Causes and symptoms of bloating
- Causes of bloating
- Symptoms of bloating
- Bloating after eating
- What to do with bloating?
- Treating bloating
What is bloating?
Bloating (flatulence) is the accumulation of gas in the intestines due to indigestion. This process is most often accompanied by bloating, an increase in the abdomen in volume and an unpleasant feeling of fullness from the inside.
Without a doubt, we all, to one degree or another, have experienced this on ourselves and we know very well what inconvenience this ailment can cause. Gas-filled intestines create a feeling of full stomach, and the colic caused by this is a lot of trouble, making us feel uncomfortable.
Flatulence also occurs in healthy people, but most often it serves as a manifestation of other, more serious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Gases in the intestines can accumulate with pathologies such as:
- chronic pancreatitis - the body lacks enzymes produced by the pancreas and as a result, bloating appears after eating any type of food.
- irritable bowel syndrome - there is a violation of the motor function of the intestine, bloating in this case is accompanied by pain,
- dysbiosis - the balance of microflora is disturbed, and harmful microorganisms begin to produce gases (methane, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia),
- lactose intolerance - the body of adults often lacks enzymes that promote the absorption of lactose (milk sugar),
- intestinal obstruction - the passage of gases can be difficult due to the development of a tumor or polyps.
It is possible to get rid of bloating for a while at home, but it is better to find the root cause of the disease together with a doctor. Remember that traditional medicine is not a substitute for mainstream therapy, but just an addition to it.
Causes of bloating
Nutrition as the main cause of bloating
- Very often, excessive consumption of various kinds of carbonated drinks leads to an excessive accumulation of gas in the esophagus. Usually, this bloating goes away without causing any particular inconvenience, since gases in a healthy person are quickly absorbed by the intestinal walls or are excreted physiologically.
- It is also possible for air to enter the stomach in large portions during meals. Therefore, one should not rush to eat food.
- Remember that some foods eaten in large quantities cause fermentation reactions and, as a result, gas formation. To avoid undesirable consequences, you should moderate the consumption of sweets and muffins, black bread, beans, potatoes and other foods that contain large amounts of easily digestible carbohydrates, fiber or starch.
- Another cause of gas build-up is mixing foods that need to be eaten separately. This is especially true for fruits that need to be eaten either one hour before the main meal, or not earlier than 2 hours after eating.
Sometimes the cause of bloating may be an attempt to get rid of heartburn by drinking baking soda, as it neutralizes the acidic environment of gastric juice and provokes increased gas production.
Bloating is also a major symptom of the rare condition celiac disease. According to statistics, in Russia 1 person in 1000 has celiac disease. In celiac disease, gluten is not completely broken down, forming toxic substances that damage the inner surface of the intestine. It is treated exclusively with a gluten-free diet, or with the constant intake of enzymatic preparations that will help break down gluten.
Read more: What is Celiac Disease?
Symptoms of bloating
Most often, bloating is not an independent disease, but only a symptom of other, more serious diseases of the digestive system.
Excessive gas formation in the intestines is possible with chronic pancreatitis, a disease in which the body lacks enzymes produced by the pancreas. In this case, bloating usually occurs after a meal, regardless of its composition.
Also, flatulence can be caused by irritable bowel syndrome. In this case, the motor function of an anatomically healthy intestine is disrupted, and bloating is accompanied by abdominal pain, and in some cases also diarrhea or constipation.
Bloating can be caused by intestinal obstruction caused by a tumor or polyps. In this case, the passage of gases from the intestines is difficult and leads to flatulence.
Excessive gas formation can be a consequence of intestinal dysbiosis. Due to a decrease in the protective properties of the body in the large intestine, a violation of the microflora occurs. Harmful microbes that enter there produce gases in large quantities (mainly ammonia, methane and hydrogen sulfide). This process leads to bloating, accompanied by a fetid odor.
