes.
Both IBS and Crohn’s can cause gas, diarrhea, vomiting, and unintentional weight loss.
While gastroparesis is a disorder that affects your normal stomach emptying.
When your stomach muscles stop working properly, then it can cause food to pass much slowly through the stomach and intestines.
Symptoms are bloating, constipation, loss of appetite, and heartburn.
You may also have nausea and vomiting, pain, discomfort, and feeling of an empty stomach.
Other conditions like diabetes or hypothyroidism can also cause gastroparesis.
Learn more about thyroid here.
6# Other Causes
Some gynecological problems can cause stomach pain.
Endometriosis can cause cramping and a bloated stomach in some women.
This happens when their womb attaches itself to the stomach or intestines.
Abdominal bloating is rarely due to serious medical conditions.
If you have gallstones or gallbladder disease, you may experience intense pain in the abdomen that is the same as bloating.
Cancer of the stomach or intestines can also lead to discomfort and bloating.
Ascites are another medical condition that can cause pain and a bloated stomach.
It is a buildup of fluids in the abdominal cavity over a period of time and is due to liver diseases.
Treatment to Prevent and Relieve Bloating
Treatment options to prevent and treat a bloated stomach is:
- lifestyle changes
Let’s discuss them as follows:
With few lifestyle changes, you can treat and even prevent abdominal bloating.
This includes losing weight if you are overweight.
Moreover, to reduce the swallowing of air, you can avoid chewing gum.
Chewing gums can cause you to swallow extra air and can lead to bloating.
Reduce the intake of carbonated drinks, avoid foods that cause alcohol like cabbage, dried beans, and lentils.
Moreover, eat slowly when eating food, and use lactose-free dairy products.
Using probiotics can also help the bacteria in your intestines.
If lifestyle changes are unable to relieve a bloated stomach, then you should talk to your doctor.
They may recommend medical treatment if there is an underlying medical condition causing bloating.
Treatment may require antibiotics, antidepressants, and antispasmodics.
However, the treatment may also depend on the underlying medical condition.
Home Remedies for a Bloated Stomach
A bloated stomach is when you feel your belly be swollen after eating.
It is often due to excess gas or disturbances in the movement of muscles of your digestive system.
Most of the time, people confuse bloating with water retention.
However, both are different, and bloating involves excessive amounts of solids, liquids, or gas in the digestive tract.
About 16 to 40% of the people report that they experience bloating regularly, making it common according to Healthline media.
Although it is due to medical conditions in some cases, it is often due to diet and foods you are intolerant to.
The following are some home remedies you can try to eliminate a bloated stomach.
Do Not Eat Too Much
Stuffing too much food feels like bloating, however, the problem is that you ate too much or are feeling full than usual.
When you eat big meals and feel uncomfortable, then try eating in smaller portions.
You can add another meal if necessary.
However, some people who experience bloating do not have a large stomach or pressure in the abdomen, rather it is just a feeling.
You may feel discomfort from a small amount of food if you have a tendency of a bloated stomach.
Chewing food can have a two-fold effect.
It reduces the amount of air your swallow and makes you eat slower.
Rule out Food Allergies and Intolerances
Food allergies and intolerances can be common in many people.
When you eat food that you are intolerant to can cause excess gas, bloating, and other symptoms.
The following are some common foods and ingredients you can consider:
Fructose: It can lead to bloating
Eggs: If you have an egg allergy, you may have a bloated stomach and gas
Lactose: Lactose intolerance can cause different digestive symptoms like bloating.
Wheat and Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and other grains.
It can lead to adverse effects on digestion even bloating.
Both lactose and fructose are a part of food groups, FODMAPs.
It is one of the most common causes of a bloated stomach and abdominal pain.
Avoid Food that gives you Gas
Certain high-fiber foods can make you produce large amounts of gas.
May food items like legumes, beans, and lentils can cause bloating.
To figure out the cause, you can keep a food diary to make you identify foods that cause gas or bloating.
Foods high in fats can slow down your digestion and emptying of the stomach.
Moreover, avoid swallowing air and gas.
One of the causes of gas in your digestive tract is soda or fizzy drinks.
They contain carbon dioxide, which is present in the liquid after it reaches your stomach.
When to Visit a Doctor?
A bloated stomach is rarely a sign of a more serious condition.
You should visit your doctor if you observe the following signs and symptoms:
- a fever
- intense pain
- blood stools
- a physical injury
- vomiting that lasts longer than 2 hours
- rapid swelling of the abdomen
- liver or kidney failure
A bloated stomach can often be discomforting and painful.
You can effectively treat it at home and is often due to gas, constipation, diarrhea, or other minor causes.
However, you should consult your doctor if there are symptoms that worsen with time or do not go away after a day or so.