Anyone can feel bloated and quite often the reason is harmless. It can simply be your diet that causes bloating, but sometimes it can be something more serious. Here are the symptoms of the condition and eight reasons why you might be bloated.
Being bloated is very common, but you may not be aware that you are, so here are the most common symptoms:
- Your tummy feels full or bigger than usual
- You have abdominal pain or discomfort
- Your tummy is rumbling or making noises
- You're passing wind more than usual
You may be bloated because of food and drink
One of the most common reasons for being bloated is the food and drink you consume during the day. You may have an excess build-up of gas in your stomach causing your belly to swell. Certain vegetables and fizzy drinks can cause this. The most common foods that cause bloating are beans, pulses, and fatty, salty and spicy foods.
You may be bloated because of swallowing air
Another really coming reason for bloating is aerophagia, also known as swallowing air. If this is why you are bloated you’ll likely be burping more than usual. Aerophagia can be a nervous habit or it can happen while you chew, eat or talk quickly. It can also happen if you drink through a straw.
You may be bloated because of constipation
Constipation can be another cause of bloating. To know if you are constipated you should look out for these three signs:
- You have not had a poo at least three times during the last week
- The poo is often large and dry, hard, or lumpy
- You are straining or in pain when you have a poo
You may be bloated because of a food intolerance
You may be bloated because you have a food intolerance, which is when your gut has trouble digesting certain foods and your body has a reaction—often unpleasant—to it. Food intolerance can cause bloating as well as stomach pains and will often occur a few hours after you’ve eaten a certain food.
You may be bloated because of coeliac disease
Coeliac disease is a condition where your immune system attacks your body’s tissues when you eat gluten. Symptoms of coeliac disease include diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating. If you think you have coeliac disease, you should consult your GP.
You may be bloated because of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a condition that affects your digestive system and is actually quite common. It can cause cramping, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. These symptoms can come and go or they can sometimes last several days, weeks or even months. IBS is a chronic condition but can be managed if you know which foods trigger your IBS. If you suspect having IBS, you should see your GP.
You may be bloated because of menstrual periods
If you have a uterus, your monthly periods may be behind your bloated stomach. Bloating can be an early sign of your menstrual period and you may feel like you’ve gained weight or that your abdomen is swollen or tight.
You may be bloated because of ovarian cancer
Bloating could be a sign of ovarian cancer if it is paired with the following symptoms:
- a swollen tummy or feeling bloated
- pain or tenderness in your tummy or pelvis
- no appetite or feeling full quickly after eating
- an urgent need to pee or needing to pee more often
You should consult your GP immediately if you believe it may be ovarian cancer.
How to get rid of bloating
If you want to get rid of your bloated belly you could do some of the following:
- Exercise regularly to improve your digestion and help prevent bloating
- Chew with your mouth closed to avoid swallowing air
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat foods high in fibre if constipated
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of large meals
- Massage your stomach from right to left to release trapped wind
- Ask a pharmacist about laxatives and other medicines for bloating