Five Causes of Bloating
Abdominal bloating is a common symptom that occurs when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with gas or air. Some people believe that bloating is only caused by overeating, but there are other reasons a person can feel bloated. Here are five additional causes of bloating.
- Salt – When you consume excess amounts of salt the body retains water. This not only causes bloating but other serious health problems such as high blood pressure. Avoid adding extra salt to food and any prepacked or fast foods that contain high levels of sodium.
- Carbohydrates – Carbs provide useful fuels that the body can quickly use but consuming too much at once can also cause the body to retain water. Simple carbs like candy, cookies and cake enter the blood stream quickly causing the body to retain more water. Complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables and fruit take longer to digest which reduces the amount of water retained by the body.
- Soda – The bubbles in soda are filled with gases which then enter the digestive system. Some of the gas is released when you burp but the rest will reach your intestines and stay there until it is passed.
- Eating too fast – This habit causes more air to be swallowed. The air eventually reaches the intestines and makes you feel bloated. It is important to remember that it can take 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that the stomach is full. Eating fast may cause you to eat more. Overeating combined with swallowing extra air will cause the discomfort of bloating.
- Dairy – Foods that contain dairy cause gas, stomach pain and bloating if it is not easily digested by your body. Some medications can help digest dairy but it’s still a good idea to avoid milk products if you are trying to reduce bloating.
“Bloating is usually caused by issues that are not too serious. However if in addition to bloating you feel frail, lose your appetite, or have weight loss, diarrhea, fever or belly pain you should make an appointment to see your doctor,” says Antonio Escobedo MD, a PIH Health Internal Medicine doctor.
To schedule an appointment with a PIH Health physician or to find one near you, visit: PIHHealth.org/Find-a-Doctor.