Maintaining your weight is a frustrating battle under the best of circumstances, but when bloating creeps in, your frustration can go through the roof. As a premier gastroenterologist, Dr. Hardeep Singh understands this problem and what lies behind the bloating better than most. In fact, it was to Dr. Singh that the U.S. News & World Report turned when addressing the issue.
Here’s what Dr. Singh had to say about bloating in this informational article, and more importantly, what you can do about it.
Behind the bloat
Bloating is not uncommon and affects nearly everyone from time to time. But some people are more prone to the condition, leading to extended bellies that seem to mock your every weight-loss effort.
At its core, bloating is a condition in which there’s excess gas in your digestive tract, causing it to expand. While your stomach is designed to expand when you take in food, giving it the room it needs to break down and process the food, adding gas to the mix can expand it to the point of discomfort. And beyond the discomfort, it causes your belly to extend outward, creating a look that may speak to extra fat even when you’re trim and fit.
What causes bloating
As Dr. Singh pointed out in the article, there are any number of reasons why you may experience chronic bloating. And this point is an important one. Occasional bloating is perfectly natural, but if you’re experiencing ongoing problems with excess gas, the most common culprits behind the problem include:
- Food allergies
- Lactose or gluten intolerance
- Acid reflux
- Aerophagia — a nervous condition in which you gulp air
There are other, more serious, concerns that can lead to chronic bloating, including:
- Intestinal blockage
- H. pylori infection
- Fluid buildup due to heart or liver disease or cancer
Again, most of the time bloating can be tied back to dietary issues, but we feel you should be aware that persistent problems may signal something larger at play.
Common dietary triggers for bloating
One of the best first steps to preventing bloating is to keep a food diary so that you can record what foods seem to trigger bloating. Once you identify certain triggers, you can cut out these foods to see if there’s an improvement.
One of the biggest offenders when it comes to bloating are complex carbohydrates, so keep a close eye on those when you keep your diary. Other foods to watch out for are:
- Sugars, especially fructose
- Certain processed, fiber-rich foods (think cereal)
- Carbonated beverages
- Dairy products
- Fried foods
- Salty foods
By zeroing in on the foods that cause excess intestinal gas, you can reduce your bloating considerably.
Lifestyle tips for preventing bloating
Outside of dietary tweaks, you can also take a few lifestyle steps to reduce bloating, including:
- Not drinking with straws
- No gum chewing
- Quitting smoking
- Moving after you eat
- Taking over-the-counter anti-gas products
If your bloating persists, please come and see us so that we can get to the bottom of the problem. Dr. Singh and our team can perform a few tests to get you on the road to a more comfortable and manageable belly.
If you have more questions about bloating, please contact one of our two offices in Orange and Irvine, California.