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Abdominal Bloating Part 1 – Causes

Written by Courteney

Posted on May 23, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Abdominal bloating (swelling of the gastrointestinal tract due to gas) is an unpleasant sensation that most of us have experienced from time to time. It can have many causes ranging from being too full, to serious underlying medical conditions. What causes bloating and how can in be avoided? Well let’s take a look.

Some Of The More Common Causes Of Bloating

  1. Overeating – if supper is especially delicious, we often eat beyond necessary portions, but this can lead to mega discomfort so it’s best to listen to your body and stop eating when you are satiated.
  2. Pinned gas – can be very painful, causing many people trips to the ER to make sure there isn’t something terribly wrong, but once it works its way out of the system, often bloating will dissipate as well.
  3. Eating the wrong types of foods (see list in subsection 4).
  4. Eating meals too fast – sometimes when we gobble down our meals too quickly air gets trapped in with each bite of hastily swallowed food, causing bloating and discomfort.
  5. Stress or anxiety – the mind and stomach are interconnected, so if you are particularly stressed you may notice more stomach discomfort as well.
  6. Medications – some medications can cause bloating, especially if they are interacting with other medications or supplements.
  7. Smoking – along the same lines as eating too quickly, smoking often causes a person to swallow more air than normal which leads to bloating.

A Few Health Conditions That Can Cause Bloating

  1. An intestinal infection or blockage – someone may not realize they have a stomach infection as symptoms can be mild at first, but if bloating persists and is accompanied by fever, constipation or other uncomfortable symptoms, seek medical treatment.
  2. Stomach diseases and conditions – there are many diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that can cause chronic bloating such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, colitis or celiac, among many others.
  3. Angioedema – idiopathic or hereditary angioedema can cause distention of the stomach, and in rare cases this could lead to a potentially life-threatening situation where the stomach swells so much it cuts off its own circulation. In extreme cases like this, an EpiPen auto injector or steroid IV would have to be administered.
  4. Food allergies – some food allergies such as egg can cause intestinal discomfort instead of hives. If your bloating seems triggered by certain foods, you should look into allergy testing.
  5. GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease causes chronic heartburn and bloating, if you get both these symptoms frequently and suspect you may have GERD, visit your doctor for treatment options.
  6. Malabsorption – some people can’t metabolize vitamins and minerals properly which leads to deficiencies. These can cause unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms as well as others.
  7. Gall stones – often causes intense pain, but can also cause upper-intestinal issues like bloating.
  8. Hernia – depending on their placement in the body, hernias can cause stomach distention as well.

Foods That May Cause Bloating

Not that you have to avoid all bloat-friendly foods forever, but if you are having a particularly bad bout of the bloat, you may want to lessen or steer clear of the following for a little while:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Some veggies such as cauliflower and cabbage
  • Heavy whole grain foods
  • Greasy foods
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Alcohol (particularly beer)
  • Dairy products
  • Sugar alternatives like malitol or xylitol
  • Salty foods
  • Some fruit such as apples

If you have any questions about bloating or experience some of the more serious symptoms listed above feel free to sign up to DocChat today and start a video conference with one of our board certified, highly qualified DocChat physicians. Keep an eye out for Bloating Part 2 tomorrow to look at some lifestyle changes and treatment options for bloating. Thanks for visiting!




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