What is Stomach Bloating?
Bloating in the stomach can be a common occurrence – most of us will experience a bloated stomach at some stage of our lives. The feeling of ‘pressure’ and ‘fullness’ in the stomach, that can make it feel as though we are stretched to capacity or weighted down.
Symptoms of Stomach Bloating
Many times, stomach bloating is not an isolated symptom, and may be accompanied by one or more of the following:
- Distended abdomen/Stomach Distention
- Fullness or ‘tightness’ in the stomach
- Aching Stomach
- Shortness of Breath
- Lower Back Pain
What Causes Stomach Bloating?
Bloating is most often caused by trapped gas in the small intestine. This can cause flatulence (passing of excessive gas/wind) painful stomach ache and an uncomfortable feeling when wearing tight clothes. There are a variety of things that can cause this bloated feeling, including digestion problems such as:
Other conditions that may result in a bloated stomach include:
Bloating can also occur as a result of food intolerance, insufficient Hydrochloric acid in your stomach, insufficient digestive enzymes in your stomach or lack of good intestinal flora (good bacteria normally present in the gut). Whatever the cause, the fact remains that for some reason digestion is hampered and undigested foods are reaching your gut where fermentation takes place causing the bloating.
As a bloated stomach can indicate more serious conditions, if bloating persists or worsens, it is advised that you seek medical advice.
Stomach Bloating in Babies & Children
While all babies have some amount of gas, excessive gas can lead to stomach bloating and subsequently, discomfort. Nursing or bottle feeding produces gas in the digestive tract, which is created naturally as a result of digesting lactose, protein and other nutrients in breast milk or formula. In addition, many babies gulp air during feedings, leading to gas and bloating. Burping the baby during feedings can greatly alleviate this problem.
A mother’s diet may also contribute to gas in her baby, passed through breast milk. Excessive acidity and dairy products may result in dairy intolerances. Many children also have food sensitivities, which can lead to stomach bloating. Try eliminating certain foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, soy and peanuts, and slowly reintroduce them. Also avoid foods known to cause gas, such as beans and broccoli.
Crying can also cause stomach bloating as a result of gulping air. While babies cry due to a lack of ability to communicate in any other way, young children are prone to crying often as well and experience bloating and gas.
Both babies and children can be very sensitive to their environments, which can lead to distress if overstimulation occurs, leading to intestinal disturbances, bloating and gas. Try to minimize your baby or child’s activity levels and see if the problem is alleviated – for example, limit visitors, taking your child along on errands, and eliminate background noise like a T.V. or radio, which can disrupt comfort levels.
Help for Stomach Bloating
Many herbal and homeopathic remedies have been formulated with specific ingredients to lessen stomach bloating and promote healthy digestion. Herbs such as Foeniculum Vulgare (Sweet Fennel) and Pulsatilla Vulgaris (Pasque Flower) help to alleviate bloating naturally while Arctium lappa (Burdock) is well known as an herbal systemic cleanser to effectively detoxify the digestive system, strengthen weak digestion, and relieve wind, as well as distension (bloating), constipation and indigestion. Natural remedies from a reputable source can address the underlying causes of bloating without causing further stomach upsets.