Cancer. An uncomfortable, full, and sometimes even painful feeling in the stomach makes you want to sleep until the feeling passes. Even with flatulence, your stomach is full or intact. Although women usually experience bloating a few days or weeks before their period, bloating can happen to anyone.

What makes your stomach feel like it’s in a balloon? Bloating usually occurs when gas temporarily accumulates in the stomach or intestines. When your stomach is full, you will often pass gas, and this release will give you some relief. Bloating occurs when the digestive system slows down and bowel movements are not regular.

Bad diet = bloating
It’s no wonder that a poor diet can cause bloating. Eating too much or too fast can cause this blockage as the digestive system slows down and tries to digest more or too quickly. When you talk, drink through a straw, or chew gum, you swallow air that fills your digestive tract and fills your stomach.

Processed foods like hot dogs and chips can cause bloating. Many processed foods are high in sodium, which can cause your body to retain water and cause bloating. Sugary foods and snacks break down in your body and cause gas.

Even what you drink can cause indigestion. Carbonated drinks such as beer and soda contain bubbles of carbon dioxide that are released in the stomach.

Good eating habits = lots of bloating
Bloating can be more than just junk food. Certain healthy foods, such as broccoli or beans, can cause bloating. If you have a food allergy or intolerance, you may experience these symptoms after eating foods that contain wheat, lactose, fructose, or eggs.

Record ways to find the culprit
If you experience bloating more than once a month, it’s worth finding out what’s causing your symptoms. Try keeping a food diary for a few days and writing down everything you eat and drink. Be sure to include the ingredients in your meal, and one of them can really turn out to be a problem. (Maybe the chicken parm is not the culprit, but the whole wheat breadcrumbs!) The two prepare a healthy salad of lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

When you do this journal, record how you feel 30 minutes after eating. Is it amazing? Overloaded? Are you tired? Gas? Here are some patterns to help you determine if you have a food allergy or intolerance.

Get rid of bloating
The most obvious way to reduce bloating is to avoid foods that cause gas. Certain high-carbohydrate foods (FODMAPs), such as garlic, onions, and other vegetables, are poorly digested and can cause bloating. A low-FODMAP diet is often recommended for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because these foods do not cause as much gas. Foods included in the low FODMAP diet include:

Zucchini and sweet potatoes
Fruits like bananas, melons, oranges and grapes
Grains like quinoa and rice
lactose-free dairy products
Eat small meals and give your body time to digest. Drink plenty of water to keep your digestive system functioning properly. If high-fiber foods cause bloating and constipation, hydration can ease bowel movements and make bowel movements easier.

Being active can help relieve bloating. Exercise may not seem like much when you’re bloated, but light physical activity stimulates the digestive system. Gentle abdominal relaxation yoga moves can help reduce bloating.

Sometimes, try over-the-counter antacids to combat gas.

If these home remedies don’t help, talk to your doctor. Although rare, chronic pain and numbness can be a sign of inflammation or other conditions.

Bloating is never fun, but the good news is that most of the time, the discomfort doesn’t last long. Even better news: if you do a little detective work to find your triggers, you can prevent those boring, overwhelming feelings from returning.

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