Bloating is a discomfort that we’ve all experienced at some point. However, the causes behind bloating can vary, ranging from relatively harmless to potentially life-threatening. Some of the more common causes include:
- Swallowing air
- Slow digestion and constipation
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Lactose intolerance and problems digesting other foods
- Small bowel bacterial overgrowth
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a chronic condition that impacts the large intestine and is common in younger people seeking medical care for bloating. In addition to bloating, common symptoms of IBS include cramping, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and changes in the appearance or frequency of your bowel movements. Other symptoms such as depression, anxiety, chronic headaches, fatigue, or muscle aches are also often reported by patients with IBS. Some of these symptoms may be worsened by triggers such as certain foods and stress.
IBS can be diagnosed by your gastroenterologist, typically without any stool tests, laboratory tests, endoscopies, or radiology imaging studies. Although IBS can often be controlled by managing your diet and lifestyle, there are also a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can be recommended by your gastroenterologist to treat this condition.
Make an appointment with your provider today if you’re experiencing persistent bloating or other severe symptoms of IBS.