Always Have A Bloated Stomach? Here Are 10 Reasons Why
July 23, 2021
Original article and page source found here.
Stomach bloating is so common these days that it’s been called an “epidemic.” If you frequently deal with distention, digestive discomfort and a bloated stomach, you probably want to know: Why do I feel bloated all the time?
With most people’s poor diets, high levels of stress, need for daily medications and exposure to various pollutants, it’s no wonder they suffer some sort of bloating more days than not.
While a bloated stomach is certainly uncomfortable — even embarrassing when it comes along with gas or the need to run to the bathroom — it might be an even bigger deal than you think. Below we’ll look closer at reasons you may deal with an inflated belly, plus discuss bloated stomach remedies, such as foods to focus on and those to avoid.
What is stomach bloating a sign of? Can it point to an underlying health condition?
Luckily, in many cases, it isn’t anything to be alarmed about. It can usually be cleared up by making some simple changes to your diet and routine, although not always.
For many people, the cause of excessive gas in the intestines boils down to:
Inadequate protein digestion (causing some foods to ferment)
Inability to break down sugar and carbohydrates fully (certain complex sugar compounds need the presence of enzymes to be digested fully, yet people can lack these)
Imbalances in gut bacteria (in the digestive tract, there are trillions of healthy and unhealthy bacteria that compete, and when “bad bacteria” outweigh the good for one reason or another, an imbalance can lead to abdominal bloating and excessive gas)
Stomach bloating can however sometimes signify serious health problems lurking below the surface. For example, it’s one of the most common candida symptoms and also tends to develop when from other conditions, including allergies, hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, gut troubles and inflammatory bowel disease.
Other potential causes of bloating can include:
Irritable bowel syndrome, especially if you’re constipated
Digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
Food allergies or sensitivities, including celiac disease or lactose intolerance
Infection in the gut
Certain types of cancer
Many different things can affect gut health, the ability to metabolize food properly and the body’s way of naturally eliminating waste. Because so many different factors can contribute to stomach bloating — including some that seem totally unrelated, like sleep or stress — it’s possible to become bloated any time of the day or month.
Contrary to what most people think, bloating is not the same as carrying around extra fat mass or even “water weight.” Fluids can’t actually accumulate in your stomach, although you might be bloated and have water retention in other parts of your body (like your ankles, face and feet) while also having a bloated stomach if you have a condition that’s causing both.
Here’s more about some of the most common causes of bloating:
1. Digestive Disorders
Most people dealing with various functional gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease have bloating, gas, distension and other symptoms. Some reports show that stomach bloating is experienced by 23 percent to 96 percent of people with IBS, 50 percent with functional dyspepsia and 56 percent with chronic constipation.
2. Fluid Retention (Called Edema or Ascites)
Fluid retention in the abdomen is known as ascites, and it can be a sign of a more serious health condition, such as abdominal infection, liver disease or rarely even cancer.
Check for other signs of liver failure or hepatitis, including yellowing of the skin (jaundice), changes in the white color of your eyes or pain in the abdomen.
Stomach cancer often does not show symptoms early on. h\However, in addition to bloating, you may experience unintended weight loss, indigestion, nausea, vomiting blood and abdominal pain.
Ever notice the day after you ate salty foods or drank alcohol that you become dehydrated and bloated as a result? It might seem counterintuitive, but the more water you drink (or consume in water-heavy foods) and better you stay hydrated, the less bloating you’re likely to deal with.
Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances both halt digestion and make it hard to “stay regular.”
When your body tries to recover from dehydration, it holds on to excess water to prevent the situation from happening again. Plus, you might find yourself becoming constipated. This means when you do finally drink more fluids, you’re likely to store them around your midsection and feel extra puffy.
This might be the most obvious reason you have a bloated stomach — you need to go to the bathroom! Constipation can cause stool to remain in the intestines, leaving you with a hard-feeling stomach, pain, discomfort and gas.
The biggest reasons for constipation include eating too little fiber, not drinking enough water, being too sedentary/avoiding physical activity and stress.
5. Food Allergies or Sensitivities
Often, food allergies, sensitives or intolerances (like lactose intolerance) are common reasons for gas and bloating. The foods that cause gas include dairy products, gluten-containing foods (most bread, pasta, rolls, cereals, etc.) and certain kinds of carbohydrates called FODMAPs.
There are dozens of other possible food allergies (like shellfish, nuts and eggs), but you’re likely to know if this is what you’re reacting to since symptoms are usually more noticeable. FODMAPs can be tricky to rule out since there are so many different kinds and everyone is unique in terms of tolerability.
An elimination diet can help you pinpoint which foods might cause bloating (like apples or avocados, for example) because they’re not being properly broken down and digested.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is caused by high levels of abnormal bacteria living in the digestive tract, usually in the bowel (dysbacteriosis), where they can accumulate after taking antibiotics or due to inflammation and poor digestion.
Normally, different strains of bacteria are in proper balance in the colon. This helps with absorption of essential nutrients, but when harmful bacteria invade and take over, damage of the stomach lining can occur along with numerous symptoms.
Some foods are capable of causing SIBO symptoms and related sensitivities in the digestive tract, including FODMAPS, which in some cases can ferment abnormally during digestion.
You can become bloated and swollen or develop ascites if you’re dealing with an infection because this triggers inflammation levels to rise, caused by an elevated white blood cell count around the pelvic, urinary and gastrointestinal organs. Check for signs of a fever, redness and pain, and swollen lymph nodes, which usually accompany a serious infection.
8. Bowel obstruction
Sometimes a severely bloated stomach (though it isn’t actually your stomach that’s bloated) — along with constipation, nausea and vomiting — is due to a bowel obstruction. This can be caused by scar tissue or a tumor in either the small intestine or the colon, among other causes.
When it grows and presses against the bowel, the bowels become blocked and hold in fluid and stool. You’ll likely know this is what you’re dealing with, since it’s usually very painful and stops you from going to the bathroom normally.
It’s important to see your doctor and get medical treatment right away if you suspect a bowel obstruction. This condition can lead to a ruptured bowel, which is a potentially fatal medical emergency.
9. Hormonal changes
PMS is known to cause a bloated abdomen and digestive issues, since it makes you prone to constipation and fluid retention. This is common and not too much of a concern unless you notice other serious symptoms, like an irregular menstrual cycle, fibroids or severe cramping.
Having a bloated stomach before or during your period can differ depending on your cycle, and some women experience severe water retention for up to two weeks.
Why do women experience bloating before, during and after their menstrual cycles? During the early days of a woman’s cycle — sometimes called the follicular stage — estrogen levels rise while the uterine lining thickens. Bloating can also become stronger as ovulation occurs and more fluids and blood build up.
Normally when a woman has her period, she experiences shedding of the excess fluid, tissue and blood. This usually results in the bloating going away.
While it’s not the cause of most people’s bloating, one sign of cancer in the colon or uterus is bloating. This is why it’s important to talk to a doctor if you’ve tried all other ways of reducing bloating and digestive issues but still can’t seem to pinpoint what’s causing your symptoms.
Related: What Are Meat Sweats? Plus How to Prevent Them
Having a bloated stomach is different from gaining actual fat mass around your stomach, since bloating is temporary and mostly caused by air becoming stuck around your abdomen, making it distend outward.
Simply put, being “bloated” is the feeling of having built-up gas in your digestive system that makes your stomach protrude uncomfortably. It usually causes some type of abdominal pain. Some people even kid around and joke that they “look pregnant” when their abdominal bloating becomes very bad.