5 Common Reasons for Bloated Stomach and How to Treat
Bloating is an unpleasant fact of life and it may be a result of a number of reasons. Bloating happens to us all from time to time and is a common complaint amongst people of all ages.
The symptoms of bloating vary and can range in severity from extremely mild to severe enough to cause pain. They commonly include feeling excessively full after meals. For some people the bloating can be so bad that it leads to flatulence and burping, abdominal noises and swelling.
Why Bloating Happens
Bloating is the result of excess gas in the digestive tract. It happens for two reasons:
- Firstly, the digestive process itself releases gas from the food as it is broken down.
- Secondly, certain habits can cause you to swallow air. When the two combine, it can be an uncomfortable experience.
For many, bloating is an occasional inconvenience and for most people the problem resolves itself after a few (uncomfortable) hours. If you are suffering from regular episodes of bloating, however, there are a few simple lifestyle changes that you can make to help you feel less uncomfortable.
Reasons You are Bloated All The Time
1. You Eat Too Much Or Too Quickly
Eating too much food is one of the most common causes of bloating (this is also one of the 12 hidden reasons you’re not losing weight). The gas created by the digestive process is unable to disperse and just sits in the gut.
Try serving yourself smaller portions but allow yourself more time to eat it.
It takes approximately 20 minutes for the brain to recognize the body’s signals that it has had enough, so if you eat more slowly you are less likely to overeat. Portion control is also one of the 3 changes for losing weight.
Taking the time to savor each mouthful has other benefits as well. Chewing your food more thoroughly helps get the digestive process underway (saliva is a digestive juice which helps to break down food).
Finally, people who eat too fast often gulp air along with their food adding to the gas in their bellies. Preventing this can help to ease bloat.
2. You Are Swallowing Air
It is not only eating too fast that can lead to excess air in the abdomen. The following habits can lead you to swallow air:
- Using a straw
- Drinking sodas or other fizzy drinks (which have many other adverse side effects)
- Chewing gum or sucking on a hard candy
Try cutting these things out and see if they help you feel any better.
3. You Are Stressed
Stress or anxiety causes physiological changes in the body. Among those is the reaction which diverts blood from the digestive system and into other parts of the body. This makes the digestive process less efficient which can lead to bloating. In some people the response to stress also causes changes to their breathing which results in them gulping air.
If you are nervous or anxious try some simple breathing or relaxation exercises to help you feel more in control. You can also use essential oils for anxiety and natural remedies for stress.
4. You Are Eating Gassy Foods
Some foods are more likely to cause bloating and excess gas than others.
Fat is the hardest food group to digest, so very rich meals and can lead to bloat. Fat takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates, so it keeps the stomach full longer.
Examples of gassy foods include beans and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage). Some people are more susceptible to certain vegetables and fruits than others. Whole grains which are very high in fiber are also a common cause of gas problems. These foods have incredible health benefits but you may need to eat them in moderation if they cause bloating.
5. You Don’t Drink Enough Water
Most people fail to drink enough water (there are 7 warning signs that tell you your body is lacking water). Insufficient fluid intake can lead to dehydration which prevents bodily systems and functions, including the digestive system, working at peak efficiency. Dehydration has many other side effects.
The foods mentioned above are all a key part of a healthy diet. When you do eat, particularly meals which contain a high percentage of high fiber, you should aim to drink more water. This will help maintain motility within the digestive system and prevent bloating and constipation.