What Is the Meaning of Bloating?

By Valencia Higuera

Bloating, a common digestive problem, can affect anyone. There are many causes of bloating, but most people notice this problem after eating or drinking certain foods. Menstruating women often complain of bloating. But regardless of the cause, there are techniques to control the uncomfortable feeling of bloating.

mid section view of a woman measuring her waist

Bloating, a common digestive problem, can affect anyone. There are many causes of bloating, but most people notice this problem after eating or drinking certain foods. Menstruating women often complain of bloating. But regardless of the cause, there are techniques to control the uncomfortable feeling of bloating.

Identification

Bloating can cause abdominal distention.

Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia describes abdominal bloating as a feeling of tightness or fullness around the stomach region. Bloating affects everyone differently. One person may simply experience abdominal tightness, another may have a slightly distended abdomen. Causes of bloating include constipation, lactose intolerance, intestinal gas, irritable bowel syndrome and overeating.

Problem Foods

Soda is a common culprit of bloating.

Foods and drinks are common culprits of abdominal bloating. Gassy foods such as cauliflower, lettuce and beans are often difficult to digest. Slow digestion prompts infrequent bowel movements and the buildup of intestinal gas, which causes the stomach to bloat. Additionally, consuming carbonated drinks such as sodas and drinks containing artificial sweeteners (which are difficult to digest) can also result in bloating or abdominal tightness.

Constipation

dietary fiber.

Constipation refers to infrequent bowel movements, and various situations contribute to this condition, including lack of physical exercise, dehydration and too little fiber in the diet. Controlling bloating often calls for regulating the digestive tract and getting rid of constipation. Using fiber supplements and increasing fluid intake (eight glasses of water a day) naturally relieves constipation, which in turn can relieve abdominal bloating.

Salt

Too much salt prompts fluid retention.

A high sodium diet also plays a role in bloating. Too much salt prompts fluid retention. Fluid tends to settle in the abdomen and lower half of the body. This results in belly bloating as well as swelling in thighs and legs. Decreasing sodium (no more than 2,400 mg a day) and eating fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce water retention and control bloating

Chronic Bloating

Seek medical attention if you are unable to control bloating.

Seek medical attention if you are unable to control bloating, especially in the abdomen. Chronic abdominal bloating that doesn't respond to home treatment can signal a serious medical condition such as tumors or ovarian cancer, states Medline Plus.

References

About the Author

Valencia Higuera is a freelance writer from Chesapeake, Virginia. She has contributed content to print publications and online publications such as Sidestep.com, AOL Travel, Work.com and ABC Loan Guide. Higuera primarily works as a personal finance, travel and medical writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/journalism from Old Dominion University.

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