Bloating, passing gas, and belching can be quite embarrassing and uncomfortable. These reactions are normal and happen during the process of breaking down food in the intestine. But, they may indicate something serious when gas or pain start interfering with the routine activities. Understanding the common causes of bloating and gas would be of help to avoid the triggers.
Bloating is often caused by the accumulation of gas within the stomach and intestine. Pain, either dull or intense, may also be noted along with the uncomfortable feeling of bloating. A bowel movement helps to relieve the bloating feeling.
Bloating may be caused by:
- Having more fatty foods
- Swallowed air
- Foods and beverages
- Certain medicines and supplements
- Certain medical conditions like intestinal infection
- Changes in hormone levels
In most cases, bloating may go away on its own without any specific treatment.
Changing the food habits is the best way to reduce bloating:
- Avoid some common triggers like carbonated drinks, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, fruits like apples, peaches and pears, hard candy and chewing gum.
- Have plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Opt for lactose-free dairy products
- Over-the-counter medications like activated charcoal tablets, antacids, and food enzymes
- Eat slowly
- Quit smoking
Flatulence or intestinal gas is caused by fermentation of certain undigested food components in the intestine. It is also formed when certain components of food are not completely broken down like gluten or sugar.
Some of the other causes of intestinal include:
- Changes in the intestinal flora after having certain medications
- Swallowed air that move to the intestine
- Constipation that allows fermentation of food
- Certain medical conditions like lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome
Excess gas in the intestine can also be prevented by small changes in the lifestyle:
- Avoid food triggers like cabbage, onion, broccoli, bananas, raisins and carbonated drinks.
- Opt for lactose-free dairy products, if lactose is the cause for flatulence.
- Limit the amount of fatty foods as it slows down digestion and allow food to ferment in the intestine.
- Limit the amount of high-fiber food for some time till digestion gets back to normal. High fiber foods are one of the most common causes of fermentation, which leads to gas.
- Eat slowly to have smooth digestion.
- Have over-the-counter medications to relieve the symptoms.
- Take a short walk after eating to aid digestion.