BloatingBloating is a condition when the abdomen becomes swollen and enlarged. Bloating is usually followed by tightness and fullness in your stomach and abdomen. Other problems which can appear may include hiccups, gas, belching, nausea, diarrhea and constipation. In most cases, bloating is just a temporary condition which causes discomfort, but in severe and persistent cases, especially if they are accompanied by pain, loss of weight, fever, vomiting and blood in the stool, you should seek medical help.
Causes of bloatingThere are many reasons which can cause bloating. One of the most common reasons is accumulation of air in the intestines. Excessive air can be a consequence of eating too quickly, chewing a gum for a long time or smoking. You may also experience flatulence and burping, as your body's natural defense against bloating caused by intestinal gas.
Another common cause of bloating is consuming food which contains substances which cannot be properly absorbed or digested. Food which can cause bloating is food rich in additives, flavor enhancers and artificial sweeteners. Other food which may cause bloating includes beans, apples, cauliflower, peas, corn, cabbage, onions, lentils, broccoli and whole wheat bread. Greasy food, spicy food and diary products can also cause bloating. Drinking too much carbonated beverages can lead to bloating as well.
Other causes of bloating may be food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease or some other condition. Many women experience bloating prior to and at the beginning of menstrual period.
TreatmentSince bloating is not a serious condition and it usually goes away after a while, medical treatment may not be necessary in most cases. However, in case of persistent bloating you can ask your pharmacist for some over-the-counter medications. If you are bloated due to some other medical condition, you will receive the treatment for the underlying cause.
PreventionIf you experience bloating too often in your life, you should consider making some lifestyle changes. You should eat smaller meals more times a day. Also chew your food slowly and avoid talking while chewing because these factors can increase the risk of swallowing too much air. After a meal you should take a walk instead of lying down. Also avoid drinking any fluid during a meal because the food will not be absorbed and digested properly. Drinking plenty of water a day is recommended. If certain food gives you problems, simply avoid eating such food. You should not consume carbonated drinks, chew gum or smoke, because all these factors are some of the main causes of bloating.