fairly common complaint in women

This is a fairly common complaint in women. This is a worrisome and troublesome condition.

Bloating occurs when gas doesn’t pass through belching or flatulence or while defecating. This gas can build up in the stomach and intestines and eventually lead to bloating. With bloating, comes abdominal pain that can vary from mild and dull to sharp and intense. Passing gas or having a bowel movement may relieve the pain related to bloating.

#Causes for Stomach Bloating

• Irritable Bowel Syndrome:This is one of the most common causes for bloating in individuals. And sadly, most of the time it gets mistaken for either indigestion or gas. More prominent in women, IBS can cause bloating in addition to causing other conditions like abdominal pain, extreme discomfort, gas and irregular bowel movements etc.

• Fatty foods: Foods that contain high fats do much more than just adding fat cells to your body. Normally these foods can prolong digestion and just stay in the stomach for long periods without moving out. This can then cause severe bloating. When this happens, the stomach is exposed to an abnormal environment which will increase the acidity leading to bloating.

• Inadequate water intake: In addition to ridding your body off impurities and other toxins, water helps to regulate digestion and takes care of gastrointestinal disorders as well. So if you are not drinking enough water on a daily basis, you may experience indigestion problems and severe bloating as a result of the same.

• Dairy products: These products are huge culprits in causing bloating. Diary can take time to digest and so can cause severe bloating when consumed in large quantities. The trouble increases for individuals who are lactose intolerant and so cannot digest milk and its related products. The longer the diary product stays in the system, the more they are broken down to harmful products that will cause bloating. If you are lactose intolerant and still prefer to eat dairy foods, including milk, curd, ice cream etc., you would most probably experience bloating soon after having a meal that includes these foods

• Some Chewing Gum: In some cases, chewing gum constantly can cause stomach bloating. Though rare, but very possible, this is attributed to the fact that when an individual chews gum, he/she would be swallowing large amounts of saliva and air that would reach the stomach and cause it to bloat. Some gums also contain artificial sweeteners that can be hard to digest and so can cause bloating.

• Surprisingly, who would have thought that the healthy foods that we opt for could also potentially cause bloating? But it’s true! Some foods that are otherwise very healthy can cause bloating. These include high fiber foods like beans, oats, cereals, wheat bread, pulses and bran; foods like nuts, fresh fruits, edamame beans, and seeds etc. These foods when taken in large quantities can ferment in the gut and cause bloating in the process. Also, some regularly followed healthy diets may not be as healthy as you think and can cause conditions like bloating. These include high protein diets like Atkins and diets that are low in fiber or carbohydrates.

• Reheated foods: If you experience bloating every time you eat out or prefer to eat some leftovers, then chances are your body is not acting favorably to foods that are reheated. Most of the foods in restaurants are reheated at times. The same goes for leftovers that are often heated and eaten later. The problem in this is when foods are reheated; they become more resistant to digestion and so directly pass into the intestine from the stomach. The intestine on its part would try to digest these foods and produce excess gas in the process which results in bloating.

• Hormone imbalance: In some women they tend to experience bloating during menstruation and right before menopause. The reason for this happens to be the fluctuating hormone levels during these periods which make the body more vulnerable to conditions like bloating.

• Menstruation: This also causes the muscles in the body to relax (an effect produced by progesterone), including those present in the gut and abdomen. When this happens, the stomach takes longer time to digest the food and pass it to the intestine. And this would naturally cause bloating. On the other hand, the relaxed muscles themselves would make the body look bloated during menstruation or menopause.

• Stress: This is another probable cause. Inasmuch as there is no direct evidence to back the point, but many researchers believe that conditions like bloating could be aggravated by issues like stress or depression. So if you feel your stomach acting up after a really stressful day, chances are your brain may be sending appropriate signals to the gut to bloat.

• Antibiotics: Bloating also occurs when the amount of good bacteria (responsible for quick and healthy digestion) present in the gut decreases. Incessant intake of antibiotics most times can potentially upset the balance between the good and bad bacteria present in the gut. When this happens, conditions for the growth of bad bacteria improve considerably. This in turn would make you more sensitive to foods that take time to digest or ferment in the gut.
This again would cause excessive bloating.

• Other causes include:
1. Drinking carbonated beverages or eating gassy foods
2. Smoking
3. Conditions such as celiac disease or lactose intolerance in which the intestines aren’t able to digest and absorb certain components of food.
4. Eating too quickly, drinking through a straw

#Foods to Avoid

To reduce bloating, it may help to avoid or reduce the amount of gas-producing foods you eat. Many carbohydrates cause gas, and the following items are common culprits:

1. Beans
2. Broccoli
3. Brussels sprouts
4. Cabbage
5. Carbonated drinks
6. Cauliflower
7. Chewing gum
8. Fruits, such as apples, peaches and pears
9. Hard candy
10. Lettuce
11. Milk and milk products
12. Onions
13. Sugar alcohols found in sugar-free foods (sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol)
14. Whole-grain foods

Updated: December 28, 2018 — 10:29 am

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