According to the dictionary, bloating means to expand or distend, as with air or water. When you feel bloated, you feel full or over-full, as if your stomach has swollen well past its normal size. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, often accompanied by belching and passing gas.
Bloating isn’t actually a medical diagnosis, according to Manhattan gastroenterologist Dr. Khodadadian. Instead, it’s the result of trapped gas in your stomach or intestines. If you’re experiencing bloating, that doesn’t always mean you’ve eaten too much. It can mean that you’ve eaten too much of the wrong foods.
The Bloating Culprits
There are a number of causes of intestinal bloating that you can control, however. Fatty foods are one of the biggest culprits because fat interrupts the digestion process, hindering your stomach from emptying properly. Reduce the fat from your diet, and you’ll very often eliminate bloating all together.
Carbohydrates also contribute to the excess gas that leads to bloating. Reducing or avoiding those foods that continually cause you to feel bloated may be in your best interest, especially when the bloating gets painful or uncomfortable. Foods associated with bloating include:
- Chewing gum
- Hard candy
- Brussels sprouts
Carbonated drinks naturally add those bubbles to your stomach. If you are loathe to belch or pass gas, you could wind up bloated from drinking a simple soda. You may also find that fruit creates a bloating bind that can be difficult to resolve without a serious bowel movement and plenty of embarrassing flatulence.
Simple Steps to Reduce Bloating
While you can avoid the foods and drinks that cause bloating, you can take other steps as well to alleviate the uncomfortable feeling. If you wear dentures, make sure they fit well; if they don’t, excess air can get into your stomach while you’re chewing. Also, eat and drink slowly to prevent air from slipping down your throat along with your food and beverages. And skip the straw: that’s a sure way to take in unwanted air that could distend your tummy.
Another effective tip is to take a walk after you eat to get any gas to rise to the surface and prevent bloating. Try a calming technique like deep breathing or meditation to control your anxiety, which can help you avoid swallowing too much air. Don’t forget to drink water to help you stay regular and prevent bloating. And lastly, increase your dietary fiber intake to keep your bowels flowing smoothly every day.
If your bloating persists despite your diet and eating habit changes, keep a food record of what you’ve eaten when you’re experiencing discomfort. Maybe it’s a specific food that affects you adversely.
If all else fails, make an appointment with your Manhattan gastroenterologist or stomach doctor. Your distended tummy could be a symptom of a medical condition that has nothing to do with the bloating. If your bloated feeling doesn’t pass within a day — or after you’ve passed the gas or had a bowel movement, then you should see your digestive system doctor. In New York City, stress, smoking, irritable bowel syndrome, Celiac disease, lactose intolerance and gastrointestinal infections also can cause bloating.
Contact us for more information on how NYC Gastroenterologist Dr. Shawn Khodadadian can help reduce & treat bloating.