Bloating After Meals? 4 Common Reasons
Most people expect to feel bloated after consuming a big meal, but in some cases, bloating happens regardless of meal size. There are several reasons bloating occurs, many of which can be fixed without medical intervention.
You can easily intake too much air during your meals. Sometimes this occurs because you are eating too fast. Be more deliberate about eating and take smaller bites. Chew each bite well before swallowing to minimize the amount of air you swallow. Another issue can be the beverages you consume at meal times. Carbonated beverages are full of air and can make you feel bloated. Try not consuming carbonated beverages with your food or consider eliminating them altogether if you realize they are an ongoing culprit.
Any number of foods are linked with intolerances and it is not always easy to determine which ones are the problem. Some people go on a food elimination diet to determine if they have problems with specific types of foods. Some common intolerances are gas-producing foods, such as broccoli, beans, and cabbage. Gluten, nuts, seeds, and dairy are other foods you should consider eliminating. Start your elimination by eating a fairly bland diet that includes simple foods. After a week of eating a simple diet, you can add back a food group at a time until you determine if any are the problem.
Stomach irritation or more serious problems, such as ulcers, can also cause bloating. Some people find they feel better after eating a small amount of food, but suddenly feel worse if they eat much more. If the problem is stomach irritation, taking OTC medications, in addition to eating light foods, should help. Retail medications that are antacids and anti-gas should be helpful. If you notice these medications are helpful temporarily and bloating is an ongoing problem, consider trying OTC proton-pump inhibitors. These medications are available as a two-week course and you should start to feel better within a few days of taking them.
Gallbladder inflammation usually has additional symptoms beyond bloating. Some people also develop a fever, nausea, and vomiting in addition to sharp pains in the upper abdomen that can radiate to the back and shoulder. Some episodes of gallbladder inflammation eventually clear up with medical treatment. Treatment may involve antibiotics if an infection is suspected and pain medication. If the gallbladder problems are caused because of gallstones, then more invasive treatments will be necessary to break up or remove the stones.
Most instances of bloating after meals will go away once you determine the offending food or beverage. In some cases, ongoing bloating can be a sign of more serious gastrointestinal problems.