Does your belly get swollen after eating food? Do you feel the urge of defecation sometime after eating food? Or do you get a "stuffed" feeling after eating?
If your answer is "yes" then probably you are suffering from bloating issues. Bloating can be because of some underlying causes.
Bloating is a feeling of abdominal distension and can appear at any age. The person feels a full and tight abdomen. Rarely, bloating may be painful or cause shortness of breath. In case of acute bloating with severe pain immediate medical attention to be taken into consideration.
"Bloating" is not the same as water retention, but the two terms are often used interchangeably. Put simply, bloating involves excessive amounts of solids, liquids or gas in your digestive system.
Bloating may be accompanied by burping (belching), gas (flatulence, farting), abdominal discomfort, and a feeling of fullness. People sometimes refer abdominal bloating as a "bloated stomach" or "bloated belly."
The management is to find a treatment for the underlying causes that produce it through a detailed medical history and a physical examination. The discomfort can be alleviated by the use of certain drugs and dietary modifications.
CAUSES OF BLOATING
Although bloating is sometimes caused by serious medical conditions, it is most often caused by the diet and some foods or ingredients you are intolerant to.
Causes of bloating include -
Food sensitivity like lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, food allergy.
Other causes include - premenstrual syndrome, over eating, aerophagia (air swallowing), anxiety, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, excess abdominal fat, massive infestation with intestinal parasites, diverticulosis, constipation, polycyctic ovarian disorder, etc.
Irregular intake of fiber and water will cause a person to experience bloating, apart from consumption of gas-producing foods.
Women do suffer from bloating during their menstrual cycle.
About 16–30% of people report that they regularly experience bloating, so this is very common ( https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03549.x )
There are several proven remedies that help to relief bloating :
1. Consider a Low-FODMAP (Fermented Carbs) diet
FODMAPs are a type of carbohydrate that occurs in many different foods. A 2012 review article of multiple studies concluded that a low-FODMAP diet might improve symptoms in at least 74 percent of people with IBS. Typical symptoms include bloating, flatulence, and abdominal pain.
Here are some common high-FODMAP foods:
2. Avoid Swallowing Air and Gases
There are two sources of gas in the digestive system.
a. One is gas produced by the bacteria in the gut.
b. The other is air or gas that is swallowed when you eat or drink - Chewing gum, drinking through a straw and eating while talking or while in a hurry can also lead to increased amounts of swallowed air.
The main issue is with carbonated beverages like soda or fizzy drinks.
They contain bubbles with carbon dioxide, a gas that can be released from the liquid after it reaches your stomach.
3. Try Probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that live in the intestines. Taking a probiotic supplement or home made probiotics like yoghurt may help to regulate the colon bacteria that can produce gas and cause bloating.
4. Avoid Foods That Give You Gas
Consuming high-fiber foods can make people produce large amounts of gas and will give you feel of that "balloon - belly".
Major contributors include legumes like beans and lentils, as well as some whole grains.
Fibres should be increased in diet gradually.
Fatty foods can also slow down digestion and the emptying of the stomach. This can can be a problem for people with a tendency to bloat.
Consumption of garlic and onion also creates balloon belly. Even in small quantities, onions and garlic can cause bloating and other digestive issues. Some people may have an allergy to garlic or onions, which further increases the likelihood of bloating, belching, and gas after consuming them.
Onions contain fructans, which are soluble fibers that may cause bloating.
Fructans also occur in garlic, leek, agave, wheat, and a range of other gas-producing foods.
5. Maintain a Diet Diary
Try keeping a food diary to figure out if certain foods tend to make you more gassy or bloated than others.
6. Avoid Foods with Food Sensitivity Reactions or Intolerances
Eating foods that you are intolerant to, can cause excess gas production, bloating and other symptoms.
Here are some common foods and ingredients to consider:
Lactose: Lactose intolerance is associated with many digestive symptoms, including bloating. Lactose is the main carbohydrate in milk .
Fructose: Fructose intolerance can lead to bloating.
Eggs: Gas and bloating are common symptoms of egg allergy.
Wheat and gluten: Many people are intolerant to gluten, a protein in wheat, spelt, barley and some other grains. This can lead to various adverse effects on digestion, including bloating
7. Yoga and Meditation
Yogasana like Pawanmuktasana, Bhujangasana, helps in releasing gas and relieve from bloating.
Anxiety plays a major role on the onset of IBS, and bloating is one of the major effect of IBS, hence meditation is required as it helps in easing out bloating issues.
8. Eat less Sugar, Starch, Sweeteners
Sugar and Starch leads to fermentation and thus bloating is caused. Avoid sugary foods and starch to certain extent to get relief from bloating.
Non-nutritive sweeteners, or artificial sweeteners, replace sugar in sweet beverages, foods, and chewing gum.
They include sorbitol and xylitol, among others. These sweeteners have no nutritional benefit and moreover, non-nutritive sweeteners may cause digestive problems, including gas and bloating.
9. Cut Down on Salt
An excess of sodium causes the body to retain water. This can cause a swollen and bloated feeling in the belly and other areas of the body, such as the hands and feet.
10. Take Digestive Enzyme Supplements
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) medications that can be used to treat bloating. Such as supplemental enzymes that can help break down indigestible carbohydrates.
Important ones are -
Lactase: An enzyme that breaks down lactose, which is useful for people with lactose intolerance.
Beano: Contains the enzyme alpha-galactosidase, which can help break down indigestible carbohydrates from various foods.
In many cases, these types of supplements can provide almost immediate relief.
11. Lifestyle modification
Regular exercise, adequate sleep and regular meals without giving long gaps in meals has been proven beneficial in combating abdominal bloating.