A bloated stomach can reduce quality of life by causing pain, discomfort, and anxiety. It can feel full, tight, or swollen in the abdominal area when bloated, and may feel hard and painful. The issue is often accompanied by additional symptoms such as excess gas, frequent burping, and abdominal gurgling. There are many reasons why this occurs, and it’s important to discover the cause to find effective relief.
Bloating can be a cause for concern when it begins interfering with your ability to work or participate in social activities, causes you pain, or is very consistent. People who experience this should contact a medical professional for guidance and support.
Understanding why your stomach feels bloated can help you get back to enjoying your life again without having to worry about a protruding stomach or abdominal pain. This guide will help you understand what could be causing this issue, as well as holistic medicine solutions to help you find real relief.
9 Common Causes of Bloating
Bloating typically occurs due to a buildup of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. It can make the belly look swollen or misshapen and generally is due to digestive issues, diet, or hormonal changes, but it can also occur for other reasons. Some of the most common causes are:
Bloating caused by gas can lead to anything from mild discomfort to intense pain. Certain foods such as broccoli, cabbage, and beans can create excessive gas.
Indigestion causes discomfort or pain in the stomach. It can result from eating too much or too quickly, drinking excess alcohol, or taking medications, such as ibuprofen, that irritate the stomach.
3. Chronic Disorders
Certain chronic disorders affect the stomach and the gut, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease causes inflammation in the digestive tract, and IBS is used to describe any type of chronic gut symptoms.
Stomach infections can cause all types of gastrointestinal issues, including gas, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea. Bacteria such as Escherichia coli or Helicobacter Pylori often cause stomach infections, as can viral infections such as norovirus or rotavirus.
5. Fluid Retention
Our bodies sometimes retain more fluid than usual. This could be due to eating salty food, experiencing hormonal changes, or having food intolerances. There are cases where the bloating does not go away and becomes more chronic, however. That could indicate a medical condition and should be discussed with a medical professional.
6. Food Intolerance
People who experience a bloated stomach after eating certain foods may have a food intolerance. Some examples of this are lactose intolerance, in which dairy causes indigestion and other stomach issues, and celiac disease, a digestive reaction to gluten.
7. Gynecological Disorders
Female health conditions such as endometriosis, which occurs when the lining of the womb attaches to the stomach or the intestines, can cause bloating and cramping.
8. Bacteria Overgrowth
A variety of bacteria live in our stomach and intestines to help the body digest food. Disturbing these bacteria can lead to an increase in harmful bacteria in the small intestine. This is known as SIBO – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. It can cause bloating and other issues like diarrhea, digestion difficulties, and poor nutrient absorption.
Constipation can stem from dehydration, food intolerance, bowel disorders, medications, nutrient deficiencies, and other reasons. This can also cause bloating for some people.
There are many reasons why your stomach may be having these issues. People who notice symptoms should take note of when they experience the discomfort most often and talk with a medical expert to determine the root cause and effective solutions.
Holistic Solutions for When Your Stomach Is Bloated
Stomach bloating is painful and uncomfortable, but effective solutions are available through naturopathic medicine and natural solutions. Here are a few holistic ways to get relief:
1. Get Moving
Getting regular exercise helps move stool and gas out of the colon. It can also help regulate bowel movements and release excess sodium through sweat, which can relieve water retention. Going for a simple walk around the block can reduce gas pressure and make bowel movements smoother. Certain yoga poses can release excess gas from the gastrointestinal tract.
2. Capsules and Supplements
Certain capsules and supplements can help ease indigestion and gas. Peppermint capsules are effective for this use, as well as potassium and probiotics. Potassium can decrease sodium levels and increase the production of urine, which is excellent for reducing bloating caused by water retention. Probiotics can help regulate the bacteria in the colon that produce gas and cause bloating. Contact a medical expert for more information about supplements and capsules you can take.
3. Abdominal Massage and Heating Pad
Performing an abdominal massage can help the bowels move more freely and easily. Following the path of the large intestine and rubbing in a circular motion, followed by a heating pad, can help.
4. Warm Bath
Taking a warm bath can relieve a sore, protruding abdomen. The body relaxes in the heat, which can reduce stress levels, improve gastrointestinal function.
5. Diet Changes and Nutrition
The diet plays a significant role in preventing and reducing stomach bloating. There are many ways you can change your diet to minimize the issue.
- Eating more fiber can help with bowel movement, which helps prevent constipation and bloating.
- Sugar, artificial sweeteners, and fizzy drinks cause bubbling in the stomach, so consider eliminating them.
- Cutting back on salt reduces sodium intake, which can reduce water retention and bloating.
- Avoid gas-causing foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, beans, and lentils.
- FODMAPs are carbohydrates that occur in different types of foods. Eating a low-FODMAP diet can help reduce bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
- Eating foods containing probiotics, such as Greek yogurt and kefir, can help keep the gut healthy.
The way you eat your food is perhaps just as important as the type of food you eat. Make sure you eat at regular intervals and eat slowly. Eating smaller meals more slowly will reduce the amount of air you are taking into your digestive tract, avoiding gas. Eliminating straws can also help, because they can cause you to take in more air when drinking. All these tips are beneficial for prevention when your stomach is bloated, but if the issue is consistent or painful, it’s important to speak with a medical professional about your symptoms.
Find Out More
Holistic medicine and treatments have provided relief for many who haven’t had success with traditional medical solutions. Dr. Karen Threlkel specializes in treating the body as a whole through naturopathic care to find remedies that work. Our team offers a full range of naturopathic services designed to get you to full health and vitality.
Book a virtual appointment or a visit to our Washington, D.C., office today to find out how you can reduce bloating, gas, and abdominal pain naturally.