For many Americans, suffering from a bloated stomach after every meal is something they can’t control. It’s embarrassing and uncomfortable. But it often may signify more serious health problems.
So what causes a bloated stomach? As with most health issues, the cause may be any number of different conditions. It takes a bit of investigation to sort out the complexity, but here a some (but not all) possible causes of that bloat.
Believe it or not, you could just be dehydrated. There is excellent book I recommend you read on this topic, “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. I know it seems counterintuitive, but the more water you drink, the less bloating you will suffer. Dehydration can halt digestion causing a back up. Not good. Your body holds on to excess water to try to prevent dehydration from happening again, so it is just your body’s precautionary measure. Drink lot’s of water (not soda, coffee, tea, etc.) every day and see if you notice less bloating after you eat. Water is a necessary nutrient that most people are not consuming enough of.
Allergies are common causes of gas and bloating. There are many possible sources of your allergy or allergies, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested. Many people are afraid to get tested as they are concerned that they will never be able to eat their favorite foods again. This isn’t the case as it is a matter of repairing the gut before reintroducing those foods again.
This can be serious if not treated so check for signs of a fever, redness, pain, or swollen lymph nodes. With an infection, inflammation levels rise and can cause the area to become bloated.
Have you seen the new movie on constipation? No? That’s because it hasn’t come out yet! Okay that was a sad attempt at a joke, but being a doctor, I thought it was great. Many people are constipated and don’t even think that they are. They think it is “normal” to only go once every few days. I had one patient that had health problems and had not checked the constipation on the health form that they filled out. When I asked how often they had a bowel movement they replied, “Oh, maybe about once a week!” Get things moving by eating more fiber, drinking more water, and physical activity!
There are a number of different digestive disorders and this could be the cause of your bloating. IBS, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and others fall into this category. Don’t suffer any longer, call our office right away for a consultation.
This is called edema or ascites. Sometimes bodily fluids can be stored around the body (including the abdomen or pelvis) and cause bloating. Some will notice clothes or jewelry getting “tighter”. This may be due to a liver disease or even cancer. This is important to get checked out by a qualified doctor.
This can result from scar tissue or a tumor. If you have a severely bloated stomach with constipation, nausea, and/or vomiting, you will need to consider this possibility. Usually it is painful to press on the abdomen.
The old proverb “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very true when it comes to digestive health. Be kind to your gut and it will be kind to you!
If you need more help or a hands on approach to achieving optimal gut health do not hesitate to give our office a call for an appointment!
Dr. Shah, MD