Why Am I So Bloated?

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

What Are the Symptoms and Causes of Indigestion?

Most of us have experienced indigestion and its symptoms, for example, upper abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, belching, nausea, vomiting, and the feeling of fullness after only eating a few bites. There are common causes of indigestion like GERD or pregnancy. More serious causes include cancers or heart attack.

What does "feeling bloated" mean?

The definition of "bloated" is swelling or distension, and in the medical sense it usually refers to abdominal bloating, which is a distended belly. Bloating may be accompanied by burping (belching), gas (flatulence, farting), and a feeling of fullness. People sometimes refer abdominal bloating as a "bloated stomach" or "bloated belly."

What are common causes of "stomach" bloating?

Increased intestinal gas is one of the most common causes of bloating. Causes of gas include:

  1. Swallowing air from drinking through a straw, chewing gum, or eating too fast.
  2. Eating too fast
  3. Eating too much
  4. Eating fatty foods
  5. Eating foods that create gas in the intestinal tract (such beans, vegetables, and other high fiber foods)
  6. Lactose intolerance
  7. Intestinal disorders, for example, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), IBD (inflammatory bowel disease, which includes including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
  8. Abdominal adhesions due to prior surgery(s) in the abdominal or pelvic region, for example, hysterectomy.

Other common causes of bloating include:

  1. Indigestion
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Menstrual periods
  4. Drinking a lot of soda or other carbonated beverages
  5. Food allergies
  6. Constipation
  7. Smoking
  8. Liver disease

Foods that cause a bloated stomach

Foods high in fiber can often cause bloating and gassiness, especially in people who are not used to eating them regularly. The good news is that eating these foods frequently can result in better tolerance and less bloating and gas (and better health).

  • Raw, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage)
  • Beans and lentils

Other foods that may cause bloating and gassiness include:

  • Greasy, fatty foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream)
  • Salty foods (foods high in sodium, such as processed foods, canned soups, and frozen entrees)

Natural and home remedies for relief of bloating and gas

The best way to relieve and even prevent symptoms of stomach bloating and gas, is a healthy diet and regular exercise. Identify foods that cause you to have bloating or gas, and eliminate them from your diet. Other than vegetables and fruits, many of these foods are not necessary for a healthy and balanced diet. Staying active and exercising helps your digestive system function at its best. Don’t smoke as this can cause or aggravate bloating and gas.

You may want to try one or more of these natural remedies to relieve bloating and gas.

  • Peppermint tea
  • Ginger
  • Chamomile tea
  • Pumpkin

Talk with your doctor or other health care professional before using any natural or home remedy products because they may have unwanted side effects or interactions with medications you currently take.

OTC products for relief of common causes of stomach bloating and gas

For relief of more common, less-serious causes of abdominal or belly bloating, you may want to try these OTC (over-the-counter) products.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/12/2017

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