Bloated Stomach: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention & Treatments

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Bloating is nothing but a feeling that the abdomen is full. In some cases, it will be larger than the normal size. On the other hand, you will feel that your stomach is full when you experience distention. The stomach will be larger than the normal size. You might want to loosen the waist belt. In some cases, bloating will be similar to mild distention. There will not be an increase in the size of the stomach until the volume increases by one quart.

Some people will experience bloating due to the mild relaxation of muscles of the abdominal walls. In this process, the diaphragm will move downwards. Poor diet and high levels of stress will also lead to a bloated stomach. There are people who will depend upon daily medications and the exposure to pollutants will also increase the risk of a bloated stomach. Bloated stomach is uncomfortable and you will want to rush to the bathroom quite frequently.

Symptoms of Bloated Stomach

–  Bloated stomach is different from the accumulation of fat around the stomach. If the stomach is filled with air, you will feel bloated stomach and it is a temporary condition.

–  If there is built-in gas in the digestive system, your stomach will protrude.

–  When you feel bloated, you should check for other symptoms as well. you should be concerned about the following symptoms:

–  Fever

–  watery eyes

–  skin rashes

–  fatigue

–  brain fog

–  trouble concentrating

–  pain around lymph nodes

–  unintentional weight loss

–  vomiting or nausea

–  constipation or diarrhoea

–  blood in the urine or stool

–  The abdominal pain will be different in different parts of the body. The pain can be experienced anywhere between the chest and pelvis. You can experience cramp-like, dull, achy, or sharp pain.

–  If the pain is mild to severe, it can be due to overeating, gas, stress or indigestion. The bloating of this kind will subside in a few hours.

Causes of Bloated Stomach

–  Abdominal distention can form in three ways.

–  In some patients, there will be an increase in air, fluid or tissue in the abdomen

–  There will be a change in the air, fluid and tissue due to various conditions and the change varies from one person to another person

–  Patients may experience continuous or intermittent distention

–  If there is enlargement within the abdomen, it will lead to continuous distention

–  The distention may take place due to an intra-abdominal tumour

–  Some patients suffer due to the collection of fluid from the peritoneal cavity

–  There are people who suffer from the condition due to obesity

–  Some patients suffer intermittent distention due to the accumulation of gas or fluid. It may accumulate in the stomach, colon or small intestine.

–  An intestinal bacterium is the source of excessive gas. The bacteria will produce the gas after digesting the food items. Bacteria will produce carbon dioxide as well. However, it will be absorbed by the intestine very rapidly.

–  If there is poor digestion of sugars or mal-absorption of lactose (sorbitol or fructose), it will lead to gas formation.

–  The intestine lining should have lactase, an enzyme. If the enzyme is not present in the lining, it can be considered a genetic trait. It will lead to poor digestion.

–  Starches available from plants produce gas in the intestines. Starches are nothing but a long chain of sugars. The source of starch is wheat, potatoes, rice, oats and corn.

–  Rice will be digested very easily. The undigested rice will reach the colon and it will lead to the production of gas.

–  If you eat whole grains, the gas production will be higher than the purified grains. The fibre present in grains will be removed during the processing towards the production of refined flour.

–  The undigested starch from beans and cabbage will reach the colon and they will be converted into gas very easily by the bacteria.

–  The cellulose present in vegetables and fruits will not be digested properly and it will pass through the small intestine. However, the colon will react with the cellulose very slowly and the gas production is not drastic.

–  Some people suffer from a bloated stomach due to allergies, thyroid dysfunction, hormonal imbalance, and gut troubles. The doctor will narrow down the culprit to find out the cause.

–  If there is a problem in eliminating the waste from the body in a natural way, you may suffer from a bloated stomach.

–  There are unrelated issues such as sleep and stress that will also lead to bloating.

How Bloated Stomach is diagnosed?

–  The root cause of the abdomen distention should be figured out.

–  You should talk to your doctor to understand the exact nature or cause of bloating.

–  Even though there are no specific tests to understand or evaluate the bloated stomach, the doctor will go through the stool test, blood test and ultrasound test to assess the true condition of the patient. The tests are intended to check the blockage.

–  Enema and gastric emptying tests are conducted to further evaluate the condition.

–  A breath test, endoscopy and oesophagal manometry will be conducted in some patients as per the requirement.

–  The common blood count will measure the levels of different cells in the blood. The blood loss or infection can be ruled out in a very efficient manner.

–  The urine test will find out the urinary tract infections. In women, it can be used to check for pregnancy.

–  The stool test will be used to figure out the abnormalities in the digestive system or infection

–  The imaging test will be used to figure out the structural abnormalities. Various kinds of imaging tests include x-ray, CT-scan, MRI scan and ultrasound.


–  The accumulation of gas can be prevented through flatulence. The intestinal muscles will contract and eject the gas on a regular basis.

