Find yourself reaching for stretchy pants these days? Feeling uncomfortable after you eat — or just about any time? If so, your discomfort may be a result of being bloated. There are many factors that may contribute to the pain and discomfort.
Common Causes of Bloating?
Some of the most common causes when feeling bloated include:
- Eating too much at one time
- Swallowing air from drinking through a straw or chewing gum
- Eating too quickly
- Eating fatty or high-fiber foods
If your bloating is related to one of these causes, it will usually resolve itself within a few hours.
Can There Be Something Else Going On?
Constipation is a common cause of bloating. As waste backs up in the digestive tract, it creates gas, leading to a “balloon” feeling in your stomach. If you’re not having regular bowel movements or are finding it hard to pass a stool, constipation may be the reason.
Constipation may be caused by:
- Not drinking enough water (dehydration)
- Not getting enough exercise
- Changes in routine, such as traveling or changing sleeping/eating habits
Home remedies to relieve constipation include:
- Drinking more water (aim for at least 8 glasses per day)
- Avoiding caffeinated drinks and alcohol, which can cause dehydration
- Eating more high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (increase fiber intake slowly because it may lead to more bloating)
- Eating less high-fat foods, such as meat, eggs, and cheese
- Adding more exercise to your daily routine, such as taking a walk after a meal
Certain foods and drinks may also provide digestive relief, including peppermint tea, chamomile tea, pumpkin, and ginger.
Can a Particular Food be Causing My Bloating?
Some people find that one particular food or drink in their diet is to blame. If feeling bloated occurs often or you notice that it occurs when you eat certain types of food, identifying the culprit— and reducing or eliminating it from your diet — may help you find relief.
Foods that tend to cause intestinal distress include:
Manage Your Diet
Our dietitians can help you manage your diet with a customized plan for your specific needs.
- Raw cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, and onions
- Some fruits, like apricots, apples, peaches, pears, and prunes
- Beans and lentils
- Whole grains
- Artificial sweeteners
- Carbonated beverages
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream)
- Foods high in sodium, such as processed foods, canned soups, and frozen entrees
Can It Be Something More Serious?
Bloating that occurs often may also be a sign of a medical condition. You may have a food allergy or intolerance to things like gluten or lactose.
Or you may have a chronic condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). If you suspect your bloating could be a sign of one of these conditions, speak to your doctor to find the best course of action for relief.
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