We all know the feeling of being bloated. Whether you’ve simply bolted down a meal too fast, or have hormonal changes to blame, the uncomfortable sensations in the abdomen are often accompanied by a sense of being lethargic and run-down.
“Bloating is often described as a stretched, puffy and uncomfortable feeling in the stomach,” says Dr Ayesha Akbar, consultant gastroenterologist from The London Digestive Centre at The Princess Grace Hospital, part of HCA UK. “In some cases, the stomach can feel rock-hard and look swollen in appearance. Most people will experience bouts of bloating fairly regularly, and there can be a number of factors and triggers that cause this.”
Although it’s hard to assess the exact prevalence of bloating, the condition is certainly commonplace. Many people experience bloating after a big weekend of eating, such as over the festive period, and the gassiness will eventually dissipate by itself. In these cases, there is little to worry about, beyond being temporarily unable to zip up your favourite jeans.
However, if your bloating is more than an occasional inconvenience, it may be worth exploring further. As Akbar explains, regular or consistent bloating can be extremely debilitating.
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