It’s safe to say that most people will experience bloating at some point. And if not familiar with what’s happening, it’s easy to become emotionally distressed about it. In most cases the discomfort is harmless. But it’s important to know if it’s more serious.
Right now, especially with televisits becoming more common, you can still be seen. So, if you’re feeling something uncomfortable or painful, consider a few of the following points and be ready to set up an appointment.
Abdominal bloating can cause feelings of being “down" or lethargic. It often includes pressure in your abdomen and pain that comes with it can be enough to make you wonder if something is really wrong.
While causes can differ, the effect is usually the same—excess gas in the digestive tract. You may even experience a wide range of embarrassing or uncomfortable symptoms that can include increased belching and flatulence or even the visible swelling of the abdomen.
Though uncomfortable, a single bout of pain and bloating is not typically a cause for alarm. However, if the symptoms persist, it may be time to meet with a doctor. There are some serious conditions that can cause abdominal pain and bloating and the symptoms should not be ignored.
What Causes Bloating?
Knowing the potential causes of bloating, you may be able to narrow down exactly what’s happening and take steps to bring relief or even prevent it in the first place.
Here are some of the possible reasons you might be feeling bloated and gassy:
- Over-eating: Eating too much is one of the most common causes of abdominal bloating. Digesting some foods can create intestinal gas and makes for a combo that can make you feel bloated.
- Eating too quickly: When you scarf your food down, you are inevitably swallowing air along with the food; this air can get trapped in the stomach and build up, leading to bloating.
- Carbonated beverages: The carbon dioxide in the beverage gets released in your digestive tract, and the excess gas can lead to bloating.
- Fatty foods: With a longer digestion time, fatty foods can leave you feeling overly full and bloated for hours.
- Inactivity: Physical activity is beneficial for digestive health because it strengthens the abdominal wall and helps digested food move through your digestive tract. Too much inactivity can add to the body’s propensity to be bloated and gassy.
- Constipation: Often the methods used to treat constipation - eating high-fiber foods, for example - can inadvertently add to the feeling of being bloated.
- Sodium: Water retention can be caused by too much salt. When you’re retaining water, you can feel a bloating sensation in your abdomen and potentially in your extremities.
- Lactose intolerance: Lactose intolerance has symptoms that often include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other digestive health issues.
- Celiac disease: Celiac disease, the inability to digest gluten, has been on the rise in prevalence in recent years and can be attributed to abdominal bloating.
- Intestinal disorders: Some intestinal disorders, like IBS, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, occur in the small and large intestine and often include bloating. In most cases, however, bloating will be just one of the numerous symptoms that point to an intestinal disorder.
- Smoking: Toxins in cigarette smoke can irritate the lining of your stomach and actually add to the feeling of being bloated.
When Should I Talk to My Doctor?
If your symptoms persist or are accompanied by other changes in your body, it may be time to talk to your doctor. For example, when chronic bloating is associated with sudden, unintentional weight loss, it can be a sign of a more serious digestive disorder, which can range from irritable bowel syndrome to more life-threatening conditions such as ovarian cancer.
If you have been suffering from ongoing bloating that does not respond to dietary or lifestyle changes, take advantage of the convenience of a Televisit to start a discussion with your doctor. The Woman’s Clinic has introduced Televisits and can meet with you virtually in the comfort of your own home. If you would like to have the advice of a doctor to discover the best course of action moving forward, simply contact our office here.