Top 10 Reasons for Feeling Bloated or GassyAbdominal bloating and discomfort may be due to intestinal sensitivity or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), up to 11 percent of Americans say they frequently feel bloated. Another 7 percent complain of excessive burping or belching, and others feel excessively gassy. All these gas-related symptoms are not just uncomfortable; they can be embarrassing and painful. If you suffer from bloating, excess gas or belching and you want to reduce it, here are the common causes and what you can do about them.
1. Swallowing Too Much AirIf you gulp your food, or eat too quickly, you may swallow excess air, leading to gas and bloating. When excess air is swallowed it will be passed as a belch or gas. If it passes into the stomach, it can cause bloating. Normally, about half of passed gas comes from swallowed air. There are several habits that can increase the amount of air you take in, including the following:
Michael Cox, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore says that "Sorbitol pulls water into your large intestine, which can cause bloating and, in high enough doses, diarrhea."
2. StressToo much stress can cause your stomach and colon to go into spasms, leading to uncomfortable gas and bloating. In addition, when you're under stress it encourages junk-food binges, and all those fatty, salty snacks and sweets can lead to feeling more bloating.
3. Eating Too Much FruitJust as some people are lactose-intolerant (see below), others are fructose-intolerant, and their bodies cannot digest the sugar properly. If you find you have excess gas and bloating after eating fruit, this may apply to you.
People who are fructose-intolerant do not have to cut out fruit entirely, but rather can eat it in small servings, or choose lower-fructose fruits, like cantaloupe and apricots, instead of high-fructose fruits like apples and bananas.
4. Drinking Too Much SodaThose who are fructose-intolerant may find that many sodas contain fructose and produce the same problems. In addition, carbonated beverages continue to release gas after you consume them.
5. You're Not Getting Enough Exercise"Exercising helps the body absorb gases in the colon," says Dr. Michael D. Levitt, a gastroenterologist and associate chief of staff at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
And, aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes will help to counter constipation by helping food to move through the digestive tract more quickly, Raymond says.
6. You're Lactose-IntolerantLactose-intolerance is a relatively common food allergy. If your body doesn't produce enough of the intestinal enzyme lactase to break down lactose then milk, dairy products, and medications that contain lactose can produce gas.
Some people, especially those of Asian, African and Southern European descent, have trouble digesting this milk sugar. Lactose that is not completely digested will pass to the colon where gas is produced by the bacteria trying to break it down.
7. Eating Vegetables that Produce GasCertain vegetables produce more gas than others do, and everyone varies in their ability to absorb and tolerate that gas. If you're sensitive, you may want to limit the amount of gas-producing vegetables such as the following:
8. Eating Starches that Produce Gas
The digestive process actually ferments some material, which produces a mixture of gasses: carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen, and sometimes hydrogen sulfide (the telltale odor we think of when we think of gas).
This is why people with digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease, as well as those with food allergies, often experience gas as a side effect.
9. Taking MedicationSome medications, such as those that inhibit digestive enzymes or contain indigestible sugars like lactulose or sorbitol, can cause gas-related symptoms. Antibiotics are known to cause excess gas because they kill the beneficial bacteria in the colon that normally aids in digestion. This makes it more difficult to break down certain foods, and leads to more gas.
10. Using a StrawMost people tilt their head forward when they use a straw. This puts the air in your mouth above the liquid when you swallow and leads to more gas in your system.
Excess gas and bloating is rarely dangerous, but you can cut down on the uncomfortable feelings and embarrassment by following these quick tips:
10 Tips to Avoid Gas and Bloating
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