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How Did I Get So Bloated?

by Hopkins

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As a Gastroenterologist, I spend many an hour talking about and thinking about bloating. Bloating is one of those conditions where people often describe it best as just the simple word, bloated. But what does that mean? Just try to explain what bloating is to your eight year old, you'll see it's not easy. A nice medical definition is that it is an uncomfortable sensation of distention, often from gas within the digestive system.

OK, so gas is usually the problem. Well, how does it get there and why does it cause pain? Excellent questions. So, there are three main ways that gas gets into your digestive tract. The first is the gas that you swallow. When you swallow too much, we give it the fancy name aerophagia, meaning eating air. How can you get aerophagia? Great question! People who chew gum often swallow more air than people who don't. People with unhealthy teeth who can't chew well tend to swallow more air. Another reason that is uncommon, but can lead to swallowing a figurative ton of air is breathing in before swallowing. To see if you are doing this, simply perform this test…

  1. Get a compact mirror and hold it in front of your face when you eat.

  2. Look carefully, are you breathing out before swallowing or breathing in?

  3. If you're breathing in, then that's a no-no. Train yourself to chew, then breath out, then swallow.

We're just getting started on this topic. Be sure to stay tuned as we the other two ways that gas gets into the digestive tract. Also, we'll talk about and then the many ways that we can help, like medications, physical therapy, and natural means such as peppermint oil.

I hope you found this article helpful and I look forward to sharing more soon.


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