What is bloating?

Bloating is a common digestive issue characterized by a feeling of fullness or tightness in the abdomen. Other symptoms of bloating may include abdominal pain, soreness, belching, gas, and an uncomfortable sense of fullness after eating. Bloating can be a result of diet, an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, or food allergies.

Causes of bloating

Bloating can be caused by a variety of factors such as:

  • Certain foods, such as beans, dried fruit, and bran
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Overeating
  • Food intolerances
  • Constipation
  • Excessive gas in the intestine
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Certain medications
  • Food allergies

Risk Factors for Bloating

Certain people may be more at risk for bloating than others, including those who:

  • Have allergies or food intolerances
  • Are pregnant
  • Have IBS or other digestive issues
  • Are taking certain medications
  • Consume a lot of carbonated drinks

Treatment of Bloating

The best treatment for bloating will depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, lifestyle changes may help to reduce or prevent bloating symptoms, such as:

  • Eating smaller meals throughout the day
  • Limiting gas-producing foods
  • Avoiding foods that may trigger bloating, such as dairy, beans, and cruciferous vegetables
  • Exercising regularly and getting enough sleep
  • Keeping a food diary to monitor foods that may trigger bloating
  • Incorporating probiotics into your diet

For those whose bloating is severe or persistent, further evaluation and treatment by a healthcare professional may be necessary.