Bloating is comparatively more common in women. Diet, stress, air swallowing, etc. conduce to bloating, but there are also some medical conditions that cause bloating in the body.
The feeling of bloating varies from person to person. While some describe it as a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, others experience it as abdominal distention. The person may experience tightness, discomfort and even some pain. In a household survey conducted in the US, about 16% of the population struggles with bloating problems. Bloating means swelling up with liquid or with gas. It can occur due to two reasons; collection of intestinal gas or fluid retention. Bloating can occur due to excessive swallowing of air, stress, diet, constipation, hormonal fluctuations, etc. Let’s have a look at the different medical conditions for which abdominal bloating is a symptom.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the lower intestinal tract, which may have been caused due to problems in muscle movements in the intestine. It can also be caused due to low tolerance for intestinal movement and stretches. Bloating is a common symptom seen in people with IBS. People with IBS are advised to avoid consuming food items that cause bloating. However, since bloating causing food items differ from one person to another, no specific list can be jotted down.
Bloating during pregnancy can be extremely uncomfortable. Nausea and bloating during pregnancy are two of the least charming pregnancy symptoms. Bloating occurs mostly during the first and final trimester of pregnancy and occurs due to the hormonal changes taking place in the body. Increased levels of progesterone production results in relaxation of muscles, including gastrointestinal muscles, which in turn slows down the process of digestion. This conduces to gas formation and abdominal bloating, especially after having large meals. Enlarged uterus and consumption of gassy foods are also responsible for triggering bloating as a symptom of pregnancy.
Fluid-filled sacs formed in the ovary are called ovarian cysts, which may be formed at the time of ovulation. Besides irregular menstruation, pain during bowel movements and pelvic pain, bloating is also an indicator of presence of ovarian cysts. The gynecologist will determine the size and severity of the ovarian cyst and will recommend the required treatment. The person will get relief once the cyst has been treated.
Disorders like lactose intolerance, celiac disease and other such food intolerances are seen to cause bloating and abdominal distension. In such cases, the body is unable to breakdown or absorb certain food substances. These left-out food substances result in extra gas production in the bowel. This happens because several bacteria are trying their best, to break these food substances down, by various chemical reactions. This is why the person experiences bloating.
Bloating occurs even during menopause, due to water retention, accumulation of gas or a combination of both. Some women may experience bloating for a few days and then not again for a year, while others may experience it on and off for several months at a stretch. Fluctuation in hormone levels is what conduces to bloating during menopause. With rising levels of estrogen in the body, water retention increases, which ultimately leads to bloating. Moreover, when the estrogen levels fall, bile production is reduced, which also results in constipation and bloating.
Besides the above mentioned health conditions, there are several other conditions with bloating as a symptom such as indigestion, colitis, giardiasis, hyperventilation, diverticulitis, etc. If you are suffering from bloating and abdominal distension, you can try out some remedies to alleviate the discomfort. Moreover, avoid consuming food items that cause bloating. In case of severe bloating, it is important to consult the doctor immediately.