Bloating: Causes, Symptoms, Tips And Remedies

Bloating: Causes, Symptoms, Tips And Remedies

Have you ever looked down at your stomach and felt an uncomfortably tight sensation, as if you've overeaten – even when you know you haven't?

That unpleasant feeling of abdominal pressure and fullness is what we commonly refer to as bloating.

It's a widespread experience, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.  But just because it's common doesn't make it any less annoying.

The good news is that, in many cases, there are effective remedies and lifestyle adjustments that can help alleviate bloating and the discomfort it causes.  Knowing why it happens lets you tackle it better. Feeling bloated?

You're not alone—it's like being part of an uncomfortable club no one wants to be in. Let's tackle this pesky problem together!

Definition and sensations of bloating: Feeling of fullness or tightness in the abdomen

Imagine your stomach inflating uncontrollably, causing an uncomfortable sensation of tightness and fullness.

This condition, known as bloating, affects a significant percentage of the population.

While bloating may appear harmless at first glance, it may be a bothersome and even damaging condition for many people. Now that we've got a grip on the meaning of bloating, let's dive into how common this problem really is and why we shouldn't just shrug it off.

Commonality and potential seriousness of bloating

Bloating is largely a digestive problem caused by gas buildup or interruptions in the usual flow of food through the digestive tract, but it can also be exacerbated by hormone changes and stress levels.

According to Forbes Health, bloating is one of the most prevalent gastrointestinal ailments, affecting 15% to 30% of individuals in the United States alone. The stomach may feel larger than usual, resulting in discomfort, rumbling noises, and sometimes pain.

Understanding bloating's prevalence sets the stage, but distinguishing it from similar conditions like abdominal wall laxity can truly enlighten us on our journey to relief.

Distinction between bloating and abdominal wall laxity

Discerning the difference between the meaning of bloating and abdominal wall laxity is vital, as they are distinct conditions that affect the abdominal area in contrasting ways.

  • Bloating: Bloating is a transient state characterized by a sensation of fullness, tightness, or swelling in the belly region. It often arises due to an accumulation of gas or disruptions in the normal digestive processes, causing the abdomen to visibly protrude or appear distended. The intensity and duration of bloating can fluctuate, influenced by various factors such as dietary choices, digestive efficiency, and other physiological variables. 
  • Abdominal wall laxity: Unlike bloating, which is influenced by digestive processes and gas buildup, abdominal wall laxity is primarily a muscular issue. This condition involves a decrease in the tone and strength of the abdominal wall, resulting in a loose, sagging appearance of the abdominal area. Abdominal wall laxity is commonly observed in individuals who have undergone multiple pregnancies, significant weight fluctuations and abdominal surgeries

Recognizing the distinction between these two conditions is essential because their underlying causes and potential treatments differ significantly. While bloating may be addressed through dietary and lifestyle modifications, abdominal wall laxity may require more targeted exercises to restore strength and tone of the abdominal muscles.

Causes of bloating

Causes of bloating


Several conditions can cause bloating, one of the most common being constipation. Irritable bowel syndrome patients frequently suffer bloating due to increased intestinal sensitivity.

Bloating can also be influenced by medical conditions involving the ovaries or uterus, as well as eating habits. Consuming foods high in sodium, carbs, or fizzy beverages can cause bloating.

  • Constipation
  • Constipation frequently causes bloating, leaving individuals feeling bloated, regardless of their eating choices. This type of bloating, defined by a firm, bloated abdomen that increases during the day and improves slightly after bowel movements, happens when intestinal gas becomes trapped behind the slow-moving stool. Check out The Good Bug's 14-day Gut Cleanse Shots will help you get rid of that buildup of harmful waste in your gut and banish digestive issues

  • Digestive disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and GERD, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease, can disrupt digestive function, causing bloating. IBS is characterized by stomach pain and abnormal bowel patterns in addition to bloating. GERD, or acid reflux, also causes bloating and discomfort.

  • Swallowing air, or aerophagia and poor dietary habits
  • One of the most prevalent eating-related causes of bloating is consuming food rapidly, chewing gum, or sipping on fizzy drinks, leading to discomfort in the stomach. Eating large meals or foods high in fat, fiber, or artificial sweeteners can worsen bloating by slowing digestion and generating gas buildup. 

  • Carbohydrate malabsorption
  • Many people have difficulty digesting certain carbohydrates (sugars). Lactose, fructose, and carbohydrates from wheat and beans are all prominent factors. You may have an intolerance, or you may simply have general issues that cause your body to struggle with tougher carbs.

  • SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
  • This happens when colonic bacteria overflow into the small intestine. Overgrowth of these bacteria may also overwhelm other microorganisms designed to maintain equilibrium.

  • Delayed stomach emptying
  • Bloating can be caused by a stomach that empties too slowly, and it is frequently accompanied by nausea, acid reflux, loss of appetite, and/or early satiety.

  • Celiac disease
  • Celiac disease, which is an immune-system-mediated intolerance to the protein gluten, can produce considerable bloating as well as a slew of other digestive-related symptoms. Foods containing wheat or barley, such as pasta, bread, and flour, or beer, cause an immune system response that destroys the small intestine in affected people.

  • Gastritis
  • When the delicate lining of the stomach becomes inflamed, it can lead to discomfort, digestive distress, and potentially more severe complications if left unaddressed. Gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining, can arise from various sources, with bacterial infections being a common culprit. However, the excessive use of certain pain medications and prolonged, heavy alcohol consumption can also trigger this condition. 

  • Dietary intolerances
  • People who are lactose intolerant, gluten sensitive, or have other dietary intolerances may have bloating because their bodies are unable to digest certain substances adequately. Identifying and avoiding these trigger foods is critical for reducing bloating in people with food intolerances while also boosting digestive comfort and general well-being.

  • Stress
  • Stress may influence motility and sensitivity of the gastrointestinal tract, which can exacerbate symptoms of bloating. Psychological stress triggers the release of hormones that can interfere with the gut-brain connection, leading to bloating. This stress alters how the intestines function, increasing the likelihood of digestive issues. 

    • Gas

    Intestinal gas is a typical result of the digestive process, yet excessive gas could indicate problems with digestion.The main source of intestinal gas comes from gut bacteria fermenting carbohydrates, a natural part of the digestive process.

    Given the complex nature of bloating and its ties to gut health, exploring probiotics designed for digestive well-being might provide some relief.  If you're looking for a hassle-free way to assimilate beneficial bacteria into your routine, considering the Bye Bye Bloat probiotics from The Good Bug might be the perfect solution

    Symptoms associated with bloating

    Bloating rarely occurs in isolation; instead, it is frequently accompanied by a constellation of other uncomfortable symptoms. Individuals experiencing bloating may also grapple with

    • Abdominal pain or discomfort
    • Excessive gas production
    • Diarrhea and constipation

    However, when bloating is accompanied by more concerning symptoms, it may be an indication of an underlying health condition that requires prompt medical attention. In addition to the symptoms we discussed, you may also notice changes in how your belly looks - it might appear swollen or feel tight in the stomach area. Now that we've covered the reasons behind bloating and how uncomfortable it can be, let's talk about some helpful tips to get relief and reduce that bloated feeling. Here are some easy things you can do to deflate the bloat.

    Tips and remedies for managing bloating

    remedies for bloating

    Bloating does not have to be an everyday issue, and there are ways to lessen it by changing your daily habits.

    Here are a few remedies to avoid a bloated stomach. The food you eat has a significant impact on how often and severely you bloat. Consider these diet tips:

  • Identifying and eliminating food intolerances: If certain foods seem to trigger bloating, consider keeping a food diary and working with a nutritionist to identify and eliminate potential food intolerances or sensitivities. Alongside consulting a dietitian, it might be worth incorporating specially formulated probiotics into your diet. The Good Bug offers prebiotics and probiotics  that are crafted with gut health in mind, potentially aiding in the management of dietary intolerances that contribute to bloating.
    • Limit sugar alcohols: Sugar alcohols, which are present in many sugar-free meals, might cause bloating in certain people, particularly those with sensitive guts.
    • Avoid eating salty foods: Too much salt can induce water retention, which worsens bloating. Foods high in sodium can cause salt and water retention, and a 2019 study connected high-sodium diets to increased bloating. 
    • Limit your sugar intake: Various sugars, such as fructose from fruit and lactose from dairy, can induce bloating, so it's important to avoid them if you're experiencing pain, advises.
    • Consume peppermint: Taking peppermint oil capsules can help relax the muscles in your gut due to their natural antispasmodic properties. This relaxation can help ease the passage of gas and stool, particularly if you have motility-related issues. Some studies suggest that peppermint oil can enhance digestion and lessen bloating symptoms.
    • Herbal teas: Herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, ginger, turmeric, and fennel are helpful for improving digestion and controlling gas. Drinking peppermint tea can also help alleviate bloating by relaxing the stomach muscles and speeding up the digestion process. Dandelion tea, in particular, is effective at reducing water retention. Herbs like ginger, chamomile, and fennel are also known for their ability to relieve gas.
    • Digestive enzymes:  Enzyme supplements like amylase or lipase can ease bloating fast. These enzymes are designed to enhance the digestive process and potentially reduce the production of gas. Incorporating foods rich in probiotics into your diet can also support digestive health.
    • Eat probiotic-rich foods: Probiotics, known as "good bacteria," play a crucial role in sustaining a balanced gut flora and aiding digestion. Specific strains, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, are known to help reduce the amount and frequency of gas in the intestines. 

