What Is Bloating?

by Melissa Chichester

A balloon in the belly. Uncomfortably full. Rumbling in the tummy. 

If these sound familiar, you may have experienced bloating. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, bloating is “a sense of fullness in the upper abdomen.” For some people, it might happen every once in a while. 

What causes bloating? 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the two most common reasons bloating occurs are because gas or food accumulates in the stomach. 

Common reasons for too much intestinal gas can happen due to:

  • Swallowing air
  • Drinking carbonated beverages 
  • Eating too quickly

Constipation can happen occasionally when food accumulates in the stomach and waste builds up, causing bloating and discomfort. With the holiday season coming up, you may find yourself eating more food than usual – or eating food you don’t usually eat. This may also contribute to occasional bloating.

Prebiotic supplements may also help alleviate occasional abdominal discomfort such as bloating due to typical lifestyle habits.* 

Another essential lifestyle habit is to drink enough water. Adequate water intake helps with digestion and softening waste moving through the body. 

>>3 Ways to Increase Your Water Intake

Besides eating a nutritious diet, experimenting with an elimination diet may also provide insights into why you’re bloated. Identifying foods you are sensitive to with an elimination diet and presenting these findings to your doctor can help.

Exercise also plays a role in digestive health and bloating. Even quick, short walks during the day can keep things moving throughout your body. 

A final note about bloating

Bloating is uncomfortable – and for some people, it might even be a source of embarrassment. If you’re bloated, record how you feel and share it with your doctor. A doctor can help you find relief from bloating.