What is Stomach Bloating?
For many, stomach bloating is something that you have to deal with on a daily basis. For others, the feeling of being bloated is not something you ever have to experience. So what is stomach bloating? Put simply, stomach bloating is the feeling of built up gas in the stomach that causes the stomach to protrude or push out. This can make you feel overly full, can cause pain, and can give you an achy feel that is simply not pleasant to deal with.
There is a wide range of things that can cause stomach bloat but many think that it is the digestive process that causes bloat. Generally, stomach bloat does not occur on its own. In most instances, stomach bloat is accompanied by things like stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, and other digestive issues that make for a very uncomfortable and unpleasant time. There are some over the counter remedies that can help with bloating but in most cases, a change of diet or even medication from the doctor is needed to get rid of uncomfortable stomach bloat for good. Anyone can experience stomach bloat and odds are everyone will experience it at least once or twice in their lives.
Most Common Stomach Bloating Symptoms
Stomach bloating is something that we cannot avoid. That being said, it is helpful to know what some symptoms of bloating are so that you can rule out a more serious issue. If you do have very painful bloating that lasts for a prolonged amount of time it is suggested that you visit your doctor to rule out a more serious condition.
1. Tightness in the abdomen
The most obvious symptom to look for is tightness in the abdomen. You may feel like you have to use the bathroom but you cannot, your stomach may feel overly full even if you have not eaten much, and you will be uncomfortable. Stomach bloating occurs when the gasses from digestion build up in the body and cause the bloating. Most people experience bloating when they eat overly salty foods or when they eat too much.
2. Abdominal pain or pressure
Along with the feeling of being overly full, you are likely going to feel pain either a consistent pain or a pain when you touch your abdomen. This pain might go away with time but generally, the pain is going to be fairly constant and is a result of the added pressure in your abdomen. The pain may feel like the pain you feel when you need to evacuate your bowels or could feel like a nagging pain or soreness.
3. Distended Stomach
If bloating is very serious you may see that your stomach is distended or pushed out. This is particularly noticeable in people that are very thin. As gasses build up in the stomach you may feel that there is a tightness that pushes your stomach out and makes you look almost pregnant. If your bloating has gotten this bad, you may want to see your doctor about what the cause could be.
Another symptom of bloating is gassiness. This can be constant or can be episodic but odds are this is your body’s natural way to alleviate and evacuate some of the built up gas. You should allow the gas to escape as things like flatulence and burping do make your bloating lessen and do tend to make you feel more comfortable. This is a way to help with bloating but may make your friends and family a bit squeamish.
5. Heartburn or indigestion
Another symptom that generally goes along with bloating is heartburn or indigestion. If you are feeling indigestion you are likely experiencing bloating from overeating or eating things that are linked to bloating. Indigestion is the result of stomach acid coming back up into the throat by way of the pyloric sphincter muscle that is located at the base of the esophagus. This muscle is meant to help keep stomach acids in the stomach but in some cases, it does open up allowing the acids to enter the throat. This is very common in pregnant women as the hormones in their body help relax this muscle.
Another symptom you might be experiencing is nausea. This is going to be constant for many and might be enough to deter you from eating anymore until the bloating is gone entirely. Again, bloating is going to affect many aspects of your digestive system and the feeling of nausea is likely to hang around until the bloating is gone. Bloating does force more gas into the stomach which can churn up stomach contents and make you feel like you are going to vomit. If you do feel that you are going to vomit, odds are letting it go is going to be the best bet.
Some people experience constipation with their bloating. This is again more likely if you are experiencing bloating as a result of something that you have eaten. Constipation may also be the reason that you are bloated as it can cause gasses to back up if waste cannot move out of your system and cannot leave your body. Constipation can also be the result of not getting enough water which can again lead to bloating.
Another symptom you may feel is diarrhea. Like constipation, diarrhea is likely caused by something that you have eaten. If you are experiencing severe diarrhea you are going to want to drink plenty of fluids to help replace what is being lost and you are also going to want to make sure you pay attention to how much you are going and if there is something that might be causing diarrhea that is more intense than just a stomach upset.
