Anxiety, poor posture and other unusual causes of bloating

Bloating is a condition that occurs when your stomach is producing a lot of gas. It can get triggered by your diet, dehydration, stress and your posture.

Myupchar January 29, 2020 18:26:12 IST
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Anxiety, poor posture and other unusual causes of bloating

Most of us have, unfortunately, experienced bloating first hand. Those days when you just can’t shake the feeling of being full and your tummy feels like it might just explode, even before you start a meal. 

Bloating is a condition that occurs when your stomach is producing a lot of gas. It can get triggered by your diet, due to dehydration, stress and your posture. Yes, you heard it right, how you sit can make you bloat and there are also people who just tend to bloat more easily. 

Anxiety poor posture and other unusual causes of bloating

Representational image. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

So, if you have tried doing everything right and your bloating just doesn’t seem to go away, you might want to check if one of the following is the cause. 

1. Fibre and protein diet 

Fibre is undoubtedly one of the best macronutrients for the gut. It improves digestion and helps remove waste out of the body quickly. So, in a way, it should help reduce bloating. However, researchers at John Hopkins University now say that the concept might not be that straightforward (as always). Explaining the findings of their study, Dr Noel Mueller, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the co-author of the study, said that this happens because fibre stimulates the growth of a healthy gut microflora, which naturally produce gas when they digest fibre. A protein-rich diet would just add to the effect on microbial growth and, in turn, bloating. A fibre and carb-rich diet, on the other hand, would not cause as much bloating.

2. Anxiety

There is a direct connection between your brain and your gut. A problem with either of them can affect the other. So, if you tend to be stressed or anxious then it may be the reason behind your bloated belly. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, anxious people tend to swallow air excessively, which then collects in their abdomen and shows up as bloating. Additionally, stress also imbalances the digestion process, which just adds to the problem.

3. Abnormal reaction to stomach gas 

Believe it or not, it's possible for your body to just be designed to bloat. In his article published on Harvard Health, Dr Kyle Staller, a gastroenterology expert at the Harvard Medical School, explained how. Two things happen whenever you eat something that causes gas, your abdominal muscles tighten and your diaphragm moves up into your chest cavity to make space for the gas. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates your chest and abdomen. However, in some people, the diaphragm doesn’t go up, but contracts (pushes down) instead. So, to make space for the gas, the abdominal walls bulge out, which shows up as a bloated tummy.

And then there is a condition called visceral hypersensitivity, in which, a person’s body has an abnormal perception of stomach gas. If you have this condition, your body would have an overreaction to even normal amounts of gas and would hence bloat more often. Visceral hypersensitivity is one of the reasons for bloating in people who have irritable bowel syndrome.

4. Lots of salt

No, we are not talking about the salt you add to your food but the one you don’t even notice. This includes junk food and all the snacks that you munch on throughout the day. Foods like bread, cheese and sauces have hidden salt in them that just adds to your total salt intake of the day. Though scientists are still trying to find out how exactly salt makes you bloat, some researchers say that excess salt in the body can cause water retention, which could be one of the causes of bloating. 

After a study done at the John Hopkins University to assess the effects of high sodium diet on bloating, scientists hypothesised that a high salt diet may have an effect on the gut flora that leads to increase in gas production just like a high fibre diet. So, if you are on a fibre-rich diet, it is best to reduce your salt intake.

5. Wrong posture

If your mom ever told to avoid lying down right after meals, she was right. Wrong posture does affect how fast stomach gas passes through your body. In a study done in 2003, researchers found that gas travels faster through your gut when you are in an upright position, rather than supine or when you are lying on your back. Though the study did not confirm the exact cause of this effect, it was suggested that this may be because when you are sitting in an upright position, the pressure in your lower abdomen increases, which affects certain receptors in your gut that promote the propulsion of gas out of your body.

Gas can stay in your intestines for up to an hour if you lie down right after a meal, but if you are sitting upright it may just clear out quicker than that. 

For more information, read our article on Bloating: Causes, Prevention and Home Remedies.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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