Swollen stomach is a common occurrence during the holidays, mainly because of the abundance of delicious meals. But if this problem bothers you even on less busy culinary days, then this is a reason to think seriously about your health.
There are actually many reasons why the stomach swells and some of them can be very serious (eg ovarian cancer). Today, we describe the general factors that cause this discomfort.
Causes of a bloated stomach
1.Irritable bowel syndrome.
It is one of the most common causes of bloating – affects around 30 percent of the general population. This syndrome is characterized by the fact that one part of the intestine functions normally, but different parts do not ensure the normal functioning of the entire intestinal tract as a whole.
Symptoms of this disorder, in addition to bloating, can be abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of the same, sometimes nausea, fatigue, and headache.
Eating foods that produce a lot of gas during digestion can also cause bloating. Typical agents of flatulence are broccoli, legumes, and starchy foods – reducing these foods in your diet can help alleviate unpleasant symptoms.
3. Celiac disease
It is characterized by intolerance to a protein called gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye. The symptoms of celiac disease are different, but in more than half of the cases gastrointestinal dysfunction (nausea, vomiting, bloating), delayed physical development, allergies, memory loss, fatigue, and poor sleep predominate.
If you suspect you have celiac disease, contact your doctor. There is a blood test that can rule out or confirm its presence.
4. Inflammatory bowel disease.
There are two types of inflammatory bowel disease – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Their main symptoms usually change in normal bowel function, abdominal pain, and diarrhea (often with blood or mucus), swelling. In addition, a person may have febrile conditions, lose weight.
5. Ovarian cancer
Permanent bloating can be a sign of ovarian cancer, although this symptom is often ignored by women (usually associated with nutrition and digestion). But in the case of cancer, bloating has a distinctive feature – it lasts a long time. Therefore, if your abdomen looks swollen for three or more weeks, you should consult a doctor and be examined to rule out ovarian cancer.
6. Hormonal fluctuations.
In women, during pregnancy and just before the onset of menstruation, the level of progesterone hormone in the body increases, which can slow down the activities of the intestinal locomotor. As a result, the passage of food through the tract slows, constipation and swelling occur.
Increased anxiety causes physiological changes in the body, reducing the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Among them is a reaction that removes blood from the digestive system into other parts of the body, which makes the digestive process less efficient and can cause bloating.
In some people, the stress response also causes changes in breathing, which in turn causes air to absorb and, as a result, swollen abdomen.
How to Reduce Stomach Bloating
British nutritionist Natalie Lamb gives the following tips:
- Take probiotics.
- Use apple cider vinegar before each meal.
- Reduce the amount of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates in your diet.
- Start eating more fiber.
- Eat homemade bone broth.
- Relax more often.
- Maintain physical activity. Exercise can help improve bowel motility and it is enough to walk 30 minutes a day to make a difference.