Feeling bloated is not a nice feeling. You might experience stomach pain, discomfort, or even gas. Bloating also affects your self-esteem. If it feels like you can’t win because you just can’t beat the bloat, here are five reasons you might feel and look bloated and how to fix it.
1. Eating Too Fast
One of the top reasons the human body bloats is simply because of eating too fast! Healthline says the problem lies in “scarfing down your food if you’re in a time crunch. You also swallow air when you do this, which can lead to gas retention.” Of course it’s difficult to remember to eat slowly when you’ve been waiting all day for your lunch break or when the meal you’ve been cooking for an hour is finally ready. A little patience goes a long way, though. Health.com says “Instead of eating on the run, carve out at least 20 minutes for a slower sit-down meal. That’s how long it takes your brain to register fullness.”
2. Food Allergies or Intolerances
Don’t rule out a new allergy or intolerance if you feel like you’re suddenly experiencing more bloating. Harvard Health Publishing notes “adults can also be waylaid by allergic reactions to foods they’ve enjoyed all their lives.” Food allergies can attribute to all kinds of gut-health issues, including bloating. So if you feel like you haven’t changed anything in your diet to explain an increase in bloating, start to keep an eye on what old favorites might need to be cut out!
Taking care of intestinal health is so important. It’s not something we always think about, but we definitely know when there is a problem. Constipation can lead to bloating because the natural gasses in the digestive track can’t escape. Constipation can be a sign of many health issues, especially if it is coupled with intestinal pain, so see a doctor as soon as possible if you think there may be a problem. Most mild cases can be solved with over-the-counter solutions, however MedicineNet says “with acute constipation or constipation that is worsening, it is necessary to assess for the cause early so as not to overlook a serious illness that should be treated urgently.”
Those who menstruate experience a very unique bloating in comparison to those who do not: “As well as causing menstrual bleeding, research suggests that changes in progesterone and estrogen levels cause the body to retain more water and salt. The body’s cells become swollen with water, causing the feeling of bloating.” That means that hormones in the body contribute to menstrual bloating. There are many ways to combat this, including avoiding salty foods and eating natural diuretics. However, for the most part this specific kind of bloating will dissipate naturally.
5. Drink More Water!
We hear so much all the time about why we should drink water. Here’s another reason to drink more! Northwestern Medicine says, “Your body needs a lot of water. Dehydration leads to constipation, which leads to bloating.” We already talked about how constipation effects the body and can lead to bloating. Sammi Haber, founder of Nutrition Works NYC says, “Although it might sound counterintuitive to drink more water when retaining water, drinking water can actually help reduce bloat. Drinking plenty of water helps to naturally flush our systems of excess water and sodium that we might retain” So remember to reach for water when you’re feeling bloated.
Bloating can be a pain—sometimes literally—but it’s important to remember that it’s a natural function of the body that is ultimately trying to communicate something to you. So remember to listen to your body and beat the bloat.