9. Body Aches
Bloating can also cause body aches. Not only your stomach but also in other areas of your body. Bloating can cause all over body pain and fatigue and may end up making you feel like you have been working overtime. If you are experiencing body ache, you might have other issues that go above and beyond bloating. If you are experiencing bloating and body aches, you might have a stomach virus that can be treated with medication from your doctor. It is always a good idea to consult with your doctor if you do experience multiple symptoms of if your bloating is accompanied by a fever or other severe issues.
The last symptom that you might be feeling with your bloating is fatigue. Being bloated is all around miserable and some might experience fatigue with their bloating. Your body is working overtime when it is bloated to take care of some issue that has popped up. If you are bloated, odds are you are going to be lethargic and not feel like doing anything. If you do experience these feelings, you want to take it easy and see if they let up. If they do not, you want to go to your doctor immediately.
These are just a few symptoms that you may experience. You can have multiple symptoms that may be a more serious issue or that may be nothing more than a case of the belly bloats.
9 Ways to Reduce a Bloated Stomach
There are tons of ways that you can fight the belly bloat that can help make you feel better all around. These nine fixes are quick and may be more appealing than sitting around waiting for your bloat to go away on its own.
1. Avoid getting constipated
If you are bloated you may need to move your bowels. You can try eating things with fiber to help move your bowels but if you are bloated, odds are you are not going to want to eat. Try drinking water and getting up and walking around. Walking can help move waste down the digestive tract toward the exit so to speak which can make you feel better and can help you go to the bathroom. One of the biggest contributors to bloat is constipation. Going to the bathroom can help reduce existing bloat and making sure you do not get constipated can help prevent future bloat.
2. Eat Slowly
Another way to fight bloat is to eat slower. Some people that are experiencing bloat may be feeling the pain because they are eating too quickly or eating too much. If you start to feel bloated stop eating or eat slower. Eating slower gives your brain more time to let you know that your stomach is full and that you can stop eating. If you feel bloating on a regular basis you are likely eating too fast or eating too much. Eating less and eating slower may also help you lose or maintain weight and can help your stomach feel better every day not just when you are feeling bloated.
3. Stop Drinking Carbonated Beverages
Carbonation can cause a great deal of gas and a great deal of stomach bloating. If you feel that you are getting bloated or that you are feeling bloated more than one day a week you may want to dial it back on the soft drinks. Try swapping it for water. If you are feeling bloated you may want to drink a warm soda to help force gas out and to encourage you to burp and release some of your gas. For those that are feeling bloated regularly, try swapping out your soda for water or for non-carbonated beverages so that you can reduce the amount of gas that you are introducing into your system.
4. Ginger Tea
For those that are experiencing bloat, ginger tea might be a good option. Ginger has long been a remedy for stomach troubles and ginger tea might be just what the doctor ordered. Ginger tea can help to neutralize the gas and the stomach acid that is causing the bloating in the first place. Ginger tea is also a great way to help calm down and relax after a long day. If you are feeling bloated, try relaxing with a cup of ginger tea or peppermint tea as both have been proven to help calm the stomach and might be enough to help reduce the bloating that you are feeling.
5. Let it Go
If you are feeling the bloat and you feel like you need to let gas out of either end, it may be best to just let it go. If you need to break wind or burp and you are feeling uncomfortable gas and bloating, you may just need to go to the bathroom and let them go. This is going to be one of the fastest ways to relieve gas and to help reduce the gas that is in your stomach. Though it might make some people blush, this is often the fastest way to get rid of the pain and discomfort that you feel when you are severely bloated.
For those that are experiencing bloating, a medieval remedy is to chew on caraway seeds. Caraway is high in fiber and are also where castor oil comes from, and castor oil is a known digestive agent. Caraway seeds might help you to get that waste out and to take that much-needed bathroom break that can make you feel a ton better. Caraway crackers are a tasty way to get your caraway and to get your bloat out of the way as well. Caraway seeds can help you to get rid of bloating and can also help keep you regular in the long run and the short run as well. Try adding some to crackers, oatmeal, and more for that added bit of fiber and to help move the waste out of your body.
