What is Bloated Stomach?
Bloated stomach is a sensation of discomfort and fullness in the upper part of the abdomen. Bloated stomach usually causes pain, discomfort, cramping, and distention. The severity of pain caused by bloating varies; it can be very severe that interfere with the normal life of the patient. Many causes may lead to bloating in the stomach mainly low physical activity and unhealthy diet. Add to that, bloating can be caused by some medications.
What Causes of Bloated Stomach?
There are many causes for bloating of the stomach. Following are some of them:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): This disease is caused by the back flow of the acids from the stomach up to the esophagus. The underlying mechanism is an abnormality in the lower esophageal muscle. Progressive irritation of acids on the esophagus leads to heartburn and bloated stomach, in addition to nausea and many other symptoms.
- Lactose Intolerance: As the name indicates, some people cannot tolerate eating or drinking dairy products. This is because of a specific enzyme deficiency that functions to digest these products. Lactose intolerance causes bloating, and diarrhea.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: This syndrome is one of the major causes of stomach pain, bloating, and other digestive symptoms. The exact cause of this syndrome is unknown but recent studies indicate that stressful lifestyle may be the most important trigger.
- Eating too much Sodium: Excessive consumption of salt leads to accumulation of fluids in the stomach thus causing bloating.
- Ovarian Cancer: Ovarian cancer is one of the common cancers among women. Chronic sensation of bloated stomach may be an early symptom of this serious condition.
Many other rare causes may lead to bloating but those five are the most common causes of bloated stomach.
Symptoms, and Signs of the Bloated Stomach
The major symptom of bloated stomach is a fullness sensation in the abdomen. Occasionally, bloated stomach is painful. If bloated stomach causes pain, this pain will be sharp and crampy.
Bloated stomach is usually associated with excessive passage of flatus and hiccup. It can be associated with heartburn or sensation of sour taste in the mouth. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also be symptoms of bloated stomach.
If the cause of bloating is malignant; for example, ovarian cancer, the patient will have history of constitutional symptoms; such as, unintentional weight loss, loss of appetite, and persistent sensation of tiredness.
Treatment of Bloated Stomach
Treatment of bloated stomach is totally dependable on the underlying cause of this bloating:
- Bloated stomach due to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease must be treated with avoiding any triggering foods
- Using antacids may somehow relieve the pain due to bloating
- Bloated stomach due to lactose intolerance should be treated with removing dairy products from the diet
- Bloated stomach due to inflammatory bowel syndrome may be treated with some natural medications to get off bloating
- Many natural medications such as Tropicana Essentials Probiotics help to relieve bloating; such as soluble fiber supplements, enteric-coated peppermints, and probiotics
- Bloated stomach due to too much consumption of salt is treated easily with limitation of sodium intake or even sodium free diet
- Chronic bloated stomach that persist for months and do not response to treatment may be due to malignancy; mainly ovarian cancer. You have to seek medical consultation as soon as possible
What the American Gastroenterological Association is saying about Bloated Stomach?
According to the American gastroenterological association, you have to consult your doctor about your bloated stomach in the following situations:
- Persistent bloating despite adopting healthy diet
- Blood in stools
- Dark urine
- Abdominal pain
- Dark or tarry stools
- Worsening symptoms of heartburn
- Unexplained weight loss
Prevention and Prognosis of Bloated Stomach
It is much better to prevent the occurrence of bloating rather than treating it. Preventing bloating is very simple; following are the most useful strategies to prevent bloated stomach:
- Do not eat when you are not hungry
- Do not eat many meals in limited time; wait three hours after each meal before even snacking. This will give your digestive system enough time to digest the food of the first meal.
- Do not rush while eating. Eat slowly and chew the food well.
- Do not talk while you are eating
- Avoid eating weird food combinations
- Chew a slice of lemon twenty minutes before eating
- Add black pepper to your diet; it helps in digestion
- Avoid eating fruits after meals as it will produce more gases in the stomach
- Do not drink cold liquids with food
- Reduce your salt consumption as much as possible
- Do not drink anything within half an hour after eating.
- Avoid stress and try to practice yoga to relax