Also, flatulence often accompanies individual lactose intolerance - a condition in which the body lacks enzymes that allow a person to assimilate dairy products.
Bloating and abdominal pain. The pain is usually short-lived but painful. The unpleasant sensations disappear when the gas passes through the intestines. Pain can occur at various points in the abdominal cavity and, passing through the intestines, change location. If you feel prolonged and intense pain for a long time, then this may be a signal that the cause is not bloating, but some more serious illness.
Bloating after eating
In most cases, flatulence is associated with poor diet. In a healthy person, bloating can be caused by accidentally swallowing a large portion of air with food, or by drinking heavily carbonated drinks. Also, unpleasant sensations can occur if one or another food is poorly absorbed by the body. Therefore, instead of being digested, it begins to form gases.
Dairy foods can be another cause of bloating. The enzyme lactose is needed to digest this type of food. Milk and similar products can cause discomfort if not in sufficient quantities. Coarse fiber or starch products, such as seeds, cabbage, potatoes, nuts, and oats, may also be the cause. If flatulence occurs frequently, such products should be excluded. And, in the case of their use, it should be remembered that this kind of food must be chewed very carefully, otherwise discomfort may arise.
What to do with bloating?
One day after bloating, the bowels should be allowed to rest. Eat only boiled rice and wash it down with herbal teas. Subsequently, you should review your diet. From meat, you should give preference to chicken, turkey and veal, from cereals - rice. Milk should be replaced with fermented milk products (cheese, yoghurts). You need to drink teas from mint, St. John's wort and chamomile. It is good to add spices and herbs that reduce gas formation to dishes: ginger, caraway seeds, cardamom, parsley, dill, fennel.
To understand what specific foods cause bloating, you should focus on your feelings. Track the sensations that you experience while taking this or that product, and draw conclusions. Medical intervention, in most cases, is limited to the intake of enzyme preparations. And if you suspect an infection or bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, antibiotics are prescribed.
Treatment should be started with conventional enterosorbents, which quickly absorb excess gases in the intestines and remove them. The most common way to combat bloating is using activated charcoal (1 g three times a day). However, enterosorbents also remove useful substances from the body, so it is not recommended to use them for a long time.
Other enterosorbents include:
- White coal
Antifoam preparations. Defoamers do not remove gases, but accelerate their removal in a natural way. The drugs are not toxic and are prescribed even for small children. The most popular remedy is Espumisan (Simethicon, Simikol), Pepsan-R.
Enzymes. If digestion is disturbed due to a weak pancreas, enzyme preparations are prescribed: Mezim forte, Creon, Pancreatin, Micrasim.
Probiotics. Probiotics are products that contain a large amount of beneficial microflora for our intestines. By increasing their number, improving immunity, putrefactive microflora and gas formation are suppressed. The most popular probiotics: Linex, Bifidumbacterin, Bifiform, Hilak Forte, Normoflorin B, Yogulakt, Bifiliz, Primadophilus.
Herbal remedies. The most popular remedy is dill fruit or dill water, which is often prescribed for newborns.
Additional measures. You should also exclude foods that promote fermentation from the diet. Such provocateurs can be baked goods, sweets, milk, fresh vegetables, peas and beans.
Physical exercises aimed at normalizing bowel function can also improve overall well-being and relieve discomfort. To do this, you should do morning exercises every day, including squats and leg raises. Swimming, walking or jogging are also helpful.
If the bloating is not caused by an unhealthy diet, but is a consequence of any disease, then the very cause of flatulence should be treated, in consultation with a doctor.
[Video] Dr. Berg - What to do if you have bloating, constipation, acid belching?
The author of the article: Gorshenina Elena Ivanovna | Gastroenterologist
Education: Diploma in the specialty "General Medicine" received at the Russian State Medical University named after N. I. Pirogova (2005). Postgraduate studies in the specialty "Gastroenterology" - educational and scientific medical center.