Do you feel your stomach is bulging more than the usual? Do you feel overweight even after paying full attention to your eating habits? These might by apparent symptoms of body bloating. With the festive season ending and the winter weight setting in, we help you deal with these temporary ‘weighty issues’.
We often hear women complaining of ‘feeling pregnant’ wherein they might be only having a protruding stomach or bloating. Bloating is a prevalent symptom of IBS, also known as irritable bowel syndrome, a common phenomenon in women. This syndrome can happen due to several reasons, the major being stress and lack of rest. Senior Consultant Dr Ratan Kumar Vaish, Internal Medicine, Rockland Hospital, talks about the common causes of gas or body bloating:
- The air that you swallow: If you don’t burp, the swallowed air passes through the digestive tract and is released through the anus. Excessive air, if not passed out, leads to body bloating.
- Drinks and food: Seven fruits, vegetables and aerated drinks also lead to a bloated stomach.
- Intolerance for milk products: Those who are allergic to milk products often face issues of body bloating if they consume anything not suiting their system.
Food and Body Bloating
Dr Gupta gives an insight into the food items that lead to body bloating:
- Bloating is common to happen due to lentils and beans. The reason behind this is the presence of indigestible sugar found in these two food items. These sugars, which is also known as oligosaccharides, should be further broken down in the intestines. If this process is not completed, it is common to experience bloating after eating these.
- Cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, prunes, apricots are some fruits and vegetables that can lead to gas and bloating. This is because these food items contain sugar.
- Most of the whole grains, which we thought would make us lean, can also be a reason for bloating. This is a result of high fibre content present in whole grains. Fibre is an indigestible carbohydrate and excess of it can lead to bloating and constipation.
Nutritionist Neilanjana Singh says, “The best way to reduce the chances of bloating is to introduce fibre to your body slowly. Do not start eating fibre in abundance. Suddenly increasing the intake of fibre in the body can lead to excessive bloating. Let the body get used to fibre and steadily increase its portion.”
Temporary Bloating Is Normal
One should know that temporary bloating is harmless and has no hidden implications. However, if you regularly complain about this, best is to consult a doctor for the same. Dr Vaish added, “In some cases, bloating may also be a cause of some physical obstruction in the small intestine. This can only be treated by undergoing surgery. In several cases, bloating is also a reason of impaired muscle function in the digestive tract. The food in our body is moved with the help of muscles. If there is a dysfunction in the muscles, there can be a build-up of gas in the small intestines leading to excessive bloating. In severe cases, persistent bloating can also be a sign of malignancy.”
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