Stomach bloating is so common these days that it’s been called an “epidemic.” If you frequently deal with distention, digestive discomfort and a bloated stomach, you probably want to know: Why do I feel bloated all the time?
With most people’s poor diets, high levels of stress, need for daily medications and exposure to various pollutants, it’s no wonder they suffer some sort of bloating more days than not.
While a bloated stomach is certainly uncomfortable — even embarrassing when it comes along with gas or the need to run to the bathroom — it might be an even bigger deal than you think. Below we’ll look closer at reasons you may deal with an inflated belly, plus discuss bloated stomach remedies, such as foods to focus on and those to avoid.
What is stomach bloating a sign of? Can it point to an underlying health condition?
Luckily, in many cases, it isn’t anything to be alarmed about. It can usually be cleared up by making some simple changes to your diet and routine, although not always.
For many people, the cause of excessive gas in the intestines boils down to:
Inadequate protein digestion (causing some foods to ferment)
Inability to break down sugar and carbohydrates fully (certain complex sugar compounds need the presence of enzymes to be digested fully, yet people can lack these)
Imbalances in gut bacteria (in the digestive tract, there are trillions of healthy and unhealthy bacteria that compete, and when “bad bacteria” outweigh the good for one reason or another, an imbalance can lead to abdominal bloating and excessive gas)
Stomach bloating can however sometimes signify serious health problems lurking below the surface. For example, it’s one of the most common candida symptoms and also tends to develop when from other conditions, including allergies, hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, gut troubles and inflammatory bowel disease.
Other potential causes of bloating can include:
Irritable bowel syndrome, especially if you’re constipated
Digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
Food allergies or sensitivities, including celiac disease or lactose intolerance
Infection in the gut
Certain types of cancer
Many different things can affect gut health, the ability to metabolize food properly and the body’s way of naturally eliminating waste. Because so many different factors can contribute to stomach bloating — including some that seem totally unrelated, like sleep or stress — it’s possible to become bloated any time of the day or month.
Contrary to what most people think, bloating is not the same as carrying around extra fat mass or even “water weight.” Fluids can’t actually accumulate in your stomach, although you might be bloated and have water retention in other parts of your body (like your ankles, face and feet) while also having a bloated stomach if you have a condition that’s causing both.
Here’s more about some of the most common causes of bloating:
1. Digestive Disorders
Most people dealing with various functional gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease have bloating, gas, distension and other symptoms. Some reports show that stomach bloating is experienced by 23 percent to 96 percent of people with IBS, 50 percent with functional dyspepsia and 56 percent with chronic constipation.
2. Fluid Retention (Called Edema or Ascites)
Fluid retention in the abdomen is known as ascites, and it can be a sign of a more serious health condition, such as abdominal infection, liver disease or rarely even cancer.
Check for other signs of liver failure or hepatitis, including yellowing of the skin (jaundice), changes in the white color of your eyes or pain in the abdomen.
Stomach cancer often does not show symptoms early on. h\However, in addition to bloating, you may experience unintended weight loss, indigestion, nausea, vomiting blood and abdominal pain.
Ever notice the day after you ate salty foods or drank alcohol that you become dehydrated and bloated as a result? It might seem counterintuitive, but the more water you drink (or consume in water-heavy foods) and better you stay hydrated, the less bloating you’re likely to deal with.
Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances both halt digestion and make it hard to “stay regular.”
When your body tries to recover from dehydration, it holds on to excess water to prevent the situation from happening again. Plus, you might find yourself becoming constipated. This means when you do finally drink more fluids, you’re likely to store them around your midsection and feel extra puffy.