Do you have bloating? Are you not getting answers? Bloating is often a part of IBS or can even be the only symptom of IBS. Let’s discuss why it happens and how to treat it.
Bloating is that look that you get, often very obvious, that makes your belly pooch out or distend and makes you look fat or pregnant when you are neither. It can be so bad that people often describe it as like having a basketball under their shirt or looking 6 months pregnant.
It can come in all sizes and severities, from mild to tremendous bloating, with little or no discomfort all the way to incredible pain, and you may or not pass gas with bloating.
Your clothes might not fit, your bra may feel too tight, and it can even push on your lungs, your back, or your other organs and cause those to feel uncomfortable.
Bloating can be soft or hard, although it is often described as a very firm or hard feeling. This distinguishes it from fat, which is not firm.
Most bloating is trapped gas. But like I said, that does not always mean that you’ll be passing gas. The digestive tract is some 30 feet long, and in many cases the gas is deep in your digestive tract and there is no way to escape.
So the gas will expand the intestines from the inside and blow you up like a balloon. And of course it will show up on the outside as your belly sticking out.
Constipation and inflammatory issues can also cause bloating. Constipation is rather obvious. If you aren’t passing stool on a regular basis, then it’s building up and sitting in your colon, and that is going to get very uncomfortable and ultimately cause bloating.
Anything that causes inflammation in the GI tract leads to swelling. And swelling is by definition the retention of water. That water retention can show up as bloating.
The key to solving bloating is figuring out what is causing the gas production, or the constipation, or the inflammation.
We see A LOT of bloating. And a majority of it occurs when the digestive system is not properly breaking down food. And when that happens, unusual amounts of gas are produced, and often inflammation is triggered, and some people also get constipation.
There are literally hundreds of different reasons that people get bloating. That means that there are literally hundreds of different treatments for bloating. Everyone is different. That’s not much help right this second, but neither is pretending that one diet or one supplement is going to solve it all or that there is a quick fix.
However, there is good news, because it is usually possible to figure out what the cause is and to help you stop getting bloating altogether. We see that happen every day.
An IBS specialist is an expert in helping people sort out why they get bloating and how to solve it. It’s what we do, and it’s very different than the kind of care you get from a gastroenterologist.
We work with people from all over the U.S. and numerous countries around the world via zoom and telemedicine, and we’d love to work with you too. If you’d like get rid of your bloating once and for all, give us a call now.
Dr. Wangen is the founder and medical director of the IBS Treatment Center, the award winning author of two books, and a nationally recognized speaker on digestive disorders. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio, and was named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.