What Are the Most Common Causes of a Bloated Stomach?

Chewing gum may increase bloating.
Drinking water can help with bloating.
Certain medical conditions can cause persistent bloating.
Antacids can sometimes help relieve a bloated stomach.
Eating lots of salt can cause bloating.
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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2014
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There are a wide range of things that can cause a bloated stomach, and some are simple to solve and others are potentially dangerous if not treated. Potential causes of a bloated stomach include eating too much or too fast, an inability to digest food correctly, lactose intolerance and a liver that isn’t functioning correctly. Some people may also suffer from aerophagy where too much air is taken into the stomach. Conditions that can cause a bloated stomach include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease.

The most common cause of a bloated stomach is eating too much in one sitting. In most cases, bloating is caused when the body can’t digest the food in the stomach quick enough. When a person eats too much in one sitting, then the body may not be able to cope with this amount of food and a feeling of bloating occurs. Although this is usually not a problem that can cause serious complications, it is important that someone suffering from long-term bloating problems seeks professional help.

Lactose intolerance is a condition that can cause bloating. This condition occurs when the body isn’t able to correctly digest lactose and can have a range of symptoms that vary in severity. Fructose intolerance is a similar condition that can also cause bloating.

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Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that regularly causes bloating. It is a problem that is usually diagnosed when a doctor isn’t able to find any other cause for abdominal pain, change in bowel movements and bloating but can be a difficult condition to deal with. Sometimes IBS may be caused by stress or an infection.

Aerophagia is a problem that causes a person to swallow a large amount of air. This air goes into the stomach and may cause bloating. The problem is usually caused by things such as drinking carbonated drinks, eating too quickly and chewing gum.

Other common causes of bloating include constipation, menstruation and an allergy to certain types of food. Usually a bloated stomach will disappear relatively quickly, although antacid pills can sometimes help. If the condition occurs regularly for a long period of time, then this is often a symptom of a more serious condition and should be treated by a professional doctor. Although there are many natural remedies for bloated stomachs these usually only address the symptoms rather than the cause and shouldn’t be used for chronic bloating.

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amypollick
Post 6

@anon331354: It's hard to say exactly what's going on with you, but here's something to try, and it won't hurt you.

Go on a liquid diet for about two days. Eat clear/noodle soup, broth, Jell-O and drink a lot of water. You need to give your system a rest.

After that, start eating smaller portions and try to eat a good live-culture yogurt every day, to help your gut flora.

If you don't get any relief, it may be time to see a doctor about your problems.

anon331354
Post 5

Can anyone help me, please? I think I'm eating too much and my stomach can't digest food.

I feel tired all the time and have just had the worst sickness and diarrhea. Have you any thoughts? I know I should eat less but I'll clear the plate most times. I think it is undigested food going off in my stomach and getting bad bacteria. I would be grateful for any information.

orangey03
Post 4

I have the worst bloating during my period. I feel like not only my stomach but my entire abdomen is swollen with gas.

It doesn't even seem to matter what I eat during this time. My pants won't button and I am extremely uncomfortable. I have to wear dresses or elastic-waist pants to keep from being in pain all day.

It's awful to have so much gas inside of you and know that you can't do anything about it. I pretty much just know I am going to be miserable for a few days out of the month.

When I get home from work, I lay on my stomach for about thirty minutes. This helps push out some of the gas, and I feel a little less bloated. Of course, I know that it will return.

lighth0se33
Post 3

@cloudel – That is strange. You would think that if you had a food allergy, your reaction would be consistent and more powerful.

My husband is allergic to mushrooms, and he has had the same reaction to them every time. His stomach gets extremely bloated after eating just a little of them, and he has diarrhea for a long time afterward.

I bought some egg rolls last week without reading the ingredient list, and when my husband was two big bites into his, he thought he saw a mushroom. I checked the package, and sure enough, he was right.

I gave him an antihistamine, which helped prevent some of the bloating. Inevitably, he did have a little gas and diarrhea, but I think that the antihistamine helped ease his suffering.

cloudel
Post 2

It's weird, because I'm not lactose intolerant, but I get bloated stomach pains whenever I drink a glass of milk. However, I can eat ice cream and yogurt with no problem.

I can also eat milk in my cereal, as long as I don't drink the milk out of the bowl once the cereal is gone. I seem to be intolerant of straight milk, but not of dairy products or even milkshakes.

I wonder if maybe I have a very mild food allergy. Perhaps it only happens with pure milk, since the concentration of milk is diluted in other dairy items. Does anyone else have this problem?

Oceana
Post 1

I used to stuff myself at every restaurant I went to, because I seemed to think I had to clean my plate. Truly, the food was usually so awesome that I didn't want to stop eating it.

I always ended up with a painfully bloated stomach. Each time, I scolded myself for eating so much at one time.

Eventually, I learned that cutting down on portion size will keep me from becoming bloated. It wasn't so much the type of foods I was eating as it was the amount.

I started asking for a to-go box about halfway through each meal. Just knowing that I would be able to enjoy the food again later made it easier to stop eating. Knowing that I could avoid that horrible bloated feeling by taking half the food home with me also motivated me to stop eating.

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