When excess gas builds up in your digestive tract, it can result in abdominal bloating—a condition that’s uncomfortable and embarrassing. Bloating may present with a distended stomach, excessive gas or belching, or abdominal discomfort, all symptoms that can make you feel self-conscious and disrupt your daily activities. If you’re struggling to manage bloating, here are five key tips to understanding your symptoms and getting them under control:
Adjust Your Diet
Diet plays a huge role in your digestive health, and it may be the reason you’re experiencing persistent bloating. Certain foods can trigger abdominal bloat, so you should be cognizant of common culprits. Excessive intake of sugar or carbs has been known to cause bloating. Foods containing lactose, such as dairy products, and insoluble fiber, such as nuts and seeds, can also cause symptoms. If you find yourself bloated after eating certain foods, it may be worthwhile to cut back on the offending ingredients.
It might seem counterintuitive to drink more water in order to combat bloat, but water intake is important to maintaining proper gastrointestinal functions. Most Americans don’t consume enough liquid on a daily basis, and adequate water intake helps move food through your digestive system. If you’re not drinking enough liquid, you’re increasing your chances of experiencing constipation and associated symptoms like bloating.
Take a Microbial View
Sometimes microscopic issues are behind abdominal bloating. For instance, bacterial overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract can contribute to bloating, as the bacteria process the sugar you eat into gas. In these cases, probiotics and certain antibiotics have been shown to reduce bloating by promoting a healthy balance of gastrointestinal bacteria.
Consider Potential Medical Causes
If you’ve tried adjusting your diet but your bloating persists, there may be a more serious underlying cause. Bloating can be a symptom of medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, a malignancy, a bowel obstruction, gallbladder disease, and more.
Contact a Gastroenterologist
Because there are numerous medical conditions that can result in bloating, it’s important to consult with a gastroenterologist if your symptoms persist or get worse. Make an appointment at Gastroenterology Healthcare Associates today—our specialists can conduct abdominal imaging and any other tests needed to find the cause and help you manage bloating in the future.