Bloated stomach – a subjective feeling associated with abdominal pain and feeling unwell. Bloating can make everyday life much more difficult, as well as negatively affect the appearance of our figure.
Why is our stomach bloated?
The amount of gas in the intestine can increase greatly due to:
- excessive swallowing of air (aerophagia),
- bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates that have not been properly broken down and absorbed,
- diseases affecting the intestine,
- food intolerances,
- excessive consumption of flatulence-causing food.
Symptoms of excessive gas in the intestine:
- stomach bloating,
- excreting smelly gases,
- enlarged abdomen.
In most cases, the symptoms worsen throughout the day, are most troublesome in the evening, and subside during sleep.
People who wish to improve the quality of their diet and begin to include legumes and vegetables can often experience a bloated stomach in the early stages. Food products that contribute to flatulence include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprout, cabbage, onion, garlic, asparagus, soybeans, beans, peas and many more.
These plants contain carbohydrates that are poorly digested by food enzymes and are not absorbed from the digestive tract. Instead, these carbohydrates are food for colorectal bacteria – they undergo fermentation to produce gases. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up on a healthy diet. With the gradual introduction of flatulent foods to a diet, changes will occur in the digestive processes and the composition of the microflora, and so the symptoms will gradually subside.
Intense aerophagia is the result of abnormal behaviour such as:
- eating large meals in a hurry,
- drinking large amounts of carbonated drinks,
- chewing on gum and sucking hard candies,
- nervous speaking,
- smoking cigarettes.
A bloated stomach due to food intolerances
In many cases, troublesome gastrointestinal tract symptoms can occur due to sensitivity to certain foods. Commonly, a bloated stomach indicates food intolerances.
There is a wide range of food intolerance symptoms:
- abdominal pain,
- chronic fatigue,
- feeling unwell,
- a feeling of fullness and indigestion,
- changes to the skin,
- depression and many others.
In the case of food intolerance, symptoms appear about a day after consuming intolerant ingredients and persist for several days, and if consumed regularly, the symptoms may be chronic and do not subside at all. Thus, it is impossible to determine the source of the problem without taking the appropriate blood test.
A bloated stomach – how to relieve the symptoms?
Adequate Food-related behaviours and a properly adjusted diet allow for improved digestion, less air swallowing and easier excretion of intestinal gases. The following tips will help you reduce discomforts such as belching, flatulence, winds and an enlarged abdomen.
- 1. Eat regular, small meals every 3 to 4 hours.
- 2. Chew your food thoroughly and slowly.
- 3. Avoid having conversations during meals.
- 4. Gradually introduce flatulence-causing vegetables as part of your diet, and in the case of irritable bowel syndrome eliminate them for a period of time.
- 5. Limit or exclude food products which your body does not tolerate.
- 6. If you suffer from constipation, increase the amount of fiber intake the form of vegetables, fruits and whole grains (wholemeal pasta, bread, groats, oatmeal).
- 7. Drink plenty of water, minimum 2 to 2.5 litres a day.
- 8. Don’t forget to include probiotics which improve the composition of the intestinal microflora. Probiotics are found in pharmaceutical preparations or naturally occur in yogurt, kefir and pickled foods.
- 9. Give up chewing gum, sucking hard candies and smoking tobacco.
- 10. Be physically active as often as possible.