Bloating, which is classified as abdominal bloating, is a medical condition in which your abdomen (stomach) will feel full, tight and appear or feel larger than normal. Abdominal bloating is a common condition that everyone will experience at least once in their lifetime. While it isn’t something that normally occurs on a regular basis, there are certain lifestyle changes that can increase the likelihood of getting bloating such as constipation, pregnancy or a women’s menstrual period. If you experience bloating, there are some ways you can relieve the tightness and uncomfortable feeling.
Causes of Bloating
There are many different things that can cause abdominal bloating ranging from lifestyle situations to medical conditions and even bad habits. Some of the more common causes of bloating include swallowing a lot of air, constipation, pregnancy, bacterial growth in your small intestine, gaining weight, eating too much, lactose intolerance, food allergies or intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophegeal reflux and being on your menstrual period. Some medications may also cause temporary bloating such as Acarbose which is given for diabetes and sorbitol or lactulose. There are also more serious medical conditions that can cause abdominal bloating such as tumors, celiac disease, cervical cancer, dumping syndrome, and pancreatic insufficiency. Bloating is actually a mild symptom of these conditions so if your bloating is associated with pain and doesn’t go away, you should consult your doctor immediately.
Treating Abdominal Bloating
If you are experiencing abdominal bloating, it isn’t usually a critical condition but it can be uncomfortable. To treat your bloating there are some steps to take at home that may believe the pressure and tightness. To start with, don’t drink any carbonated beverages or chew gum as both of these can may the bloating worse. Avoid drinks and gum with fructose and sorbitol. You should also avoid some other foods including beans, lentils, turnips, brussel sprouts and cabbage. When you’re having bloating and need to eat, chew slowly and eat as slow as possible. Eating quickly will also worsen your condition. You should also refrain from smoking. Avoid pushing on the bloated area of your abdomen and treat the associated constipation if you feel it is a factor leading to your abdominal bloating.
When to Consult a Doctor
In most cases, bloating is a temporary medical condition that is not life threatening and will go away on its own. However there are some situations where you should get medical attention as it could be a factor in a more serious medical condition. For example, if you feel abdominal pain aside from the discomfort of the bloated feeling, seek medical attention. You should also call or visit your doctor if you have dark, tarry looking stools or blood in your stools. If you’re experiencing vomiting, severe weight loss, heartburn that gradually worsens, or diarrhea along with frequent abdominal bloating, see a doctor.