If you are concerned because your stomach always feels bloated after a meal, you are certainly not alone. It is one of the most common issues that people have with their GI systems. You probably have a lot of questions about what caused the bloating and what can be done about it. There are a few common questions people ask, and we have put together a general list of helpful answers. But do not avoid reaching out to a professional who can address your concerns more specifically.

1. Why Is My Belly Bloated?

People typically say that they have a bloated belly when there is a feeling of fullness inside their abdomen. This creates a sensation of pressure on the surface, which leads to the surface feeling tight.  You might even feel like your belly looks tight when you look at yourself in the mirror. There are several reasons why you might feel bloated, but the overarching reason is usually the same: excess gas in the intestinal tract. 

So, why does this happen? It is usually a dietary issue, and there are a few reasons why you might have accumulated excess gas. For example, you might have eaten too much food too quickly. Or, you might have a food intolerance to something you have just eaten, which can cause too much gas to build up in the GI tract.  An example of this would be lactose intolerance, which is an intolerance to a sugar in milk.  Another example is beans.  Most people who ingest beans or legumes (including soy) will develop some excess gas because humans can’t digest one of the sugars in beans.  Drinking carbonated beverages also contributes to the amount of gas within the intestines.  As the carbonation fizzes out of the liquid, it is contained in the bowel until it passes.  Finally, oily or greasy foods slow the movement of gas from the bowels.

Factors other than diet can also be implicated.  For example, women can develop excess gas because of issues related to their menstrual cycle. There are also situations where GI bleeding, GI infections, or bowel obstruction can lead to excess gas and bloating, but these are less common.

2. How Can I Relieve My Bloated Stomach?

There are a few ways you can relieve a bloated stomach, but the exact treatment that will work varies depending on the cause. You might need to see a doctor to figure out why you keep getting bloated, but there are a few things you can try in the meantime. For example, you might find that drinking more water and exercising regularly can help you keep your GI tract moving, since a bowel full of stool will increase gas production and bloating.  Avoid foods that cause you to feel bloated.  If your gas develops due to milk or bean ingestion, you can take enzyme supplements to digest the sugars before they cause gas (Lactaid and Beano respectively) before consuming them.  Reducing carbonated beverages will reduce gas build up, as well.  Simethicone (Gas-X) might help to reduce the size of gas bubbles so they can move along, but there is little evidence that it reduces people’s symptoms.  There are no other medications specifically designed to reduce or resolve gas.

3. How Long Does Bloating Take To Go Away?

The exact length of time that bloating lasts will depend on the cause. In general, bloating is something that will last a few hours after eating. If you are bloated because your intestines are also backed up, then it won’t start to go away until you are able to move your bowels. There are situations where bloating can last for a few days, but you should consider seeing a doctor if you are still uncomfortable after 24 hours.

4. When Should I Be Worried?

You should be concerned about your bloated belly if it keeps coming back, if it leads to blood in the stool, if the pain gets worse, and if it is still there after 24 hours. A bloated belly could be a sign of something more serious, but to get a definitive diagnosis, you need to see a doctor. That is where we can help you.

Count on CapRock Health To Help You

If you have questions or concerns about your GI tract, it would be our pleasure to help you. We are CapRock Health, and we have a tremendous amount of experience working with patients with a variety of issues. If you are concerned about your GI tract, we can work with you personally to address the issue. Contact us today, and make sure you see a doctor if you need help with your