What is abdominal bloating?
Abdominal bloating occurs when there is a formation of excess air or gas within one’s stomach. Symptoms can be experienced by both adults and children and are often painful causing discomfort throughout the day. Indicators include feeling a full or tightening sensation. Additionally, flatulence, burping, or stomach gurgles may take place depending on the cause. If there is an infection present or inflammation occurs, a fever may transpire. In severe cases, weight loss, ascites (the buildup of fluid), and even bloody stools have been reported due to medical concerns such as hemorrhoids.
What are the causes?
There are a variety of causes of abdominal bloating which range from indigestion, lactose intolerance, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), gastrointestinal distress or obstruction, pregnancy, etc. If one is exposed to a food allergen, this can negatively impact the gastrointestinal tract and can trigger the immune system to feel attacked. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), most allergic reactions are caused by cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, fish (bass, flounder, cod), shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp), tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), wheat, and soy products.
How to relieve or prevent it
Changing one’s diet can help curve the frequency and severity of abdominal bloating. Become more attuned to how much you eat per meal and how frequently. Eating at a slower rate allows yourself more time to chew and therefore break down your food making it easier for your body to digest. Eating smaller portions throughout the day will help you to avoid overeating as well. Preventing constipation is important when it comes to bloating, therefore you should eat foods high in fiber, stay hydrated, and develop a more active lifestyle. You should incorporate foods into your diet with high-potassium and spices such as those found in cayenne peppers, which help to minimize discomfort.
- Almond or coconut milk (alternatives to cow’s milk)
- Lemon water (to aid digestion)
- Ginger, peppermint, or detox tea (to aid digestion)
- Massaging the area (to promote circulation)
- Turmeric or curcumin supplements (to reduce inflammation)
- Sodium (can cause water retention)
- Artificial Sweeteners (the human body does not digest)
- Gum (can give you gas, can make you swallow air, and can contain artificial sweeteners)
- Carbonated drinks (can add mint, lemon, lime, or cucumber for flavor instead)
- Excess of “gassy greens” (broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower)
If minor abdominal bloating occurs, you can also seek over the counter help at your local drug store or supermarket. If it occurs on a regular basis or for a prolonged period, it is highly recommended that you visit your doctor to relieve any pain and to rule out any serious diagnoses.