Why am I so bloated? 14 Causes Behind That Bloated, Bloated Feeling

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There’s no mistaking bloating — you know, that feeling of pressure in your stomach that’s akin to swallowing a bowling ball. Most of us deal with this from time to time, and it’s usually NBD. “Transient bloating every now and then can be totally normal,” Elena Ivanina, DO, gastroenterologist at Northwell Health Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and founder of GutAmorhe says to himself.

Still, it can also be very uncomfortable, so you’d probably prefer to avoid it – and that starts with finding out what’s really behind it. There are several common causes of bloating that could be to blame, from what you eat to certain health problems to simply sitting too much. Here are some possible reasons why you feel so bloated and what you can do to avoid it.

1. You’re eating a lot of fiber-filled foods…

Oftentimes, a bloated stomach just comes down to what’s on the menu. Namely, fiber-rich foods such as beans, lentils, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, whole grains, onions and apples. When the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract start breaking down the fiber in your bean burrito or kale and quinoa salad, they create gas as a byproduct, according to Danielle VenHuizen, MS, RDN, a Seattle-based nutritionist who focuses on gut health and founder of Food/Sense Nutrition Counseling. And all that gas can build up and make you bloat.

Again, this is pretty normal, especially if you don’t get a lot of fiber regularly. The good news is that your digestive system becomes more efficient at breaking down dietary fiber when it is used to doing so. So eating more This can help you curb bloating in the long run, VenHuizen tells SELF. Just make sure increase your fiber intake slowly (say, a few grams a week – which could be like adding some flaxseeds to breakfast or a serving of legume pasta for dinner) so you don’t get excessively gassy or cramping.

2. …or snacks packaged with sugar substitutes.

Foods containing artificial sweeteners (particularly sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol and glycerol) can also turn on the gas in the gastrointestinal tract and cause bloating. As SELF previously reported, your body can’t fully absorb and digest them, so they end up lingering in your intestines, where gas-producing bacteria feed on them. These sugar alcohols are common ingredients in sugar-free ice cream, gum, protein shakes or bars– therefore, the always pleasant “protein farts.

3. You live on soft drinks.

The same goes for carbonated drinks, like soda or something that produces sparks, as all the gas-producing bubbles in your drink go straight to your intestine, says Ven Huizen. And if you combine carbonation with sugar substitutes—say, like you would a perfectly crisp Diet Coke—you can increase bloating even further. Leave that feeling uncomfortably full. (Another burp or two.)

4. A food intolerance could be at play.

If you are facing others Gastrointestinal symptoms as cramps or diarrhea Along with bloating after eating something, it could mean you have a food intolerance, says VenHuizen. You can develop this if your gastrointestinal tract doesn’t have the enzymes needed to digest a certain type of carbohydrate or natural sugar: think lactose (the sugar found in milk and other foods). dairy products) or fructose (a sugar found in fruit and honey).

If you think you have a food sensitivity like lactose intolerance, start by tracking your symptoms in a food diary for at least a few weeks. You’ll want to write down your meals and snacks, along with how you’re feeling, throughout the day. “It’s the most useful tool there is for understanding your gut issues, including bloating,” says Dr. Ivanina. This record will be valuable information to share with your doctor or registered dietitian, who can guide you on an elimination diet, if necessary, to see if cutting out the offending foods makes you feel better. (It is very important to do this under the supervision of a professional to make sure you are interpreting all the patterns correctly and are not removing unnecessary foods.)

5. You haven’t pooped in a few days.

In that case, cold, which is typically defined as pooping three or fewer times a week or having hard, lumpy, or difficult-to-pass stools, could be the culprit. “When stool sits longer than it should, it can cause gas-producing bacteria to build up and cause bloating,” Supriya Rao, MDgastroenterologist at Tufts Medicine in Boston, tells SELF.

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