You’re not pregnant and you haven’t gained weight, but your jeans are straining at the waist. So what’s going on? Here are the most common causes…
Possible Causes of a Bloated Stomach
- Digestive Disorders
Most people dealing with various functional gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease have bloating, gas, distension and other symptoms.
- Fluid Retention
Sometimes bodily fluids can be stored around the body, including near the abdomen or pelvis area, which causes excess bloating and temporary weight gain. You might also notice jewelry and clothes becoming tighter, extra swelling, and pain around joints or tightness in the skin. This can be due to a liver disease in some cases or rarely even from cancer.
Ever notice the day after you’ve been eating salty foods or drinking alcohol that you become dehydrated and bloated as a result? It might seem counterintuitive, but the more water you drink (or consume in water-heavy foods) and better you stay hydrated, the less bloating you’re likely to deal with. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances both halt digestion and make it hard to “stay regular.”
When your body tries to recover from you being dehydrated, it holds on to excess water to prevent the situation from happening again — plus you might find yourself becoming constipated. This means when you do finally drink more fluids, you’re likely to store them around your midsection and feel extra puffy.
This might be the most obvious reason you have a bloated stomach — you need to go to the bathroom! Constipation can cause stool to remain in the intestines, leaving you with a hard-feeling stomach, pain, discomfort and gas. The biggest reasons for constipation include eating too little fiber, not drinking enough water, being too sedentary/avoiding physical activity and stress.
- Food Allergies or Sensitivities
Often, food allergies, sensitiveness or intolerances (like lactose intolerance) are common reasons for gas and bloating. There are dozens of other possible food allergies (like shellfish, nuts, eggs), but you’re likely to know if this is what you’re reacting to since symptoms are usually more noticeable.
- Hormonal changes
PMS is known to cause a bloated stomach and digestive issues since it makes you prone to constipation and fluid retention. This is common and not too much of a concern unless you notice other serious symptoms like an irregular menstrual cycle, fibroids or severe cramping.
- You eat too fast
If you don’t chew your food properly, the body will process it more slowly and bloating may appear. Therefore, it is very important to eat in small bites.