After you had a big meal, you may feel full stomach. This condition is described as abdominal bloating in which there is tightness in the stomach. This phenomenon is quite common and is not harmful unless it becomes severe. The major factors that trigger bloated abdomen are irritable bowel syndrome and excess of gas or acidity in the stomach. Very often this symptom is relieved after bowel movements or belching. This condition is termed as meteorism or tympanites. There would be a feeling of fullness and the stomach becomes enlarged during the process of bloating. But bloated abdomen can be indicative of underlying health issues.
Primarily bloated abdomen is the result of malfunction of gastrointestinal tract. Aerophagia is the condition in which you swallow lot of air while drinking or eating anything. This experience is highly prevalent in persons with nervous problem. The air gets accumulated in the upper part of the intestine and even smoking may also increase aerophagia.
Some individuals will have bloated feeling due to irritable bowel syndrome which is marked by pain and discomfort. The person becomes increasingly aware of the gas inside. Bloating can be caused by the intake of high fiber diet. Chronic constipation can induce bloating sensation.
If there the volume of bacteria present in the intestine increases it gradually interrupts normal digestion causing bloated abdomen and diarrhea. This would also lead to mal-absorption of nutrients. Some people who overeat will also have this problem and taking too much of fatty foods delays the time of digestion causing bloating. Irritable bowel movement would result in gas formation and bloating.
Certain medications given for depression and anxiety can cause bloating sensation in the abdomen.
Finally certain organ malfunction like liver disease or kidney problem and presence of tumor can lead to collection of excess of fluid in the abdomen.
In addition to the fullness of stomach, there may be symptoms like stiffness in the abdomen. The stomach gets enlarged when abnormal amount of gas is formed. There can be pain in the abdomen when air or gas particles get collected. In addition there can be frequent bowel movement or passing of watery stool depending on the cause of bloating.
Your doctor will check for the symptoms of bloating, belching and flatulence and gently tap your stomach for checking the presence of fluid or gas. If needed he may perform radiography of the abdomen, CT scan or colonoscopy or barium enema for identifying the real factor that causes bloating. In case of lactose intolerance, special tolerance test is administered.
Your doctor will first find out the exact cause of bloating abdomen. For people with aerophagia behavior therapy is given to train proper chewing of food and eating slowly. Instead of taking hefty meal plan, they should take small frequent meals. They should avoid taking chewing gum and use right dentures. In such case, one should reduce the intake of carbonated drinks.
For treating irritable bowel syndrome, your doctor may give antispasmodics for reducing the irritation and pain. In case of constipation, laxatives are given and drinking plenty of water can help you. Foods rich in fiber should be included in daily diet.
For arresting bacterial growth on small intestine, antibiotic medications are given. For people suffering from mal-absorption problem, suitable diet prescription is given along with digestive enzymes. Individuals with gastroparesis are given prokinetic drugs.
For treating problems in small intestine surgery is to be done for clearing the obstruction.
Lifestyle Changes :
You should avoid taking gas forming foodstuffs like milk, dairy products, whole wheat, beans, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. You may include beano in your diet to manage gas. Alternatively you can take fennel tea for getting relief from bloated abdomen. Before visiting your doctor, you can take over the counter antacids like Simethicone for managing bloating.
You can take a brisk walk after finishing off with meal so that any pending gas is evolved easily. Practice exercise regularly so that bowel movements get easy. In the place of fibrous food, you can try herbal tea so that it removes gas bubbles. Include virgin olive oil to control bloating sensation. Avoid fatty foods since it takes more time for them to get digested which in turn forms bloating and gas. Avoid smoking and drinking and chewing gums.