–  The gas can be absorbed by the blood present in the lining of the intestine. The gas will travel with the blood and will be excreted through the lungs through the exhalation.

–  Gas can be used by bacteria present in the intestine. The gas formed by the bacteria will be removed by the other good bacteria present in the intestines.

–  You should follow the tips offered by experts to overcome bloating stomach.

–  You should ensure that the food items contain a minimum amount of fibre or fluids so that there will not be constipation. Your physical activity will also play an important role in avoiding constipation.

–  You should rule out wheat allergy or lactose intolerance. If you are affected by food allergy, there will be bloating.

–  You should avoid drinking artificial sweeteners so arrest bloating

–  By eating several meals per day instead of a few large meals, you can control a bloated abdomen.

Treatment of Bloated Stomach

–  Diet and routine will have a great impact in treating the bloated stomach.

–  By staying active, the overall function of the body will be at an optimal level. You will be able to overcome constipation very easily. The lymphatic fluid will flow throughout the body in a very efficient manner. You should choose a moderate exercise routine. By overtraining, you will go into the stressful condition and there will not be disturbed fluid levels in the body.

–  To overcome bloating, you should drink sufficient water. You should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. The bloating will become worse by consuming carbonated drinks. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks should be avoided.

–  You should take steps to reduce stress. If you are tired, there will be a great impact on the digestive system. There will be close interaction between the gut and the brain. The production of enzymes, saliva and other secretions will be produced in the digestive system with the signal generated from the brain. If you are anxious, there will be a change in the communication. There are hormones that are responsible for your appetite.

–  You may want to avoid pain medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin to overcome a bloated stomach. If you get pain due to a gastric ulcer or intestinal obstruction, there will be great pain.


–  Excess gas production in the body will lead to a bloated stomach. The protein digestion should be efficient. If food items go through fermentation, gas production will take place.

–  The inability to break down sugar and carbohydrates will lead to the formation of gas. If the enzymes are not produced by the body to digest certain food elements, gas formation will take place.

–  You should visit the doctor if you have uncontrolled vomiting, blood in vomit, blood in stool, loss of consciousness, no bowel movements for three days, and uncontrolled diarrhoea.

–  If there is bloating after every meal, you should fix an appointment with the doctor.

–  If there are painful bowel movements or painful sexual intercourse, you should visit the doctor.

–  If the upper part of the stomach is pushed up, it leads to hiatal hernia. The common symptoms include belching, heartburn, chest pain and trouble swallowing.

–  By drinking contaminated water, you will be exposed to a parasitic infection called Amebiasis. There will be severe symptoms and the symptoms are traced in 1 to 4 weeks.

–  When your small intestine is affected by microscopic parasites, it will lead to giardia. The condition occurs by coming in contact with the affected people. By eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, you will be affected by giardia.

–  Some people will suffer from abdominal bloated due to hookworm infection. Hookworms are parasites and they can affect your skin, lungs and small intestine. If you are affected by hookworm infection, you may find colic, abdominal pain, fever, intestinal cramps, blood in stool and loss of appetite.

–  There will be great emotional and physical symptoms through premenstrual syndrome. It is found on certain days of the menstrual cycle. 85% of women are affected by premenstrual syndrome. The symptoms are found 5 to 11 days before the menstruation and it will subside after the menstruation. There will be a change in hormone and serotonin levels in the body which may lead to PMS.

–  The reaction of the body’s immune system will be different for different food items. If there is a food allergy, it will affect the skin, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, or cardiovascular system.

–  Some kinds of food items such as soy, peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, tree nuts, and wheat are allergic. You should have a keen observation to figure out the allergic reaction. Your physician can help you figure out the issue and by avoiding the allergic items, there will be a great improvement in your condition. Certain kinds of food allergies lead to sneezing, swelling, rash, stuffy or a runny nose, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.


Myth #1: Bloated stomach is similar to carrying excess mass – Bloated stomach is not similar to carrying excess weight around the abdomen. It should not be treated as water weight. The water may retain in other parts of your body such as feet, face and ankles.

Myth #2: Most of the gas present in the stomach is the swallowed air – 50% of the gas present in the stomach is swallowed air. The rest of the gas is produced from the bacteria present in the gut. The gastrointestinal tract should act quickly in dealing with the excess gas. If it fails to clear the gas, it will be lead to a bloated stomach.


To deal with a bloated stomach, you should avoid bloat-inducing foods. Indigestible fruits, vegetables, beans and sugars should be avoided. People suffering from intestinal distress should avoid dairy products as some people will find it difficult to digest lactose or milk sugar. If you are suffering from temporary bloating, it will subside automatically. You should implement a healthy lifestyle and avoid alcoholic and carbonated beverages. You should visit the doctor to find out the root cause and the most appropriate treatment option should be exercised to overcome a bloated stomach.

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