What is Abdominal Bloating?

Abdominal pain and bloating is an uncomfortable sensation that occurs when gas builds up in the abdomen, causing the stomach to become distended. These episodes can occur after a heavy or light meal and are usually not severe. Although bloating is common among both children and adults, it can interfere with daily life and is often accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms. Bloating may be caused by certain gastrointestinal conditions, but in many cases, it is a short-lived issue that can be treated with diet and lifestyle changes.

Causes of Abdominal Bloating

Many people who experience bloating notice a predictable pattern. Gastrointestinal bloating may be caused by:

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Cancer
  • Chewing gum
  • Eating too fast
  • Fluid retention
  • Food allergies
  • Heartburn
  • Hormonal changes
  • Infection
  • Overeating
  • Rich and fatty foods
  • Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Smoking

However, abdominal bloating can also be caused by chronic conditions, such as functional gastrointestinal disorders. Abnormal abdominal bloating could be a sign of:

  • Celiac disease, an autoimmune reaction to the ingestion of gluten. This disorder damages the small intestine and causes malabsorption of nutrients in the body.
  • Functional dyspepsia (indigestion). This condition typically causes recurrent pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), an intestinal disorder that causes gas, diarrhea, constipation, and pain in the abdomen. This chronic condition affects both the small intestine and the large intestine (colon) and is usually long-term.

Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease affecting the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. This disease causes ulcers in the digestive tract.

Symptoms of Abdominal Bloating

The main symptom of abdominal bloating is discomfort and distension of the stomach. You may feel as if you have eaten a large meal, and your stomach may feel hard, full, and tight. It is not uncommon to experience other gas-related complaints along with abdominal bloating. Abdominal bloating may be more serious if it is accompanied by pain or any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal gurgling
  • Bloody stool
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Excessive gas
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Frequent belching or burping
  • Painful or swollen lymph nodes (including in the groin, throat, or armpits)
  • Unintentional weight loss

How is Abdominal Bloating Diagnosed?

In order to determine the cause of your abdominal bloating, your physician at DHC will ask questions about your symptoms, including how often bloating occurs. If bloating happens often and is accompanied by other symptoms, your doctor may consider tests, such as an x-ray or CT scan, to rule out underlying causes.

How is Abdominal Bloating Treated in NJ?

Abdominal bloating is often acute in nature. However, chronic and persistent abdominal bloating could be an indication of an underlying condition. Therefore, treatment may vary depending upon the primary cause.

If the bloating is acute, it often resolves itself over a short period of time. To avoid future occurrences, there are treatment options, but the majority are preventive. Treatments often include:

  • Abdominal massages
  • Avoiding chewing gum
  • Eating a healthy high-fiber diet, including water-rich vegetables and fruits
  • Eating slowly
  • Exercising
  • Reducing stress
  • Staying hydrated
  • Taking certain medications
  • Taking probiotics

In addition, it is important to avoid certain foods that may increase the bloating sensation. These include:

  • Carbonated beverages
  • Certain vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, beans)
  • Dairy
  • Processed grain products
  • Sugar

Schedule an Appointment to Relieve Abdominal Bloating in New Jersey

If abdominal bloating becomes chronic and your symptoms persist, schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist at DHC for further evaluation. Although bloating is a common condition that can be caused by something as simple as eating too quickly, it can also be caused by an underlying condition that will need to be addressed. Our gastroenterologists at Digestive Healthcare Center proudly provide digestive health care in Somerset County and want to help you get on track to healthier and more comfortable living.

Comprehensive Digestive Health Care in NJ

At Digestive Healthcare Center, we are proud to put each patient first. You can visit us in person at one of our three office locations in NJ, or speak to one of our physicians from the comfort of your home via a telemedicine virtual visit. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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