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Possible Causes for Feeling Weak & Bloated

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After the New Year, I regained my focus on weight loss and began a healthier eating regime. I was doing well, or so I thought, until after a few days I began feeling bloated and then my perceptions changed. It seemed like nothing I did would relieve this awkward feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt like someone had attached a bicycle pump to my stomach and filled it with air.

After a few days, I began to look for some causes and remedies for my problem. Feeling bloated was not an enjoyable experience and I believe the information that helped me solve the problem will be able to help others in a similar predicament or perhaps help some readers from avoiding this completely.

Bloating, by definition, is an unpleasant abdominal fullness or distension which is normally due to an intestinal sensitivity or a symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, as much as 11% of people complain of frequent bloating.

I ruled out IBS and looked to determine what was causing my intestinal sensitivity. Here are some questions I asked myself, which may be useful to you.

1. Are You Constipated?

If your bloating is accompanied by constipation, you need to take action to help your body pass through the problem.

A gradual increase in fibre rich foods can loosen the constipation and can also relieve the bloated feeling in your abdomen. Begin to incorporate foods such as fruit, some vegetables (exceptions later), wholegrain cereals and bread, wholemeal pasta and brown rice.

It is important that this increase is gradual as consuming too many fibre rich foods can cause bloating. If you subject your body to a sudden increase in fibre your bloating may actually get worse.

Dehydration is also a possible cause of constipation. Ensure you are drinking enough water to keep your body hydrated. Your stool is mainly water and if your body does not have enough, thow shalt not pass. Many sources advise drinking 8 glasses a day, I find this is not enough for me, particularly when exercising and tend to drink a lot more water to keep my body hydrated.

1. Are You Swallowing Too Much Air?

You may be thinking, what a stupid question. I can see why you would think that, how can you swallow too much air; you need air to breathe and to stay alive. You can in fact swallow too much air.

If, for a number of reasons to follow, you take in too much air, your body will try to get rid of it.

It’s amazing how smart our bodies are.

Much of this excess air comes back up the windpipe and is expelled, politely known as belching. The excess air not expelled through the mouth will pass to the intestines and normally expelled through the rectum (flatulence) however in some cases the air becomes trapped in the intestines, causing that darned bloated sensation.

You could swallow too much air by:

  • Talking while eating.
  • Drinking through a Sports cap or Straw.
  • Drinking, or gulping, water from a fountain.
  • Eating on the move.
  • Chewing gum.
  • Eating when upset.

Essentially if something is causing you to eat or drink too fast, it can potentially lead to distension.

By being more conscious of how, where and why you are eating or drinking what you are, you may be able to stave off a nasty bout of bloatedness.

Believe me you want to avoid this feeling.

3. What Have You Been Eating?

Some of the foods we eat are known to cause bloating; this can be confusing, especially since many of them fall into the “fibre rich” category.

  • Vegetables such as; cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, turnip, sprouts and onions
  • Beans and lentils.
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  • Grapes
  • Mustard
  • Chewing gum and hard candy.
  • Foods which contain Sorbitol (low fat carbonated drinks) and added fructose.
  • Foods with a high salt content (causes water retention).

These foods should be either excluded, substituted or reduced in your diet to help relieve abdominal problems.

4. Are You Drinking Too Many Carbonated drinks?

The gas contained in these fizzy drinks can become trapped in the stomach giving the bloated sensation. To make matters worse, many “diet” drinks contain sorbitol which if consumed I high enough amounts can have a laxative effect while maintaining the stomach discomfort and causing an excess of wind.

5. Are Your Abdominals Weak?

Weak abdominal muscles can cause a progressive worsening of the bloating feeling throughout the day, you may feel okay in the morning however this worsens as the day progresses. Lying down has been shown to relieve the effects of bloating.

To prevent this problem, look to develop your abdominals more. Try tightening your stomach muscles a few times a day, pull your belly button towards your spine and take short breaths. You may also want to consider performing some crunches or planks to develop your core muscles more.

Have Some Tea

A commonly given remedy for bloating is to have some Chamomile or peppermint tea. Both have been shown to ease the digestive system and relieve the bloated feeling. It’s a relatively simple and effective remedy for an awful feeling in your gut.

Hopefully with the knowledge of the cause of bloating you will be in a better position now to prevent it from occurring in the future.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2010 hublim


PWalker281 on November 11, 2010:

One of the most comprehensive articles on bloating I've ever read. Didn't realize grapes, which I LOVE, cause bloating, something I suffer from a lot. Actually, every time I eat, I experience some bloating, so I'll have to see if I can eat a little more slowly, watch what I eat, and see about strengthen my abs. I take chamomile in capsule form whenever I have indigestion or bloating and it works like a charm. Aloe vera juice also works.

hublim (author) from Scotland on May 11, 2010:

@pep I know a lot of people who blame their bloating on Diet soda; however do not stop drinking it because they claim to not like water. I’m glad to hear this is no longer a problem for you and hope you maintain this in the future.

pep on May 05, 2010:

Nice article. For me bloating was caused by Carbonated drinks, particularly low calorie ones. Anything with artificial sweeteners (including sorbitol) triggered the nightmare bloat. This included no sugar sweets, yoghurt, and Splenda.

I have successfully beat the bloat after a long battle! Took a course of fibrogel prescribed by my doc to clear out my bowels for a few months, do sit ups every night to relieve gas and strengthen my core, avoid the sweeteners and beans as well. Limited alcohol and try to eat/ drink slowly. Using chopsticks helps! And there is nothing like yoga to prevent bloating.

hublim (author) from Scotland on February 26, 2010:

Sorry to hear that Vox, it’s terrible. My wife has said she felt the same when feeling bloated but it’s not nice to be asked that by others. I found the food, really the drink, hat caused my bloating and through a process of elimination, you may be able to find the food you are sensitive too.

Jasmine on February 26, 2010:

My belly is so big because of air that people often ask me whether I´m pregnant :-( Thanks for the information, I´ll try to follow your advice.

hublim (author) from Scotland on February 26, 2010:

Maggs224, I’m happy you found your way to one of my hubs and glad you found the hub interesting.

hublim (author) from Scotland on February 26, 2010:

Hello Hello Hello. Thanks for your comments; I’m rather disappointed that your doctors are not offering you the treatment you require. If you’re not already, you may want to look at your diet and see where you can make improvements. Of course I haven’t covered IBS or potentially lactose intolerance. Eliminating foods from your diet may offer you some relief and perhaps an answer to your distress.

Even more thanks for directing Maggs224 to my hub also.

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on February 26, 2010:

A very interesting and informative hub, I followed Hello, hello here and I am glad I did.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on February 26, 2010:

I too have problems with it and hassle my doctor with it but these days doctors don't listen anymore. Thank you for your informative hub.

hublim (author) from Scotland on February 25, 2010:

Cheers C.Muscle. Glad you enjoyed the hub, bloating is definitely something that is better to read about than experience yourself.

carolina muscle from Charlotte, North Carolina on February 25, 2010:

Interesting and informative!!!

hublim (author) from Scotland on February 25, 2010:

Thanks Jacob. Bloating is a terrible feeling and no one should have to experience it. I’m Glad you’re found an easy remedy, in my case it was carbonated drinks that were causing the problem for me.

Jacob from Delhi, India on February 25, 2010:

Nice hub. I had the problem of constipation. Drinking a lot of water is one of the best way to avoid it.

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