    According to a study published in the NIH, National Library of Medicine, Bifidobacterium strains have been demonstrated to help people with intestinal dysbiosis illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

    Bifidobacterium longum W11 has been thoroughly studied for its efficacy in persons with IBS and constipation, resulting in a significant reduction in symptoms.

    Its effectiveness in alleviating constipation was especially seen in people whose gastrointestinal motility was decreased as a result of a low-calorie weight loss diet.

    Check out The Good Bug’s Bye Bye Bloat probiotics which is formulated with Bifidobacterium Longum W11 and other carefully selected nutrients to reduce bloating, relieve stomach pain, and enhance overall metabolism. 

    • Consume adequate water: This promotes movement throughout your digestive tract and prevents digested food from getting too hard and compacted to pass through. Water also makes you feel fuller in between meals.
    • Walking and exercise:  Stay active. Engaging in regular physical activity, especially exercises that strengthen the core, can help alleviate abdominal bloating. Working out helps to minimize water retention and promotes regular bowel movements. Walking is an effective, low-impact exercise that helps the body process and expel extra air. If you have a desk job, incorporating exercise might seem daunting, but simple actions like standing up and walking around periodically can make a significant difference.
    • Avoid processed meals: Steer clear of processed foods. These often have low fiber content and high levels of salt and fats, which can slow digestion and promote water retention, leading to constipation and bloating. Additionally, processed foods are not very nutritious, so they may leave you feeling unsatisfied and prone to overeating, worsening bloating issues.
    • Eat slowly and stop eating before you feel completely full: Since there's a delay before signals of fullness reach the brain, many people tend to overeat. By chewing your food thoroughly and pausing before you're full, you can help prevent this issue.
    • Avoid foods that cause discomfort: Check food labels to steer clear of ingredients that don't agree with you. If certain foods consistently cause bloating, consider removing them one by one to see if your symptoms improve.
    • Address constipation: A nutritionist can guide you through an elimination diet to identify your food intolerances and help your digestive system recover.
    • Consult your physician: Should bloating or other digestive symptoms continue, it may be necessary to see your doctor, who can suggest certain diagnostic tests to exclude any medical conditions.
    • Yoga and meditation: Yoga and meditation can enhance digestion and alleviate stress, both of which may help reduce bloating. Additionally, acupuncture has been beneficial for some individuals, as it helps balance the body's energy flow and improve digestive health.

    Bloating is a common condition that can occasionally indicate a more severe health problem.

    Paying attention to what you eat and drink is crucial for managing bloating. Consider how your intake of items like dairy, carbonated drinks, and high-fiber vegetables or legumes might affect your body.

    While these tips are golden, sometimes we need a bit more detective work to get to the bottom of our bloating blues. Let's talk diagnosis

    Diagnosing bloating

    If you experience ongoing or severe bloating, your doctor might conduct a physical examination to evaluate your symptoms. To identify the underlying cause, they may order blood tests, stool tests, or imaging studies like gastroscopy, colonoscopy, or ultrasound. This diagnostic approach typically includes:

    • A thorough physical examination
    • Blood and stool tests to exclude certain medical conditions
    • Imaging tests such as gastroscopy, colonoscopy, or ultrasound to get a detailed view of your internal health.

    If trying to play detective leaves you with more questions than answers, it might be time to call in the experts. Here's when to seek professional help.

    When to consult a doctor?

    Chronic or intense bloating should not be overlooked. If simple home remedies fail to alleviate your symptoms, or if you experience severe pain, vomiting, or bloody stools, it's important to seek medical help. These symptoms could be signs of a serious underlying condition that needs prompt medical evaluation.

    • You have made dietary changes but are still suffering from bloating. 
    • Seek medical advice if you experience bloating for three weeks or more or if you frequently feel bloated (more than 12 times per month). 
    • If you notice rapid swelling of the abdomen or difficulty in swallowing food.
    • You experience bloating along with symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, or blood in your stool.

    Complications and concerns

    While bloating usually isn't harmful, it can cause discomfort or pain that impacts your daily activities and overall quality of life. It’s important not to overlook persistent or severe bloating, as it could be a sign of an underlying condition that requires medical attention.

    Empowering yourself: Knowing when to take action

    Gaining an understanding of the causes and treatments for bloating is an empowering step.

    By recognizing the symptoms early on and knowing the appropriate actions to take, bloating can be effectively managed or even avoided altogether.

    However, it's important to remain vigilant and seek medical attention promptly if bloating is accompanied by more severe symptoms, such as extreme pain or changes in bowel habits. 

    As you strive to take control of your digestive well-being, remember that the right support can make all the difference.

    Probiotics can reduce bloating by altering the gut microbiome. The Good Bug specializes in probiotics that are specifically designed to enhance gut health, potentially easing uncomfortable symptoms like bloating.

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