It’s uncomfortable, gross and occasionally embarrassing, but bloating is something we all deal with at one point or another. Gassiness isn't just from gorging yourself at the last family meal. Bloating happens because your body can't break down gas, like it does the food you swallow. Sometimes even the digestive process itself creates gas right in your abdomen. If it's not released, air begins to build up in the stomach and intestines, which can make your belly feel like a balloon.
This type of abdominal discomfort can pop up at any time, last for hours, and sometimes antacids and burping just don't quite do the trick. Can't seem to beat the bloat? Here are seven reasons that gas is gurgling in your gut.
You're stressed out.
When stress hits us hard, some of our bodies react by driving blood away from the usual digestive process, Dr. Anne Nedrow, M.D., told Health.com. As a result, you could end up with bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or a plain old stomachache.
While stress itself could be to blame for bloating, the nervous habits that many of us pick up when we're anxious could also be the culprits, according to the Mayo Clinic. We chew gum, down carbonated drinks, or even gulp air when we're nervous or feeling anxious. All of these habits push extra air into the stomach, which the body can't digest. This abdominal side effect is yet another reason to practice yoga, go for a run or do whatever it takes to de-stress.
Your medication is bringing on the bloat.
Medications can come with a long, and sometimes nasty, list of possible side effects, including bloating. Meds that contain lactulose or sorbitol, or the diabetes medicine acarbose, are especially common culprits.
You ate too much.
Is that lump more than a food baby from your last big meal? An uncomfortable bubble in your belly could be gas trapped from eating too much in one sitting. Overeating is one of the most common causes of bloating. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity found that if you're binge eating, you're even more likely to encounter gassiness.
You chow down at superspeed.
Stop gulping down your grub. Eating too quickly or drinking through a straw can result in swallowing bubbles of air along with your meal.
Plus, insufficient chewing can reduce your body's ability to digest carbs, nutritionist Monica Reinagel, M.S., LDN, CNS, tells The Huffington Post. This can create gas in the intestines, which makes you feel uncomfortable. Even if you're starved after a long day at the office, force yourself to chew thoroughly and take small sips before you swallow. This will help eliminate the air pockets that bloat your belly.
Just like crash diets cause the body to go into starvation mode and cling to fat, your body begins to retain fluid when it's dehydrated, Marilyn Glenville, nutritional therapist, told Good Housekeeping. If you feel like you're retaining fluid, that probably means it's time to drink some more. Avoid carbonated drinks, which will likely exacerbate your problem. Instead, reach for herbal tea or a good old glass of water.
You're eating gassy foods.
Some foods are notorious for causing gas, Reinagel tells HuffPost. Cabbage, broccoli, kale, apples, and avocados have all been known to cause bloating. Eating too much salt can also cause water retention, which can leave you feeling puffy. Plus, downing lots of fiber—especially from supplements—without drinking enough water is a fast track to a gassy gut. If you know the foods you're intolerant of—dairy if you're lactose intolerant, for instance—those might also be good to steer clear of if you're trying to break the bloat.
You have a chronic medical condition.
Many disorders cause bloating, including celiac disease, dumping syndrome, and even ovarian cancer. Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common. IBS affects the large intestine and causes food to be forced through the intestines faster than it should be, often resulting in gas and diarrhea. If you just can't seem to reduce your bloating, visit your doctor. Symptoms of many disorders can improve dramatically as people learn to control their condition.