Bloating is a swelling, generally of the abdomen. If you are bloated you will feel a full or tight belly. It can be a result of several things, mild and nothing to be concerned about, or a symptom of gastrointestinal diseases. Either way, take note of your bloating and read how you can prevent it from happening in the first place.
Causes of Bloating
Bloating is usually caused by water retention or intestinal gas. There are other common causes of bloating including overeating, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), intestinal parasites, ovarian cysts, constipation, or menstrual bloating.
Poor digestion of carbohydrates is a culprit for bloating. It can also mean you recently ate a high fat meal. Lactose intolerance when eating dairy can cause bloating as well. It can even be something as simple as swallowing air. Chewing gum causes you to swallow more air, and if you’re chewing sugarless gum, the artificial sweeteners are harder to break down, causing gas.
Dehydration is a common cause of bloating. When the body doesn’t get enough water, it desperately holds on to any bit of fluid it can. This fluid retention will make you feel bloated. Fluid retention is also common for premenstrual women.
If you tend to swallow a lot of air, stop. OK, so that’s easier said than done. Swallowing excessive amounts of air is generally a reaction to anxiety. Recognizing that you are doing it and trying to stop yourself is half the battle. If you eat a lot of carbohydrates, make sure you are chewing your food thoroughly before swallowing. Whatever your teeth don’t do, your stomach has to do for you. Eating quickly can cause an upset stomach, and improperly digested food sitting in your gut for longer periods of time. Don’t lie down after eating. When you sit up your stomach empties easier.
Since fatty foods create carbon dioxide, which is released as gas, stay away from high fat meals. Gas leads to bloating and it’s very uncomfortable. Try eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. When you overeat, you tend to feel bloated.
If your bloating is a result of dehydration or PMS, consider drinking more water. I realize this may seem counter-intuitive to drink more water when you already feel swollen, but it will help your body release the fluids it’s holding onto.
Fennel tea has been shown to be effective in reducing gas and bloating safely and naturally. Every IBS sufferer should have fennel tea regularly to calm the gastrointestinal tract. And, avoid chewing gum or using a lot of artificial sweeteners. Diet soda is a big no-no for people with bloating because of the difficult to digest artificial sweeteners. Plus the carbonation doesn’t help either.
Be sure to pay attention to consistent feelings of bloating or gas. This type of abdominal discomfort could be a sign of colon cancer. If bloating persists, speak to your doctor.