Get rid of bloating and identify the causes

Get rid of bloating and identify the causes

A bloated stomach (meteorism) is an unpleasant but common symptom affecting almost every fifth person. It is usually caused by an excessive build-up of gas in the intestines, causing the abdomen to bloat uncomfortably. The gases are created during digestion by neutralizing the stomach acid and fatty acids. Nitrogen and carbon dioxide are mainly formed, which can lead to a feeling of overinflation and even abdominal pain. In general, there are many different causes – from various foods and eating habits to stress and certain diseases that can lead to increased gas formation in the intestine. The most common causes and tips for controlling a bloated stomach are explained below.

Possible symptoms of bloating

In the case of meteorism, a bloated stomach can occur as the sole symptom, but other symptoms often accompany the distended stomach. There is usually an unpleasant feeling of fullness or pressure, with the abdomen tense. A bloated stomach can then look like a pregnancy. Frequently occurring accompanying complaints are bloating (flatulence) or acid regurgitation to eliminate the excess air in the stomach. Irregular bowel movements such as diarrhoea or constipation are also possible. It can also cause nausea, fatigue, stomach and back pain.

A bloated stomach’s duration varies and can range from a few minutes after eating to permanent bloating. Occasionally, the bloating is also limited to specific regions, such as a bloated stomach, upper abdomen or lower abdomen.


Bloating: common causes

There are many possible causes of bloating. Often, food intolerance is either congenital or can occur throughout life. These can also be different in severity and vary significantly in symptoms.

The main food intolerances are:

Another common cause of bloating is something called irritable bowel syndrome.

This disease primarily affects women. Irritable bowel syndrome shows pressure and fullness after eating and flatulence, constipation or diarrhoea for at least three months. The symptoms usually improve after a bowel movement.

There are also mechanical reasons for a bloated intestine, such as constipation, narrowed sections of the intestine due to scars, inflammation or a tumour.

Another aspect that is often overlooked but often leads to an uncomfortable feeling of being bloated is psychological factors. The main factors mentioned here are fear and stress, which can lead to hasty eating with a lot of swallowed air. The increased air in the gastrointestinal tract can cause a bloated stomach in the short term.

Rare causes of bloating

Certain medications taken over a more extended period can also cause such symptoms. These include drugs for diabetes therapy from the group of alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, antibiotics containing penicillin, anti-inflammatory drugs such as diclofenac and laxatives such as lactulose.

A clinical picture that also causes digestive problems is chronic pancreatitis. This organ is responsible for the production of digestive enzymes. If the pancreas is chronically inflamed, its function is limited, so the enzymes are no longer produced sufficiently. This can also lead to digestive problems with possible constipation and bloating.

In the so-called blind sac syndrome, bacterial overgrowth occurs in the intestine, with bacteria migrating from the large intestine to the small intestine. There, they disturb the digestion of fat, which leads to greasy stools, abdominal pain, and flatulence overinflation.

Another rare but possible cause is paralysis of certain parts of the intestine or stomach. As a result, digestion does not occur slowly or slowly, leading to constipation, a bloated, hard stomach and gas.


Meteorism: foods that bloat

Consuming certain foods is one of the most common causes of uncomfortable bloating immediately after eating. These include some vegetables from the high-fiber diet, such as cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, celery, carrots, and asparagus. Legumes such as beans and lentils and dried fruits such as raisins or dried bananas, apricots, plums and figs also have a flatulent effect. The same applies to some ready-made foods containing sugar substitutes such as xylitol or sorbitol as flavour carriers.

Not to forget carbonated drinks, alcohol and coffee, which can bloat the stomach and lead to an uncomfortable feeling of pressure.

Possible causes of bloating in women

There are a few other reasons for bloating among women. Some women get indigestion and bloating regularly when their period starts or a few days before the bleeding starts. Due to the increase in the hormone progesterone around this period, the muscles around the gastrointestinal tract become sluggish, and digestion is disturbed. These symptoms often occur as part of the premenstrual syndrome ( PMS ).

Another common clinical picture is the so-called fibroids. These benign nodules grow in the muscular layer of the uterus and, when large enough, can press on the intestines. Therefore, fibroids can also lead to a feeling of constipation and a bloated stomach.

Bloating in pregnancy

The progesterone level also increases during pregnancy and allows the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract to relax. This means the individual food components can be better utilized by passing through the intestines more slowly. However, the formation of gas also increases.

In the course of pregnancy, as the child grows, the abdomen becomes tighter and tighter, which puts more pressure on the intestines. This is more likely to lead to constipation and a bloated stomach with gas.


Get rid of a bloated stomach: what to do against a bloated stomach?

Due to the many different causes of a bloated stomach, there are also other approaches to getting rid of the unpleasant bloated stomach. In the following, we present some tips against meteorism.

Foods for bloating

If you already have a bloated stomach, you can use simple home remedies to relieve it. There are some medicinal plants, such as fennel, peppermint, aniseed, ginger and caraway, which, when prepared as a tea, can have an antispasmodic effect on the intestines.

Abdominal massages in meteorism

Sometimes, gentle clockwise abdominal massages also help to stimulate digestion and transport along the intestines to the rectum.


Medicines for bloating

If all this is not enough, medication can also help. Meteorism therapy can then be carried out with defoaming agents that are only effective in the intestines. Examples of this are medicines containing silicone, such as dimethicone and simethicone, which are taken with or after meals and can also be used in pregnant women and children.

Intestinal cleansing for bloating

A more long-term remedy for bloating is treatment with intestinal cleansing. This is carried out with selected bacterial strains intended to bring the disturbed intestinal flora back into balance, which can cause increased gas formation in the intestine. Accordingly, these probiotics inhibit the gas-producing intestinal flora and favour gas-consuming bacteria. Probiotics can be added daily to yoghurt, and a medical consultation is recommended in advance to select suitable probiotics.

What do you do if you have a bloated stomach without flatulence?

Even if you have a bloated stomach without gas, you should first try to find the cause so that appropriate treatment can be given. There is also an excessive accumulation of gases in the intestine with an unpleasant feeling of pressure, which cannot be reduced by flatulence. The causes can also be poorly tolerated foods or the symptoms mentioned above. Above all, pay attention to your eating habits and whether you can see a connection with certain foods.


Meteorism: when to see a doctor?

If other symptoms accompany your complaints and are a heavy burden on you in everyday life, a visit to a doctor is advisable. This person can use various examinations to determine whether there is an organic cause.

Tips to prevent bloating

To avoid bloating at all, there are a few tips you can follow:

  • Eat slowly.
  • Chew food thoroughly.
  • Avoid flatulent or poorly tolerated foods.
  • Soak legumes before eating.
  • You should always steam vegetables that cause gas.
  • Avoid a few large meals and eat several small, easily digestible portions daily.
  • Before eating, drink some apple cider vinegar mixed with lukewarm water in small sips.
  • Avoid chewing gum to avoid swallowing air unnecessarily.
  • Make sure you exercise regularly.

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