It is very important that you discuss this concern with your primary care physician
. A sensation of abdominal bloating is a non-specific symptom that can be caused by a wide variety of underlying diseases or processes. The bloating may be due to a buildup of stomach gas, intestinal gas, constipation or a gynecologic process such as abnormal menstruation. Gas may build up due to the over-indigestion of poorly-digested foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables. Other foods which can lead to bloating include sugar substitutes (found in chewing gum and diet sodas). Gas may also build up due to lactose intolerance in the setting of continued dairy consumption. In this condition, the intestines lose their ability to degrade lactose, the major sugar in dairy products. Irritable bowel syndrome can also present with bloating and abdominal discomfort; usually the bloating is associated with constipation or diarrhea and feels better after bowel movements in this disorder.
The buildup of bacteria in the small intestine can also cause increased gas production; bacteria may accumulate if the bowels are slowed down in disorders characterized by slow intestinal motility seen in benign circumstances and also in certain autoimmune disorders. Celiac disease can also present with abdominal bloating; in this disease the small intestinal lining becomes blunted and poorly absorbs nutrients when the person ingests products containing gluten. Lastly, inflammatory bowel disease (an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the cells lining the intestines) can also present with bloating, although this condition typically presents with more severe symptoms such as abdominal pain, weight loss, and bloody diarrhea. Since the cause of your abdominal bloating is unclear, you should see your primary care physician for further work-up. In the event that your doctor
feels the cause may be an underlying gastrointestinal disorder, you can be referred to a gastroenterologist
for further care.