Feel Bloated? It Could Be Your Diet

ByABC News via logo
February 11, 2002, 3:17 PM

N E W   Y O R K, Feb. 12 -- Some days your favorite pants button without a struggle, while other days it's a battle yet the scale hasn't moved. What gives?

You may think you simply ate too much for lunch and dismiss it. But abdominal bloating, whether it's painful or just uncomfortable, is an everyday problem for some people.

Eva Bowen suffered with daily bloating for decades before getting relief. "I would eat lunch and I would have to unzip my clothing,and put a sweater over me, and would feel so uncomfortable and bloated," Bowen said on Good Morning America.

Dr. Leo Galland, Bowen's doctor and the director for the Foundation of Integrated Medicine, told Good Morning America that in Bowen's case diet changes worked to treat her bloating. After diagnosing her with carbohydrate-related bloating, he told her to cut starch, wheat, soda and other types of food and drinks from her diet.

"You need food, and the foods that are less likely to cause symptoms if you have carbo bloating are fish, meat, poultry, eggsand non-gassy vegetables but it's an individual thing," he said.

Bowen's bloating has decreased since she started eating more non-bloating foods.

Who's Bloated?

Bloating affects both men and women, but seems to affect women more. In some cases, the cause can be a lot more serious than gas. People with late-stage ovarian cancer, severe liver or kidney disease may experience abdominal swelling that is persistent. Anytime that abdominal bloating is accompanied by severe pain, fever, the inability to pass gas, diarrhea or blood in the bowel movements it can be a sign of intestinal obstruction or inflammation.

Simple abdominal bloating doesn't usually get much attention from doctors since it is not a life-threatening disease, even though it can cause a great deal of misery in otherwise healthy people. It is associated with discomfort, mild constipation or diarrhea, burping, fatigue, or feelings of general un-wellness or just social embarrassment, Galland says.