You know those days when your favorite pair of jeans are seemingly just a little too tight around the middle? Our tummies puff out for a number of reasons, whether we’ve eaten too much, are PMS-ing, or sometimes seemingly out of nowhere. We often feel bloated due to something minor, but it could be a sign of a bigger problem. Let’s look at some common reasons you feel bloated.
Aunt Flo Is on Her Way
Is it about that time of the month? As our hormone levels rise, our bodies make more estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for water retention, while progesterone can slow down the GI tract, leading to constipation. When you put all of this together, it’s a recipe for bloating.
Constipation is one of the most common GI issues, and experiencing it may make you feel bloated or like you need to pass gas. You can combat constipation by drinking plenty of water, eating enough fiber, and taking over-the-counter medications.
If you experience bloating even when you don’t eat very much, it could have everything to do with what you’re eating versus how much you’re eating. When our bodies can’t break down certain foods due to an intolerance, we’re left with a bunch of gas. If you aren’t aware of any food intolerances, create a log of what you eat and how you feel afterward. This should help you discover the culprit.
You’re Swallowing Too Much Air
As silly as this sounds, it’s a real thing. Swallowing too much air when you eat or drink is a condition known as aerophagia, which can cause bloating and belching. Eating too fast and chewing gum can also cause aerophagia, so slow things down and ditch the gum.
Too Much Convenience Food
Packaged foods are great to have on hand for jam-packed days but are notoriously full of sodium and monosodium glutamate (MSG), both of which can cause bloating. Be mindful of the nutrition labels on your go-to snacks, and eat them in moderation.
You Might Have IBS
IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is a chronic condition that affects the large intestine. Bloating, abdominal pain, and gas are all common symptoms.
You Eat Too Late
Eating a heavy meal right before bed can make a person feel like they’ve gained weight because our bodies don’t work as hard when asleep. So while you likely haven’t put on any significant pounds after one big meal, there’s a good chance you’ll wake up feeling bloated.
You Need to Exercise More
Exercise can work wonders on the GI tract. Basically, it keeps us regular, keeping constipation and bloating at bay. So get moving to help kick the bloat.
The Bottom Line
Bloating is totally normal. But if you start to notice that you’re feeling bloated more often than not, and your bloating is uncomfortable or even painful, talk to your doctor.