Why Is My Stomach Bloating After Eating? | Lifelab Testing

Why Is My Stomach Bloating After Eating?

Stomach bloating after eating is quite common, but it could be a matter of concern in some cases. Between 10% and 25% of healthy individuals complain of occasional abdominal bloating. Statistics show that about 75% experience symptoms that range from moderate to severe. About 10% say they experience it regularly. Among those diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it may be as much as 90% {1}. Up to 75% of women experience bloating before and during their period. Only 50% of people who experience bloating also report a distended abdomen.

Bloating is when you feel tightness, fullness, or pressure in your stomach. Some people have bloating accompanied by a swollen stomach while others don’t. When bloated, it can either be intensely painful or mildly uncomfortable. In most cases, bloating goes away after a while, while in others, it tends to be a recurring problem, especially if they have other underlying conditions. The most common causes of recurring bloating are digestive issues and hormone fluctuations.

What causes stomach bloating after eating?

Many foods and conditions can result in your stomach bloating after eating. Most of the time, it’s not a matter of concern, and all you need to do is adjust your diet. Below we will explain the possible causes of a bloated stomach after eating and explain further how to prevent them. Stomach bloating issues could be as simple as eating too much food way too fast or more complicated issues like intolerance and digestive issues.

Excessive fbire intake

Fibre is a plant-based carbohydrate that helps in various functions in the body, such as regulating blood sugar levels and sugar consumption. However, fibre cannot be digested, which, when taken in excessive amounts, produces too much gas, which results in stomach pain and bloating after eating. A heart-healthy diet is supposed to have enough fibre. To have high amounts of fibre without feeling constipated, you need to gradually increase your fibre intake, allowing your body to adjust. According to research, reducing fibre in a diet can relieve bloating. Foods high in fibre include:

  • Beans
  • Whole grain oats
  • Fruits, such as apples and oranges
  • Lentils
  • Split peas
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts

Food intolerances and food allergies

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Complete Intolerance & Allergy Test Kit

Bloating and stomach pain after eating is a common symptom of food intolerance or allergy. It is especially common in all food intolerances. When your body rejects or reacts to any food you consume due to allergies or intolerances, it leads to gas production in the gastrointestinal tract and gets trapped, leading to bloating. The biggest culprits of bloating are gluten and wheat. If you have an intolerance to either or both, you will most likely have symptoms of stomach bloating and pain after eating.

To get a clarification on which foods are causing you to have these symptoms, you can get yourself an intolerance test online. If you aren’t sure whether this could be because of bloating or allergies, you can get an Allergy and Intolerance Test that will give you a list of foods you’re either allergic or intolerant to. Avoiding these foods or the intolerances and limiting them, you won’t experience stomach bloating after eating.

Fatty foods

You need fats since they are a necessary part of a balanced diet, which means sticking to mostly unsaturated healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and avocado. Your body needs these healthy fats to make cell walls, nerve tissue (like your brain), and hormones. The side effect of eating fats is that they take longer to digest, so the fats move slowly through the digestive tract, and if you’ve consumed too many fats, you’ll end up bloated. You’ll mostly find that your stomach will feel like it wants to burst out of your clothes after eating a meal loaded with fried foods. Overall, reducing fried foods from your diet can improve your digestion and overall health. Even though fats are an important energy source, it is better to consume healthy fats.

Fructose

It is difficult for the body to break down fructose compared to other sugars. Because of its difficulty breaking down this type of sugar, it results in gas, bloating, and pain. Fructose is naturally found in dried fruit, onions, honey, and garlic. In processed foods, you may find some foods contain this sugar, causing digestive issues like bloating.

Weight gain

If you’ve recently added ten pounds or more, you may notice that you get a little more constipated than usual{2}. That’s because, when you gain weight, most of it settles around your belly, taking up space and leaving little space for the stomach to expand. So, when you gain weight, it hinders your normal digestive processes as there won’t be enough space for digestion to take place well. At times, weight gain can also result in water retention, making you feel bloated with fluids in your stomach and elsewhere.

Consuming too much salt

If you have a heavy hand when putting salt in your food, that could be what causes stomach bloating after eating. Even though your body needs salt, people consume more salt than is necessary most of the time. Excessive salt causes the body to hold onto water, resulting in long-term health issues like high blood pressure. Always check your foods for sodium levels since most fast foods come already seasoned. When cooking at home, you can avoid using too much salt by adding flavorful herbs. It would be best to reduce the amount of packaged processed foods you consume.

Limit carbonated drinks

The bubbles in champagne, beer, and soda are mostly gas which is a major culprit of bloating. As you consume these drinks, the carbon dioxide gas present in them builds up in your body which can easily lead to bloating, especially if you drink them hastily. Sometimes you may burp, but there will remain some gas, and once it enters your digestive system, it stays there until you pass it. Most carbonated drinks are also full of sugar which may retain water, further making you feel bloated. The best way to reduce the consumption of these drinks is by drinking water instead.

