Abdominal Bloating And What It Could Mean

Abdominal Bloating And What It Could Mean

Abdominal bloating, commonly referred to as gas, is a symptom which one may experience occasionally and which may cause significant uneasiness and discomfort. It is commonly related to the amount of air ingested along with food intake, which is normally expelled with stools as gas or wind.

Another reason for increased abdominal bloating or flatulence is due to bacterial overgrowth in the intestines which can cause excessive production of gas by these organisms. This usually happens following intestinal infections by these organisms.

Svmptoms You Need To Watch Out For

If the abdominal bloating is associated with other symptoms including chronic poor oral intake, prolonged anorexia, nausea and vomiting, abdomen pain, altered bowel movements like prolonged diarrhoea or constipation, passage of blood in stools and fever or weight loss, it is usually indicative of an underlying disorder which needs to be evaluated in detail.

Besides, excessive burping, belching and heartburn are likely to be part of acid peptic disease with associated gastroesophageal reflux symptoms. This is naturally related to either medications or eating habits causing oesophageal and other anatomical abnormalities like a lax lower oesophageal sphincter.

Further, there may also sometimes be an associated hiatus hernia which is a basically a portion of the upper part of the stomach forming another pouch-like structure pushing up through the diaphragm muscle. In chronic dyspepsia (indigestion) an upper gastro-duodenoscopy (endoscopy) may be necessary to look for ulcers, gastric erosions and signs of reflex oesophagitis. An endoscopy will also help to identify associated H. pylori infection which is sometimes associated with chronic gastritis.

A common association with abdominal bloating is altered stools – sometimes semisolid to loose stools up to two-three times a day. This may be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which may be a chronic condition. Acute infective gastroenteritis may also cause the above symptoms, but rarely lasts beyond a week.

Any of the above symptoms lasting for more than one-two weeks need to be evaluated in detail to rule out underlying intestinal problems, including inflammatory bowel conditions, rarely intestinal growths or malignancies which are usually picked up by a colonoscopy and sometimes, by a CT scan of the abdomen.

How To Overcome Abdominal Bloat

  • A regular physical fitness or exercise regime helps to control flatulence, by increasing bowel motility. It also helps regulate good bowel habits.
  • Food and sleep timings should be regular. Untimely eating and overeating at mealtimes, should be avoided.
  • A good intake of water helps to digest the food well and avoid constipation, as constipation leads to bacterial overgrowth and flatulence.

Food Habits That Can Help Avoid Abdominal Flatulence

Timely, small frequent meals help to reduce the load on the digestive system, improves the digestive processes and accelerations metabolism. It also helps to reduce associated hyperacidity features.

Consumption of over greasy, excessively spicy and fatty foods leads to an uneasy feeling and bloating. Thus, these foods should be avoided by those who suffer with digestive issues.

Avoid too much of legumes or grains which may increase the feeling of bloating. Some people may also find it difficult to digest vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower, which may increase the feeling of flatulence. These vegetables and legumes are generally healthy and are good sources of proteins and vitamins, but may worsen dyspeptic symptoms in some individuals.

Dairy products including milk and milk based desserts are known to occasionally increase abdominal bloating symptoms. However curd or yoghurt being tried and tested natural probiotics, are very healthy for the digestive system.

Avoid excessive processed foods high in salt, sugars and other additives.

A good fibre diet provides enough roughage to help expel gas with good bowel movements and reduce abdominal flatulence.

Symptoms lasting for more than one-two weeks need to be evaluated in detail to rule out underlying intestinal problems

Beware Of These Warning Signs

Weight Loss:
If you lose more than 10 per cent of your body weight, without following any proper workout or diet, there is a reason to worry. Some tumours can trigger weight loss and feeling full, after having very less quantity of food.

This is an abnormal build-up of fluids in the abdomen or pelvis. It can cause bloating or weight gain.

Severe Abdominal Pain:
If the severe pain is accompanied by vomiting and nausea, it can be a sign of bowel obstruction from a possible tumour.

Blood In The Stool:
Blood in stool, vaginal bleeding between periods etc. can be associated with serious bloating. Bleeding should always be evaluated, as it can be a symptom of some underlying disease.

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