Featured Article: What is Bloating, what is it Caused by, and how to Prevent or Manage it?

Have you ever experienced that uncomfortable feeling and expansion in your stomach after a meal or drinking carbonated soda? If so, then you’ve probably experienced bloating. Bloating is an unpleasant sensation of fullness and tightness in the abdomen caused by a buildup of gas in the digestive system.

 

It can often be confused with heart aches. However, it is not heart ache and not something to be as worried about as a heart related issue. Bloating is an easily preventable and treatable condition; read on to find out how.

 

What is Bloating?

Bloating is the feeling of tightness or fullness in the abdomen caused by trapped gas, food, or fluids. It is characterized by the recurrent abdominal fullness, pressure, or sensation of trapped gas or increase in abdominal girth [1]. Common symptoms of bloating include feeling full quickly after eating, abdominal pain, burping, flatulence, belching, nausea, and vomiting.

Other symptoms can include feeling bloated even after small meals, abdominal tightness, and difficulty breathing.

 

What Causes Bloating?

Gas

Gas is one of the most common causes of bloating. Gas builds up in the stomach and intestines and is made up of swallowed air and the breakdown of undigested food. Some common causes of excess gas are eating too quickly, excessive intake of soda and other carbonated drinks, chewing gum, and smoking. Fructose, lactose, and sorbitol are also known to cause gas, and those sensitive to these sugars should take extra care to monitor their intake.

 

Digestive Contents

Digestive contents can also cause bloating. This can be due to food allergies, eating too much fiber, or an infection or intolerance to certain foods. Eating foods that are difficult to digest, such as beans, can cause bloating [2]. Additionally, consuming large amounts of dairy products can contribute to digestive distress and bloating.

 

Hormones

Hormonal changes can also cause bloating. Women experience hormonal changes during their menstrual cycle that can lead to bloating and water retention. Pregnancy can also cause bloating due to the increased levels of progesterone, which can slow down digestion. Certain medications, such as contraceptive pills, can also cause bloating by affecting the levels of hormones in the body.

Some other causes of bloating include

  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Certain medications, such as narcotics or antidepressants
  • Gastroparesis (slowed stomach emptying)
  • Eating large amounts of high-fiber foods
  • Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and ovarian cancer [3]

In some cases, bloating can be caused by psychological factors such as stress and anxiety. Stress can affect digestion, making it difficult for the body to process foods properly. This can lead to an accumulation of gas in the digestive tract and cause bloating.

 

How to Prevent Bloating?

Add Fiber to Your Diet

Adding fiber to your diet is an important part of preventing bloating. Fiber helps to move food through your digestive system more quickly, making it less likely that your body will be affected by gas or bloating. It also helps to reduce constipation, which can contribute to bloating. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes [4].

 

Exercise

Exercise is important for maintaining optimal health and preventing bloating. Regular exercise helps reduce stress and improve digestion, preventing bloating. Additionally, exercising on a regular basis can help to improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, which can lead to a reduction in bloating [5].

 

Drink Enough Water

It is important to stay hydrated when trying to prevent bloating. Drinking enough water helps to move food through the digestive system and prevents constipation, which is a common cause of bloating. Additionally, drinking enough water helps to flush out toxins from the body, which can also reduce bloating.

 

Eliminate Stress

Stress can have a negative impact on digestion, which can lead to bloating. Therefore, it is important to find ways to reduce stress in order to prevent bloating. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and spending time with friends and family can all help to reduce stress and improve digestion.

 

Add Probiotics to Your Diet

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help to improve digestion and reduce bloating. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi or in supplement form. Studies have suggested that Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis can improve bloating in non-constipated patients [6].

 

Cut Down Processed Foods

Processed foods are often high in sodium and fat, which can contribute to bloating. Therefore, it is important to limit your intake of processed foods if you want to reduce bloating. Eating fresh, whole foods instead can help to reduce bloating and improve your overall health.

               

How to Manage it?

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can be taken to replenish the gut, aiding digestion and reducing bloating. Studies have shown that probiotics can reduce bloating and flatulence in those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. Rucir’s Ultra probiotic ND 50 can help fulfill your probiotics need without overdoing it.

 

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas can be used to treat bloating by soothing the digestive system, aiding digestion, and reducing gas. Many herbs, such as ginger, peppermint, and chamomile, have anti-inflammatory effects, which can reduce bloating.

 

Antacids

Antacids can be taken to reduce the symptoms of bloating by neutralizing the acid in the stomach. This can help to reduce the amount of gas in the stomach and reduce bloating.

 

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are supplements that can be taken to aid digestion and reduce bloating. They can help to break down food more efficiently, allowing the body to absorb more nutrients and reducing gas and bloating. With Rucir’s daily digest digestive enzymes, you can manage bloating. They release proper enzymes at appropriate intervals so that your gut can function optimally.

 

Conclusion:

In summary, bloating can be a nuisance and cause significant distress. However, there are many ways to help prevent and manage this condition. Eating fiber, exercising regularly, drinking sufficient water, eliminating stress, and taking probiotics have all been proven to reduce the occurrence of bloating and its intensity.

For individuals who already suffer from bloating, medicinal solutions such as herbal teas, antacids, and digestive enzymes may provide some relief.

 

References:

  1. Lacy BE, Mearin F, Chang L, Chey WD, Lembo AJ, Simren M, Spiller R. Bowel disorders. Gastroenterology. 2016 May 1;150(6):1393-407. https://theromefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/bowel-disorders.pdf
  2. Mari A, Abu Backer F, Mahamid M, Amara H, Carter D, Boltin D, et al. Bloating and Abdominal Distension: Clinical Approach and Management. Adv Ther 2019;36:1075–84. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12325-019-00924-7
  3. Lacy BE, Gabbard SL, Crowell MD. Pathophysiology, Evaluation, and Treatment of Bloating. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y) 2011;7:729–39. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22298969/
  4. Choi YK, Kraft N, Zimmerman B, Jackson M, Rao SSC. Fructose intolerance in IBS and utility of fructose-restricted diet. J Clin Gastroenterol 2008;42:233–8. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0b013e31802cbc2f.
  5. Villoria A, Serra J, Azpiroz F, Malagelada J-R. Physical activity and intestinal gas clearance in patients with bloating. Am J Gastroenterol 2006;101:2552–7. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1572-0241.2006.00873.x.
  6. Ringel Y, Ringel-Kulka T, Maier D, Carroll I, Galanko JA, Leyer G, et al. Clinical trial: Probiotic Bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 Versus Placebo for the Symptoms of Bloating in Patients with Functional Bowel Disorders - a Double-Blind Study. J Clin Gastroenterol 2011;45:518–25. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0b013e31820ca4d6.

 

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