For some time now, i know many of you might have the thoughts that you can only feel bloated after eating, just because you eat too much. But on the contrary, there exist so many other reasons that cause bloating after eating. Some of those reasons includes fluctuating hormones, antibiotics, certain types of foods etc. Bloating can often be blamed in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which is a common issue that is caused by a sensitive gut and usually ends up leaving you with issues like cramps, bloating and diarrhoea.
Usually in these cases the stomach swells by a few centimeters, but in severe cases it may actually dabble in size. While most people’s stomachs may swell just a couple of centimeters, others’ can actually double in girth in just one day, only to ‘deflate’ overnight until the next “attack”.
Not everyone’s stomachs will distend in this way, instead they will report suffering an uncomfortable swollen feeling. So what could be behind your fluctuating waistband and bloated feeling, and what can you do about it? Below are 5 reasons you feel bloated after eating.
1. Fluctuating hormones
Hormonal fluctuations during a woman’s monthly cycle are a common trigger for bloating. But while many women might put it down to ‘fluid retention’, the cause is actually relaxed muscles. Many women find they are bloated before their period, and this is due to an increased level of progesterone.
During ovulation, the ovaries produce more progesterone and it causes muscles in the abdomen to relax. Everything (i.e. the organs) is not packed in as tightly as usual, causing a woman to look bloated. It tends to get worse just before the menopause. The muscles in the bowel also relax, meaning they are less efficient at moving food along the gut. This can cause constipation, triggering further bloating. It’s possible to overcome this by eating more fiber.
2. Healthy diet
Anything “healthy” is often a cause of bloating. High-fiber foods, such as cereals, beans and pulses cause bloating by fermenting in the gut. Do not force yourself to eat lots of brown bread, bran and vegetables if they are crucifying you.
Healthy snacks are another problem. Many people spend all day snacking on large amounts of fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, all of which ferment in the bowel and cause problems in both healthy people and those with irritable bowel syndrome. Beans are notorious for causing bloating, yet people eat them because they’re healthy.
People wonder why they are bloated and constipated, yet they are on a high-protein diet so getting very little fiber, which is what we need to go to the loo regularly.’
3. Antibiotics and medications
A lack of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut can lead to bloating. Good bacteria, also known as the gut flora, help to stimulate the digestive process and keep the gut cells healthy. But taking antibiotics, cortisone, chronic medication, contraceptives or suffering from food poisoning, can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria, causing bad bacteria to proliferate.
This imbalance means you’re more likely to be sensitive to foods that ferment in the gut, causing bloating and gas. Probiotics can help restore the balance of good bacteria again.
There is clearly a link between the brain and the gut, and so stress can make any digestive symptoms more severe. In irritable bowel syndrome, this connection is exaggerated and the gut is oversensitive to factors such as stress, diet, hormones and bacteria. In fact, stress is one of the biggest triggers for the condition.
5. Undiagonised Coeliac disease
Coeliac disease, which is an allergy to gluten, can cause uncomfortable bloating, although there are no clear reasons behind this. Whereas irritable bowel syndrome is basically a plumbing problem, allergies are caused by a problem with the immune system. The problem is the symptoms can be very similar to irritable bowel syndrome and many patients go undiagnosed for years.
Other common symptoms that might help differentiate coeliac disease from irritable bowel syndrome include unexplained anaemia, fertility problems and joint pain. Millions of people suffer from undiagnosed coeliac disease. If you think you have a food intolerance or allergy, keep a food diary for seven days, noting when exactly you ate, what symptoms you had (if any), when they appeared, and grade them from zero to four in terms of severity.
These are some of the reasons you might feel bloated after eating, and it is not necessary linked to over consumption of foods on your part.