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Reasons Behind a Distended Stomach after Eating

Reasons Behind a Distended Stomach after Eating

If your stomach appears to be bloated after a meal, it's possible that you ate too much, or your meal included food items that cause gas. This HealthHearty write-up tells you why and when you might end up with a big belly after eating.
Omkar Phatak
Last Updated: Apr 24, 2018
Abdominal bloating is characterized by a distended abdomen and an uneasy feeling in the stomach. More often than not, bloating can be attributed to gas, which might form due to one's poor dietary habits. However, excessive gas or flatulence could even be a symptom of certain medical conditions. Therefore, medical help must be sought by those who end up with a bloated stomach after every meal. Under such circumstances, there's a need to make some lifestyle-related changes. Following a healthy, balanced diet and an exercise regimen proves beneficial in such cases.

Contributing Factors and Remedies

Gluttony is one of the common causes for a big or bloated stomach after eating. There are times when we lose the battle to our taste buds. The food is so delicious that we stuff ourselves till we can't eat anymore. This is followed by formation of gas, which in turn gives rise to bloating. Basically, gas is produced by the breakdown of undigested food in the large intestine by the bacteria. Excess gas could form in case of the overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel. The amount of gas is also linked to the amount of undigested food. Therefore, individuals affected by poor digestion could develop excess gas and bloating.

In order to prevent bloating, one should avoid overeating. Just stop eating after you are full. Eat to live and not live to eat.

Foods that Cause Gas
Certain food items are known to cause gas. These include:

➻ Fruits such as apples, pears, and peaches
➻ Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, artichokes, and asparagus
➻ Aerated drinks and drinks that contain high-fructose corn syrup
➻ Beans
➻ Whole grains
➻ Dairy products

Cut down on the intake of these food items. Also, limit the intake of processed food, as they take longer to digest.

Food Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is a type of food intolerance which is characterized by the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy. If such individuals eat food items that contain lactose, they experience symptoms such as bloating, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and flatulence.

It is essential to identify the food items that cause such reactions. It is advisable to maintain a food diary where you can write down the offending food items. Avoidance or limiting the intake of such food items is the best way to prevent food intolerance. Seek medical assistance for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Aerophagia, which refers to swallowing too much air, is a common reason behind a bloated stomach. One might end up swallowing too much air while eating or drinking rapidly, or if one talks while eating. Also, aerophagia could be attributed to drinking with a straw, chewing gums, drinking carbonated soft drinks, or smoking while eating.

To avoid aerophagia, don't talk while eating. Eat or drink slowly, and avoid excessive consumption of aerated drinks.

Constipation is a common digestive problem that affects people of all age groups. An individual affected by constipation has to strain during bowel movements due to hard stools. Other symptoms include a feeling of incomplete evacuation of bowels and fewer bowel movements (less than three in a week). The affected individual might also experience bloating.

Increasing one's fluid intake and following a healthy fiber-rich diet would prove beneficial. In severe cases, laxatives are recommended.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a condition that is characterized by change in the bowel habits and abdominal discomfort. The exact cause of this condition is not known. In individuals affected by IBS, the muscles in the bowels are extremely sensitive, and don't contract normally. As a result, the affected individual experiences diarrhea, constipation, constipation alternating with diarrhea, bloating, cramps that are relieved after bowel movement, etc.

The treatment involves the use of drugs (antispasmodic drugs, laxatives, antidiarrheal drugs) to manage symptoms. Following a healthy diet (higher fiber intake) can prove beneficial. Also, one must avoid smoking.

Besides the aforementioned conditions, bloating could be a sign of intestinal obstruction or gastrointestinal infections. Thus, it is advisable to seek medical assistance, if bloating persists. Following a healthy diet, drinking adequate amounts of water/fluids, and staying physically active will also prove beneficial.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.