10 Reasons Why You’re So Bloated
“Dang, you ladies are old,” is what I used to think when I was younger, seeing women in their 40s. Never did I think about what my body would be like at that age, because… well, you know, I thought I would be young forever… I know, I know, ignorance is bliss.
Fast forward into the 40’s club today; I’m experiencing some of the sad symptoms that come with membership. Like…drum roll, please…Bloating!
I’m not referring to the bloat you feel when it’s almost that time of the month, I’m referring to the bloat that occurs in your abdomen – when your gastrointestinal tract is filled with air or gas. When you are bloated, you feel as if there is no room in your stomach. It feels full and tight. We’ve all been there, trust me.
Though bloating can be expected, it can also be a sign of severe conditions. And can be accompanied by burping (belching), gas (flatulence, farting), and abdominal discomfort.
It sucks, I know. That full feeling you get in your stomach takes all the fun out of the day. Tell you what, from low stomach acid to certain medications, here’s a breakdown of why you could be feeling uncomfortable and a little extra “puffy” in your midsection and what you can do about it:
1. Eating Too Much
When you think of bloating, overeating is probably the first thing that we think of. It is the most common cause of bloating. I know, all those dinner parties and celebrations, right? Thankfully, there are many tips to help you manage your portion sizes.
Try choosing a smaller plate to help you eat less and slower so your body can let you know that you’re full. It’s important that you manage your portions, especially as you get older and become more prone to bloating.
2. Food Intolerances
If you’re feeling full though you haven’t been overeating, you might have to consider if you’ve eaten the wrong thing. Specific food intolerances or sensitivity to spicy or acidic foods can cause the gastrointestinal tract to have a more difficult time than usual. People who have food intolerances can experience a lot of bloating as the body tries to break down the food which produces gas.
If you experience bloating, keep a food journal to monitor what you eat and when you’re bloating. That way, you can avoid eating certain foods that may be causing you to bloat.
3. Consuming Packaged Goods
We’re all guilty of eating packaged foods. They’re convenient, and we can easily fall into the habit of building our meal plans around them. Packaged meals, however, are high in sodium and a chemical called monosodium glutamate (MSG) which has been known to cause bloating in certain people.
Avoid consuming packaged and processed foods and opt for healthier alternatives and home-cooked meals.
4. Eating A Little Too Late
While it’s not completely accurate that eating before bedtime can cause weight gain, it can often make you feel bloated. When you sleep, your digestive system doesn’t work as hard as when you’re awake, and lying down can cause some bloating during the night and in the morning.
Consider eating 2-3 hours before bedtime to allow your body to digest the food and avoid feeling bloated in the morning.
5. Drinking Carbonated Beverages
Sodas, sparkling water, and other carbonated drinks can cause extra gas to get trapped in your stomach. This might lead to bloating and even some belching.
And yes, ladies, this includes champagne.
Try reducing the number of fizzy drinks you consume and switch to a healthier alternative like water with lemon or some tea, and if you’re already feeling bloated, a common remedy that can be used to help reduce discomfort is peppermint tea.
6. Swallowing Too Much Air
Drinking with a straw, chewing gum, and eating too quickly are habits that may add air into your digestive tract. If it’s becoming a problem, start cutting out chewing gum and avoid using straws and see if that helps ease your symptoms.
7. Having A Condition
There are a few conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, liver disease, and venous insufficiency, which can cause excess fluid in the abdomen or limbs. All of which makes you feel bloated.
If you have a history of these conditions, it’s best to talk with your primary care provider regarding easing your symptoms, including bloating.
8. Weight Gain
Weight gain, especially around the middle, can make you feel bloated. Excess weight puts pressure on your stomach, thus, giving it less room to stretch during mealtimes.
If you are overweight or obese, you could benefit from a weight loss plan incorporating healthy eating and physical activity to shed pounds to avoid bloat and other diseases.
9. Low stomach acid
Certain people, especially women over 40, have low stomach acid. This can cause bloating issues after eating. When you don’t have enough stomach acid to break down protein, food sits undigested in the stomach longer.
If you experience this regularly, you might benefit from taking hydrochloric acid supplements, but be sure to consult with your doctor before you do.
10. It’s in your gut!
One possible cause of bloating is an imbalance in your gut bacteria. An overpopulation of bacteria in the small intestine can increase the fermentation of the sugar in the foods you eat, and bloating can occur from this gas production.
If you’re experiencing this, you should limit carbohydrates, including starches, sweets, and sugars. Consider a carefully designed nutrient plan and eliminate all sugars, including sneaky sweet sources.
Are you experiencing bloating? It’s essential to keep track of what foods and habits may be causing you to feel bloated and note if you experience other symptoms that have accompanied bloating.
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