Now, today’s topic of conversation for this blog post is something many of us suffer with and have to deal with regularly – bloating. Many of us have had the uncomfortable feeling of being bloated, for some it’s a greater issue and for others it only occurs from time to time. Women generally report greater rates of bloating then men, but this does not mean that men do not suffer with bloating, they do.
Abdominal bloating is defined by individuals experiencing an increase in abdominal pressure, with or without obvious abdomen distention, which can occur in the epigastric, mid abdomen, lower abdomen, or throughout. Abdomen distention is more easily referred to an increase in one’s abdominal girth(1). I often here a lot of people say “I feel/look like I’m 6 months pregnant” when experiencing bloating, this is an example of visual abdominal distention. Those who suffer from bloating may also experience symptoms of trapped gas and/or feelings of fullness(1).
Anyone can suffer from bloating, but those with an intolerance or gastrointestinal disorders/conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are more likely to experience bloating(2). In fact, bloating is reported to be the most frequently complained about symptom from IBS patients(3). Unfortunately, those who persistently suffer from bloating typically experience a much lower quality of life as their day to day activities can often be drastically impacted(4).
But the question on everyone’s mind…what actually causes bloating? Well, it’s quite a complex answer. Typically, bloating occurs when a person’s gastrointestinal tract (GI) becomes filled with excess air or gas. A common cause of the GI tract becoming filled with air is as simple as someone swallowing too much air, for instance when chewing food or whilst running. To manage this a person could try eating more slowly, not talking (as much) when they are eating, and make sure they’re eating whilst sitting down. Moreover, limiting the intake of fizzy drinks consumed will help reduce the amount of excess gas trapped within the GI tract(5).
Constipation could also be another painful cause of bloating; increasing activity levels and fibre consumption should help relieve constipation and in turn reduce the likelihood of bloating(5). Another potential cause of bloating is excess wind, in this instance limiting one’s consumption of beans, onions, cabbage, broccoli, and other foods which are known for causing excess wind should help(5). Food intolerances and coeliac disease may also be causes of someone’s bloating(5).
In any case if you are persistently experiencing bloating I would speak to your GP or another health care professional, they may be something more serious going on.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and found it useful, let me know in the comments below or by liking this post 🙂 I’ve defined some terms below and written my references, so that you can access the sources I’ve read.
Love, Mais xx
Epigastric – the upper section of the abdomen.
Gastrointestinal Tract (GI) – The GI tract is a series of hollow organs that are connected to each other from your mouth to your anus. The organs that make up your GI tract, in the order that they are connected, include your mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome – is a chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder that is associated with persistent abdominal pain and discomfort, coupled with abnormal bowel movements, such as constipation and/or diarrhoea.
Celiac Disease – Coeliac disease is a condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten. It stops you from taking in nutrients.