Everyone has experienced a bout of belly bloat at some point in their lives. Whether you've eaten too much or just ate something that didn't fully agree with you, bloating can be extremely uncomfortable, if not painful on rare occasions.
The symptoms of belly bloat are pretty easy to identify in most cases. Along with a distended belly, you may also experience a tight, uncomfortable feeling in your abdomen. You may also feel a bit of pressure as your digestive system does its thing.
Occasional bloating is often manageable, but repeated issues can lead you to look for solutions. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to banish the bloat and feel like yourself again. The first step is to understand the common causes of abdominal bloating.
Why Does Belly Bloat Occur?
Belly bloating is an issue that most people deal with, usually on a regular basis. It also has a variety of causes, including:
Bacteria within your gut break down carbohydrates, which then produce gas. In some cases, only a minimal amount of gas will be produced, which means symptoms of bloating will pass quickly. In others, you may have eaten food too quickly or could be suffering from a digestive disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Menstruation can also cause bloating in women. In this case, hormone fluctuations can affect how quickly food moves through your digestive tract. In turn, more gas may be produced if food is moving too slowly.
An accumulation of gas and solids within the digestive system can also contribute to bloating. This is often the case with constipation, which leads to many uncomfortable symptoms. You may also be experiencing a disorder that impacts how quickly food moves through the digestive system.
Certain situations can inflame either the stomach or the intestines, which in turn leads to an uncomfortable bloated feeling. Along with bacterial infections, overconsumption of alcohol can also result in inflammation. Ulcers are another common cause of inflammation, which occurs when a lesion develops in either the stomach or intestines.
Extra pounds typically go to your stomach first, which can put pressure on your digestive system. As a result, you may notice that even a normal amount of food produces more gas than it typically would, which then leads to bloating and other symptoms.
What Can You Do About Bloating?
First and foremost, you should visit your doctor to get to the bottom of recurring bloating. In most cases, the problem can be addressed by lifestyle changes or medical treatment. However, constant bloating can also be caused by more serious issues, such as cancer, so it's important to rule these conditions out.
Barring a serious health issue, making changes to your diet can often benefit your digestive health. Here are a few hacks to try:
Slowly increasing your fiber intake is a great start, as regular intake of fiber can help clean out your digestive tract.
You must also drink a sufficient amount of water each day, which keeps the digestive process moving along as it should.
The type of foods you eat also plays a role in bloating. For instance, processed foods containing salt and fat have a negative impact on digestive health by retaining water and slowing down the process, respectively.
Some people also have sensitivities to certain foods, such as those containing gluten. In this case, your doctor can put you on an elimination diet to determine which foods are causing problems.
A healthy lifestyle is important to your general wellness, but it can also benefit your digestive health exponentially. In addition to eating right, you can also enhance digestive function by being active. By taking these steps, you can make uncomfortable bloating an infrequent occurrence.