7. Chamomile Tea
This is a great way to get rid of excess gas and to rest and relax as well. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce stomach bloat. It can also help to reduce gas and overall ill feeling stomach. As mentioned before, peppermint is also a great remedy and a great way to reduce gas and to calm a stomach in pain. If you do not like tea, try drinking some warm lemon water to help break up the gas and to get rid of uncomfortable bloating.
Pumpkin can help your body to digest the foods that you are already eating. Though you are supposed to eat things that are high in fiber to help with digestion, high fiber foods have a tendency to build up or pass through your body in bulk which means that you can get constipated and can end up feeling the pain later. Pumpkin has a natural digestive property that can help you to pas fiber through quickly. If you are feeling bloated, a bit of pumpkin puree might help to move that waste out and make you feel a ton better.
9. Activated Charcoal
Though there is no scientific evidence to point to just what makes activated charcoal help with gas, many people have found relief using it. You can take tablets, which is the easiest way to get your daily dose, to help with gas. Activated charcoal has the ability to absorb extra gas and help with bloating and might be just what you need to start feeling better.
10 Foods and Drinks You Should Avoid When Suffering From Bloating
These are notorious for causing extra bloat and for making you hold onto gas. Drinking one or more carbonated beverages a day can cause major, prolonged, and serious blot that is not only uncomfortable, but that can cause lasting damage.
We all love pizza without a doubt but it can surely cause bloating. Not only does it have carbs, which can cause bloating, it also has cheese and salt which are both linked to bloating and to stomach problems. If you have to have pizza, try less cheese and a thinner crust to help stave off bloating, that and try to eat less.
Sure these are easy and fast and can be great for adding to any recipe, they can also be very bad for your digestion and for bloating. They have a ton of salt and salt has been linked to bloating and to stomach issues.
These are a great snack no doubt but if you are not drinking a ton of water with them, the fiber in the fruit can back you up causing bloating. They are filled with soluble fiber so they are great for appetite control but they can cause bloating if you do not drink enough water to help them pass through your system. These are tasty but you do want to make sure you chew fully and drink water to move them.
A drink every now and again is not going to make a huge difference but if you are drinking on a regular basis you may have an issue. Alcohol slows the emptying of your stomach and is also full of sugar which can cause bloating. Alcohol in moderation is not going to cause a huge issue for those that are looking to avoid bloat.
This is a food that we all love but that our bodies have a hard time digesting. In most cases, corn kernels pass undigested which means that they can cause unwanted gas in the digestive system and the stomach as well. Corn is great but you should try to chew it fully and to make sure you are eating other foods to help move it through your system.
These are veggies like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. Though they are all great for your body, they are full of fiber and vitamin C. They also however have raffinose and fructan that can cause flatulence and excess gas. These veggies are great if you are drinking enough water to help move them through your system and to help keep them flushed out and easy to digest.
Onion is delicious without a doubt but it is difficult for our bodies to digest. As a result, our bodies make excess gas trying to digest them which can lead to bloating, gas, and other uncomfortable feelings. Onions are very difficult for the body to digest and eating too many can cause bloating and gas as well as acid reflux.
These are certainly a great way to lose weight and can help you keep your energy up all day and when you exercise but they may also cause bloat. They are full of protein which is great, but they are also full of carbs and fiber which can cause stomach issues. If you do eat a great number of fiber and protein bars, you want to make sure you are drinking plenty of water to help them pass through the body.
Many people suffer from a dairy allergy or a dairy sensitivity without even knowing it. Lactose is a protein that is found in dairy that many people simply cannot stomach. For those that have a lactose intolerance or a lactose allergy you may experience things like gas and bloating when eating dairy. The reason is that lactose is not absorbed in the gut of those that are intolerant which means you are going to have issue.