Chronic bloating occurs when gas builds up in the abdominal cavity and/or intestines with the inability to expel the gas with flatulence or belching. This can lead to pain in the abdomen that may start out as mild but intensify and become very sharp and uncomfortable.
Bloating and gas is usually relieved by moving the bowels or just passing some gas. If this condition does not go away on its own, there are many treatments that can help relieve chronic bloating. Learn about possible causes of chronic bloating and how you can combat it with home remedies.
Causes of Chronic Bloating
1. Excessive Gas
One of the most frequent causes of chronic bloating is too much gas in the digestive system. There are two causes of excessive gas including; swallowed air that gets trapped in the intestinal or stomach cavity or bacteria in the digestive system that naturally cause gas as they break down the food as it passes through the colon. One remedy for this is to try and limit foods that cause gas. Also, try to eat slowly to reduce the amount of air you swallow and avoid drinks with carbonation.
While the exact cause is still unknown, irritable bowel syndrome affects a large number of people. This disorder causes abnormally strong contractions of the lining of the colon as food moves through.
People with this experience symptoms such as; excessive mucous in bowel movement, gas, bloating and abdominal cramps. Some people experience constipation and diarrhea, or both. If the symptoms of IBS are severe or do not go away, you need to seek medical attention to make sure you don’t have a more serious condition.
Treatments that can help relieve the symptoms of this condition including; high fiber diet and supplementation, anti-depressant medications, some antibiotics and eliminating foods that cause gas.
3. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the gluten in barley, wheat and rye can trigger the immune system to cause inflammation in the lining of the small intestine.
People who have celiac disease suffer from symptoms like; weight loss, joint pain and itching, bloating, gas, diarrhea, anemia and nervous system dysfunction. If you have symptoms like the ones above for two weeks or more, you need to see a doctor. Children with poor growth, in addition to the above symptoms should also see a doctor as soon as possible.
While there is no cure for celiac disease, treatments to help relieve symptoms include; gluten-free diet, steroids to lower inflammation levels and vitamin supplements.
4. Lactose Intolerance
People who are “lactose intolerant” do not have enough of the enzyme lactase to digest the sugars in milk products. This enzyme comes from the lining of the small intestine, while this is not a serious condition it can be very uncomfortable for sufferers.
When someone has lactose intolerance they experience symptoms like; abdominal bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea and nausea. These symptoms usually appear as little as 30 minutes or up to 2 hours after eating milk products. You need to see a doctor if this condition becomes worrisome or if it affects a small child.
Treatments for lactose intolerance aim to assist the body with digesting milk sugars and relieving discomfort such as; lactase enzyme replacement and restriction of dairy products.
Dysbiosis occurs when the levels of healthy bacteria that aid digestion are too low and there is an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. Too many offensive medications can kill off good bacteria and cause the bad bacteria to grow too rapidly making the bowel toxic. When you have Dysbiosis you may experience symptoms of; abdominal pain and bloating.
6. Lack of Gut Motility
The intestines move by the aid of muscles in the intestinal walls. Certain things like; dehydration, low fiber intake and a disruption in calcium and magnesium levels can affect the movement of food through the digestive tract. This leads to increased gas, bloating, abdominal pain and headaches.
7. Other Causes
There are a few other causes of chronic bloating:
- High Fat food. These digest more slowly and will cause you to feel bloated and full.
- Emotional conditions like anxiety, depression and stress
- History of smoking
- Infections in the gastrointestinal tract, digestive diseases or blocked intestine
Remedies for Chronic Bloating
1. Chew Food Properly
Chew at least 15 to 20 times before swallowing the foods. The enzymes in your saliva help to break down the foods and prevent gas and bloating. Chewing more also allows for better digestion and gastrointestinal health.
2. Limit Gas-Producing Foods
Many food items cause gas and bloating, avoid those culprits as listed below:
- Brussels sprouts
- Baked beans
- Carbonated drink
- Chewing gum
- Hard candy
- Fruits such as pears, apples and peaches
Watch a video for how to prevent gas and bloating:
3. Have More Fiber-rich Foods
Eat a fiber-rich diet can help promote bowel movement and prevent IBS. Things like fruits, vegetables, beans are great examples. Watch a video for more tips on high fiber diet:
4. Watch Lactose Foods
For those suffering from lactose intolerance, besides milk and milk containing products, they should also check food labels for hidden lactose or milk ingredient. Those include:
- Processed meats
- Salad dressings
- Instant soup
- Nondairy creamers
- Dry milk solids
- Fat-free dry milk powder
- Lactose-containing medications
5. Be Careful with Gluten Foods
For those with celiac disease, foods that contain gluten, which should be avoided are:
- Spelt (a form of wheat)
- Graham flour
Sometimes, processed foods also have gluten, read the labels carefully to see if they contain gluten ingredients:
- Cakes, pies and cookies
- Imitation meats or seafood
- Self-basting poultry
- Processed luncheon meats
- Salad sauces and dressings, including soy sauce