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Feeling bloated can be a real drag – causing discomfort, pain, and even embarrassment. But, what actually causes stomach bloating? In this guide, we’ll explore the most common causes of bloating and offer tips on how to prevent it.

Common Causes of Stomach Bloating

Bloating typically follows a 1-3 day pattern and will remedy itself naturally. There are many common causes and triggers for bloating, including:

Poor Diet

Poor diet is one of the most common causes of stomach bloating. Eating large meals, spicy or processed foods, or meals with a high-sodium content can all lead to stomach discomfort. Other triggers might include dairy products, fried foods, and artificial sweeteners. Avoiding these as much as possible may help you avoid a bloated belly.

Gas

The most common cause of bloating is a buildup of gas in the stomach or intestinal tract. Gas-related bloating typically causes mild discomfort. However, painful cramps or severe nausea can also occur.

Eating Too Quickly or Overeating

Eating too quickly or overeating can also lead to bloating and other digestive issues. When you eat too quickly, you may swallow air along with your food. This air can become trapped in your digestive system, causing it to expand and create the feeling of being bloated. To avoid this, take your time while eating, chew slowly and don’t stuff yourself at meal times.

It’s better to eat three square meals with snacks than one super-sized meal. Also, try not to eat foods that don’t agree with you such as spicy foods, excess sugars, or meals with rich sauces.

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Food Intolerances and Allergies

One of the most common causes of bloating, gas or stomach cramps is a food intolerance or allergy. Examples may include:

  • Lactose intolerance
  • Gluten allergy
  • Intolerance to spicy foods

Notice which foods lead to bloating — you may want to keep a food journal. You can then avoid those foods or use in moderation to prevent bloating in the future. If you have a suspected food allergy or intolerance, be sure to speak with your doctor for testing and advice on what to avoid.

Stomach Infection

There are many types of mild stomach infections that can cause bloating, gas and nausea. These mild infections typically go away within a few days. It’s important to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration as the stomach infection remedies itself. If bloating and other issues do not resolve within a few days, calling your doctor is your best bet.

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Disruption in Bacteria Balance

Your stomach and intestinal tract have a variety of “good” bacteria that help you digest food. When the balance of the various kinds of bacteria is disrupted, it can lead to an excess of “bad” bacteria in the small intestine. This makes it harder to break down food and absorb nutrients, leading to bloating.

Constipation

One of the most common causes of bloating is constipation. Constipation occurs when stool moves too slowly through your intestines. It results in a buildup of liquid and gas that may cause digestive discomfort. Common constipation triggers include dehydration, processed foods, certain medications, lack of exercise, and low-fiber diets. Treating constipation often requires lifestyle changes like drinking more water and adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet.

Simple Remedies to Treat Bloating

There are many different options to safely treat bloating at home. Some of the most common remedies include:

  • Lying down with a heating pad on the stomach
  • Over-the-counter, drugstore medicines such as an antacid
  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Drinking teas with ingredients that are used for calming the stomach, such as
    peppermint tea
  • Drinking carbonated water to calm the digestive tract

Looking for some easy, over-the-counter products to help with bloating? You might want to try one of these: