Abdominal bloating is a relatively common condition that occurs when the abdomen fills up with gas or air. About one in six people may experience bloating, even if they don’t have any gastrointestinal conditions.
While bloating is not always a serious condition, it may cause people to feel tight or swollen, which can cause discomfort.
Some common symptoms of bloating include:
Gurgling sounds from the stomach
In many cases, bloating may make everyday activities more difficult and interfere with social activities.
What causes abdominal bloating?
Bloating may occur due to certain habits, including eating too fast, smoking, and not having bowel movements for an extended period.
There are, however, some medical issues that may cause bloating. These include:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Lactose or gluten intolerance
Individuals with chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease and IBS may experience bloating often but with proper treatments, they could reduce bloating.
How can you reduce bloating?
Adopt a low-FODMAP diet
A low-FODMAP diet is most suitable for people with IBS and includes food that contains fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These carbohydrates are hard to digest and may remain in the colon and ferment, aiding in gas release and reducing bloating.
Try enzyme supplements
These are supplements that contain enzymes such as lactase and may help break down certain carbohydrates.
Check if you have food sensitivities
Food allergies and intolerances may cause bloating. If you have any food sensitivities, consult a specialist and get the appropriate treatment.
Reduce the consumption of high-fibre food
Highly fibrous food may produce excessive amounts of gas. Avoiding these food items may help reduce bloating.
Probiotic bacteria like Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 may help curb gastrointestinal problems like constipation, in turn, help reduce bloating.
Consult with your gastrointestinal specialist before following the treatments mentioned above.
Consult a gastroenterologist for treatment and support for bloating
Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah is a Sydney-based gastroenterologist and hepatologist who specialises in gastrointestinal conditions.
If you experience bloating and want to find a way to ease your symptoms, speak to Dr Vivekanandarajah for support and treatment.
Consult Dr Suhirdan at these locations
When is bloating a serious concern?
The following symptoms may mean that bloating is caused by a serious gastrointestinal condition:
Blood in stools
Heartburn that gets worse after eating
Severe abdominal pain or cramping
Could bloating be a sign of intestinal worm infections?
Bloating is a common symptom of intestinal worm infections. Look out for these symptoms if you suspect bloating may be due to worms:
Itching in the rectal area
Bloody stool with mucus
Presence of worms in the stool
Can drinking water help with bloating?
High-sodium food may increase water retention in the gut and may lead to bloating. Drinking water before a meal may remove excess sodium, which can help reduce water retention and mitigate bloating.
Meet Dr Suhirdan Vivekanandarajah
Interventional Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist
Bsc (Med) | M.B.B.S. (Hons) | FRACP