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A Doctor Responds to Questions About Abdominal Bloating

DrSugar Answers: Abdominal Bloating and Food

DrSugar is in the house and answering your questions.

Dear DrSugar,
I could use some health/dietary advice, if you have a minute. Lately I've been feeling incredibly bloated, and I know we all have a bloat-y day once in a while, but this is turning into a bloat-y fortnight. I'm starting to wonder what's going on. I'm a healthy 20-something, leading an active lifestyle, but obviously I'm doing something wrong, I suspect, food-wise. What foods should I avoid if you want to eliminate the "I just swallowed a balloon" feeling? Are there any foods known to cause bloating?
Balloon Gal

To see what DrSugar has to say on this matter,


Abdominal bloating is a very common symptom with a wide variety of causes, from something as simple as gas to something as serious as cancer. The list of common causes is long and includes overeating, gas, constipation, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, pregnancy, and premenstrual stress syndrome. There are as many as 413 possible causes for bloating! Most causes are simple and can be treated with dietary or other lifestyle changes like avoiding gas causing foods, eating smaller meals, or recognizing lactose intolerance. Gas causing foods include beans, dairy, spinach, potatoes, fatty or rich foods, carbonated beverages and many more. For a more complete list, check out the Gas Prevention Diet, which also provides strategies for avoiding the gas inducing culprits. One of the most importantly under recognized conditions in adults is lactose intolerance, which can cause bloating, gas, and/or diarrhea.

Serious causes of bloating are by far less common, but should not be forgotten, especially in cases of long standing bloating that is not improved with simple changes in diet or lifestyle. Serious causes of bloating can include a variety of tumors, parasitic infections, celiac disease (gluten intolerance), and inflammatory bowel disease. Long standing bloating or bloating with other symptoms such as weight loss, weight gain, pain, nausea, or vomiting should certainly raise concern. If you are worried that your bloating could be the result of something more serious then you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

If you have a question for DrSugar, send me a private message here and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

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