A bloated stomach is when you feel tightness, pressure, or fullness in your belly. Bloating can happen for various reasons and may or may not cause your abdomen to look swollen. The discomfort can range from mild to severe and can be a recurring problem for some people.
If your bloated stomach persists, it’s important to seek medical care to determine the underlying cause.
Common Causes of Bloating
Excess intestinal gas is the most common cause of stomach pain and bloating. It can occur if you eat too quickly, have a food intolerance, or have other conditions that lead to the build-up of gas and digestive contents.
Hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle can also cause temporary bloating.
However, in some cases, a bloated stomach may indicate a more serious medical condition.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Bloating that comes and goes is often related to digestive or hormonal factors, and it’s not usually a cause for concern if the symptoms resolve on their own.
However, if the bloated stomach persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other severe symptoms like fever or vomiting, it’s important to seek medical attention to rule out underlying medical conditions such as;
- Pancreatic insufficiency
- Inflammation of the stomach or intestines
Treatment and Prevention
The duration of a bloated stomach depends on the cause. If it’s due to diet, hormone fluctuations, or mild constipation, it should start to improve within a few hours to a few days.
If constipation is the issue, it will resolve once bowel movements occur.
Home remedies can help relieve bloating, such as;
- Drinking herbal teas like peppermint, chamomile, ginger, turmeric, and fennel
- Using peppermint oil capsules as a natural antispasmodic
- Taking antacids with simethicone to relieve inflammation and pass gas
- Using magnesium supplements to neutralise stomach acid and relax intestinal muscles
- Taking probiotics to supplement gut bacteria and using fibre supplements like psyllium husks or over-the-counter laxatives to promote regular bowel movements.
- Regular exercise, particularly core body strengthening, can also help combat abdominal bloating.
Preventing stomach bloating involves making lifestyle changes. Consider these things to help prevent bloating:
- Eat more fibre
- Drink sufficient amounts of water
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid processed foods
- Practice mindful eating
- Pay attention to sensitivities
- Drink less alcohol
If the cause of bloating is specific, such as a food intolerance, perimenopause, or a medical condition, professional diagnosis and treatment may be necessary.