Eating too fast

Normally, we swallow air when eating food. But if you eat it quickly, you will keep swallowing more air, leading to gas retention. Like carbonated drinks, once gas enters your intestines, there’s no going back until you pass it. Meanwhile, you’ll feel bloated. It takes your stomach approximately twenty minutes to send a message to your brain saying that you’re full. So, before this message is passed along, you will have already overate and feel bloated. To beat bloating, you should take your time when eating a meal.

FODMAPs

These are carbohydrates digested near the end of your intestine, where bacteria feed on them. Since all bodies are different, this may cause fluid and gas buildup, bloating, and stomach cramps in some people. FODMAPs are in some grains, dairy, vegetables, and fruits. Some people experience stomach pain and bloating after eating foods labelled as FODMAPs.

Hormones

Premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS, can cause some side effects in women like achiness, tiredness, and irritability the week before periods. PMS also makes the body retain water which often results in you feeling bloated. Most women report experiencing bloating before or during the periods because of hormonal fluctuations. When oestrogen spikes and progesterone decreases in the body, you will notice much bloating since oestrogen causes fluid retention. During the menstrual period, the uterus size increases, taking up space and causing bloating.

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

This condition occurs when there is an overflow of gut bacteria from the colon to the small intestine. The overgrowth of this bacteria tends to overwhelm the other bacteria meant to balance it out. Some of the bacteria are to absorb gases produced by the others. But when there is an imbalance, this cycle is thrown out of balance. When suffering from SIBO, you will most likely experience stomach bloating after eating very little, and sometimes your stomach will bloat for no reason whatsoever.

How to prevent stomach bloating after eating

If your stomach bloating is caused by foods you’ve eaten and not underlying illnesses, there are various ways you can help your body dispose of the food and clear bloating. Bloating caused by hormonal issues and food tend to ease up within a few hours or even days. Constipation won’t clear up until you’ve pooped. Exercise, water, and certain herbal teas may help you poop and get rid of bloating. There are various ways to relieve bloating. These include:

  • Herbal teas- Some herbal teas like peppermint, ginger, chamomile, turmeric, and fennel can help aid digestion and process gas. Dandelion tea will help you relieve water retention if you have water retention.
  • Antacids are great for relieving inflammation in the digestive tract, helping you pass gas easily. Antacids often contain active ingredients like simethicone which helps group small gas bubbles together and eventually leads to passing this gas.
  • Probiotics are great for rebalancing gut bacteria. Some probiotics will help you digest food better and even absorb excess gas. You must take the probiotics consistently for a few days or weeks to notice a difference.
  • Peppermint oil is naturally antispasmodic, which means they help your intestinal muscles relax. When your intestinal muscles have relaxed, you can easily pass poop and gas. It is especially good for you if you’re suffering from motility issues.
  • Psyllium husks are a fibre supplement that you can use to help you poop regularly. When getting started on these supplements, you need to drink lots of water and introduce them gradually.
  • Magnesium supplements are good at relaxing intestinal muscles and neutralizing stomach acid.
  • Regular exercise, especially focusing on your core, will help you become stronger and combat abdominal bloating.

Final thoughts on stomach bloating after eating

Even though bloating is quite common, it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition. You need to see your doctor as soon as you can so they can determine whether you have any underlying issues that may be causing excessive bloating. Otherwise, if you can’t find any underlying diseases and only experience stomach bloating after eating very little (and maybe specific foods), it may be due to food intolerance. It is common to have symptoms like gas, constipation, and bloating when you have a food intolerance. Get yourself an Intolerance Test kit today to know which specific foods you need to avoid if you want to curb bloating.

About the Author

After completing her BSc Combined Science: Human and Environmental Biological Studies in 1995,  Kate Young  joined Healthy Stuff in 2021 as our Laboratory Manager, following 7 years in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) for the Oak Clinic Group in Japan. She describes herself as having ’detailed research skills and a very innovative mindset’. Kate coordinates a team of 6, her expertise in processing protocols and validations has allowed us to gain ISO 9001 accreditation status and work towards Good Lab Practice and further ISO. See Kates Healthy Stuff profile here.

References

  1. Lacy BE, Cangemi D, Vazquez-Roque M. Management of Chronic Abdominal Distension and Bloating. (https://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565(20%2930433-X/fulltext) Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2021;19:219-231. Accessed 8/6/2021.
  2.  Sullivan, SM. Functional Abdominal Bloating with Distention. (https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2012/721820/) International Scholarly Research Notices. 2012;721820. Accessed 8/6/2021.
About Kate Young

Kate Young joined Healthy Stuff in 2021 as our Laboratory Manager, following 7 years in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) for the Oak Clinic Group in Japan. Coordinating a team of 6, her expertise in processing protocols and validations has allowed us to gain ISO 9001 accreditation status and work towards Good Lab Practice and further ISO. After completing her BSc Combined Science: Human and Environmental Biological Studies in 1995, she describes herself as having ’detailed research skills and a very innovative mindset’.

Whilst working in embryology, Kate worked on 14 different publications including, ‘trophectoderm biopsy and human blastocyst development’, and talked at the ‘European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’. Kate is a trusted member of the Healthy Stuff team and her attention to detail ensures that each test is in safe hands and able to be validated. Kates enjoys working with the management team and has a close relationship with Dr. Fornari in the lab team.

You can contact Kate at: [email protected].

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