What exactly is bloating?

Bloating is a condition that happens in the abdomen (stomach). It occurs when your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is partially or completely filled with air or gas. The gastrointestinal system extends from the mouth to the anus (bottom). It encompasses the entirety of your digestive system. When you’re bloated, it feels like you’ve eaten a large dinner and there’s no more place in your stomach. If you have a constricted and bloated stomach, it can be inconvenient or even unpleasant. 

Bloating Signs And Symptoms

  • Blood in your stool
  • Noticeable weight loss 
  • Bleeding in the uterus (between your periods, or if you are postmenopausal)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn that is worsening
  • Fever (due to an infection)
Vomiting Woman

Consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms in addition to bloating.

When the GI system is filled with air or gas, bloating occurs. Something as basic as the food you ate can cause this. Some foods are more gas-producing than others. Being lactose intolerant can also cause this. 

Bloating can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Taking a breath (this can happen when you chew gum, smoke, or eat too fast)
  • Constipation
  • Overeating
  • Reflux is a term used to describe a condition (GERD)
  • Gaining weight

Other factors to consider are medical issues such as:

  • Infection
  • Inflammation, a term used to describe the state of a condition such as diverticulitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 
  • Inflammation of the pelvis (PID)
  • Hepatitis, a disease of the liver (abnormal buildup of fluid in your stomach or pelvis)
  • Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel illness 
  • A blockage in your intestines or bladder.
  • Cancer(ovarian, uterine, colon, pancreatic, or stomach)
  • Anxiety or depression 

What are the symptoms of bloating and how can you know if you have it?

A physical exam in the office can help your doctor figure out what’s causing your bloating. They’ll question you about your symptoms. They’ll want to know if your bloating is only occasional or frequent.

Bloating that occurs over a short period of time is usually not dangerous. If it occurs frequently, your doctor may prescribe more tests such as an imaging examination to check within your abdomen. An X-ray or a CT scan could also be administered. 

Is it possible to prevent or avoid bloating?

Bloating can be prevented and avoided in a variety of ways:

Changing your diet is usually the first line of defense against gas and bloating. A low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) diet has been proven to help with gas and IBS symptoms. Fermentable, gas-producing dietary elements are avoided in a low FODMAP diet.


 Among the examples are:

  • Wheat, onions, garlic, lentils, and beans contain oligosaccharides.
  • Lactose in milk, yogurt, and ice cream are examples of disaccharides.
  • Apples and pears include monosaccharides, such as fructose (a form of sugar found in fruits and honey).
  • Foods like apricots, nectarines, plums, and cauliflower, as well as many chewing gums and candies, contain polyols, or sugar alcohols.

Foods that are known to produce gas should be avoided. The examples are:

  • Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, beans, and lentils
  • Chewing gum
  • When drinking, avoid using straws.
  • Carbonated beverages should be consumed in moderation or not at all (such as soda).
  • Reduce or eliminate fructose and sorbitol-containing meals and beverages from your diet. Artificial sweeteners can be found in a variety of sugar-free foods.
  • Eat slowly

To avoid constipation, eat more fiber-rich meals. If eating healthy foods isn’t enough, consider taking a fiber supplement. If you discover that dairy products produce gas and bloating, avoid them.