It is normal to experience mild to moderate abdominal bloating from time to time; eating too much or eating an unusual food can cause bloating with no underlying problem being present. However, sometimes an underlying issue may be causing the abdominal bloating, especially if bloating is severe or occurs frequently.
Gastrointestinal issues, most of which are mild and will pass on their own in time, can cause abdominal bloating. Some possible gastrointestinal causes of bloating include:
- Eating too quickly
- Lactose intolerance, which can sometimes cause bloating without other obvious symptoms like diarrhea
- Celiac disease
- Eating sugar substitutes such as sorbitol
- Irritable bowel syndrome, a condition characterized by abnormal spasms of the digestive tract, leading to constipation, diarrhea, or both
Less commonly, more serious gastrointestinal conditions can cause bloating, including bowel obstruction, pancreatic insufficiency, and a parasitic infection.
Weight gain doesn’t just put extra padding around the middle – it can also produce a feeling of abdominal bloating that is unrelated to the excess fat itself. This may be related to overeating or the types of foods that are consumed, which are often salty or fatty. In addition, extra fat can press against the organs, leading to a feeling of bloating that the patient is not used to.
The good news is that bloating that occurs as a result of weight gain can be easily resolved by adopting a healthier diet. Even before the weight is lost, eating a diet lower in salt and higher in vegetables and whole grains can help minimize bloating, resulting in a greater feeling of well-being and an enhanced ability to take other steps towards health, such as exercising comfortably.
Pregnancy is a Common Cause of Abdominal Bloating
Pregnancy is one of the most common causes of abdominal bloating. Even before the baby is big enough to press against the organs, hormonal changes that lead to shifts in blood flow and fluid retention can lead to bloating early in pregnancy. If you are sexually active and of childbearing age, a pregnancy test should be performed.
Insulin resistance is a state in which the body’s cells are less sensitive to insulin, which leads to spikes in blood sugar and requires the pancreas to produce higher amounts of insulin to keep blood sugar levels down. Insulin resistance can occur in obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and certain genetic conditions. People with all of these conditions can experience bloating as a result of the insulin resistance, making it one of the most common causes of abdominal bloating.
Bloating is an extremely common symptom before and during menstruation, and is related to fluid retention during that time. Although it may not be possible to completely eliminate the experience of bloating, women can take steps to reduce the amount of bloating. Reducing salt intake, drinking plenty of water, eating plenty of vegetables, and exercising on a regular basis can all help reduce symptoms of bloating.
Rare and Serious Causes
Some rare or serious conditions can lead to bloating, although such conditions are not the most common causes of abdominal bloating. However, because it is always possible that one of these conditions is at play, it is important to visit a doctor about your symptoms if you experience bloating on a regular basis. Ovarian, uterine, or colon cancer can cause bloating, as can celiac disease or ascites.
If you experience abdominal bloating, Dr. Randy Morris would be happy to meet with you. To schedule your consultation today, please click below and enter your information or give us a call at (630) 357-6540.