Having a pseudo-pregnant belly is the worst! Especially when people start thinking that’s a real baby bump and begin congratulating you. You can’t help but facepalm and clear the rather awkward air embarrassingly. You find yourself saying rather meekly, “Oh I just ate too much, that’s all.”
Seriously, chronic bloating is so common among women right now that sometimes even we start rubbing our bellies fondly. Well, I know I do it – guilty as charged! Nonetheless, the big question is- what causes this abomination? Is it really overeating? Or is it the result of drinking one too many glasses of wine without having enough water?
If you, like me, have always wanted to know the reason behind bloating, you’ve come to the right place. Bloating, defined as a swelling in the abdominal area, is caused by multiple reasons according to Washington, DC-based Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a leading gastroenterologist as well as the founder of the wellness center, Digestive Centre for Women.
In her book, The Bloat Cure, she goes on to explain that the prime cause of women being more bloated more often than men is because they tend to possess larger intestines. And that’s completely plausible as on an average, the size of a woman’s colon exceeds that of a man by 10 cm, which helps in the absorption of fluids when a woman is pregnant.
When Aunt Flo comes visiting, she makes sure to bring with her a lot of discomfort for you. And you can feel a lot of that discomfort even before she’s arrived! PMS generally starts 5 to 11 days prior to the onset of your next period, and manifests itself in many symptoms. Bloating is one of those symptoms.
However, despite causing a lot of grief, this specific kind of bloating has a silver lining too. You can completely control and even eliminate bloating caused by PMS! The cure lies in simple things such as hydrating more, consuming less salt, taking all of your vitamins, exercising regularly, and sleeping at least 8 hours.
3. IBS Or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Ovarian cysts are small sacs, filled with fluid that grow upon the surface of your ovaries. They are usually caused by disturbances in your hormonal balance, especially that particular hormone, which is responsible for releasing the egg every ovulation cycle.
If you’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cysts, you will experience bloating as a symptom as the cysts put pressure on your abdomen. Ovarian cysts can be controlled with the help of medication. However, if you condition is severe, you may need surgical intervention.
Now, these were women-centric causes of bloating. However, the following are more general reasons that could account for bloating:
When your body doesn’t get the daily dose of water it requires, it desperately tries to retain the water it has, and that leads to the feeling of bloating.
If you’re unable to release stool due to constipation, it will remain stored in your intestine, creating abdominal pressure and leading to bloating.
Apart from the above, stomach bugs and infections can also lead to a swollen belly. Now that you know all the causes, you stand in a better position when it comes to treatment options. If your bloating is chronic, it’s time to call up your doctor and get things in control.