Bloating is one of the most annoying yet natural functions that takes place in the human body. While many times we hear women discussing ways to combat bloating, men are just as prone to bloating and experience it just like women. While we all get annoyed with it, and sometimes it’s just downright uncomfortable, we need to understand why our body is doing this. In this blog post, we’re discussing everything that has to do with bloating, what it is, how to prevent it, and more. Keep reading to learn more! 

What Causes Bloating?

When you hear the term bloating, many people tend to associate it with water retention or stomach distention. It’s important to remember that bloating can feel and look different for everyone. For example, many people feel that their abdominal area expands when they get bloated while some just feel an increased amount of pressure in that region. 

Common Causes

Excess Air

The most common cause of bloating is due to excessive gas in the digestive tract, which can happen from swallowing too much air or drinking one too many carbonated beverages. 

Carbonated beverages like sodas, La Croix, or any other bubbly drink get their fizz from carbon dioxide. When you drink these bubbly types of beverages, the gas can get released from the liquid into your stomach, which can then lead to extra gas in the GI tract.

Bloating can also come from not chewing your food to completion, drinking through a straw, and chewing gum. All of these activities can cause you to swallow excess air which then enters your system that can lead to you feeling bloated. 

Food Sensitivities & Intolerances 

Food sensitivities and intolerances are extremely common these days. Many of us tend to have certain intolerances to gluten and lactose, and we may not even know that we have these intolerances until later in life. If you do have some type of intolerance to a specific food group or type you may experience bloating as one of the main symptoms. Other symptoms can include cramping, gassiness, and other GI-related issues. We mentioned gluten and lactose but other common food intolerances are:

  • Eggs
  • Vegetable oils 
  • Nuts 
  • FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-Di- Monosaccharides and Polyols or short-chain carbohydrates)
    • Artichokes
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Apples 
    • Beans
    • Lentils
    • Honey

Infections

Another common cause of bloating can be from various infections. Infections are caused by pathogenic bacteria that can harm the body and produce symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Some of the main two bacteria associated with stomach infections that can cause these symptoms are E.coli or H.pylori. 

Medication

Many over-the-counter medications have reported that bloating is a common side effect. Antibiotics are extremely notorious for causing bloating due to the good bacteria that they end up killing. Due to the lack of no bacteria in your stomach and intestines, it can lead to a number of GI-related issues. In order to help get your system back on track, you may have heard your doctor request that you take a probiotic supplement, or eat foods that are rich in these good bacterias. Increasing your fiber intake can also help.

Other Gastrointestinal Disorders

There are several different types of gastrointestinal disorders that can be major causes of bloating such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis (UC). If you think you may be experiencing bloating as a symptom of some type of gastrointestinal disorder be sure to contact your doctor. 

How To Prevent Bloating

Eat Slower

Now that we’re familiar with some of the common causes of bloating, it’s important to know how we can prevent it. Avoiding bloating can be something that’s simple if its due to overeating or eating too quickly. If your bloating is due to this, or swallowing too much air, the simple fix is to eat smaller meals and take your time when you are eating. We also recommend that you drink fluids from a bottle or glass, as opposed to a straw.

Get Tested For Food Intolerances

If you start to realize that you’re becoming bloated after eating specific foods like lactose or gluten, it may be time to consult your doctor to see if you have a food intolerance. You can even do some simple experimenting and testing on your own by cutting out that specific food or food group from your diet and see how you feel after not eating it for a week or so. 

Get Up and Get Active 

Living a sedentary lifestyle is also a large factor that can contribute to bloating. Many of us have office jobs that may require us to sit for long periods of time. If you work in a sedentary environment, get up and move every hour. Even doing something as simple as taking a lap around the office can help get you moving and reduce your bloat. If you’re someone who is not relatively active you may want to think about incorporating some exercise into your daily routine. Whether that includes a walk around the block with your dog after work, a yoga or cycling class, or a session of weight lifting living an active lifestyle can help get rid of bloating. At Shredd KC we offer a wide variety of fitness classes and personal training sessions that can help you lose the bloat and live a healthier lifestyle. 

De-Stress

Stress increases our cortisol levels which can impair our sleep, muscle recovery, glucose metabolism, and fat loss. Chronic stress can also exaggerate GI symptoms that can contribute to abdominal bloating. 

In the end, bloating is an extremely normal thing that happens to our bodies. No matter how much we try to prevent it, we won’t ever be able to get rid of it completely. While the suggestions we gave in this blog may help, there is no one cure or prevention technique to get rid of bloating. So instead, we just have to accept it as something that our bodies naturally do. 

However, if you are feeling that your bloating is the root of a bigger problem, contact your doctor. They will be able to test you for any food intolerances or digestive tract issues and lead you in the right direction. 

If you’re looking to add a bit more activity to your day, look to Shredd KC. We’re a full-service fitness center that offers both group fitness classes and personal training. Contact us today for more information. We look forward to seeing you and helping you live an active lifestyle!