Bloating is a feeling of abdominal tightness and is a symptom and not a disease perse. It is different from abdominal distension where there is a visible increase in size of the abdomen and distension indicates obstruction of intestine.
Bloating is usually secondary to reduced compliance / increased perception of the normally occurring intraluminal gas and contents.
This usually occur secondary to inflammation in or around the intestines and stomach (Food poisoning, enteritis, Gastritis, severe GERD, colitis). Rarely distant problems can affect intestines via chemical mediators and hormones as in cholecystitis (Inflammed Gallbladder), pancreatitis, Pneumonia, heart attack.
Bloating can also be felt as part of a malabsorption syndrome (including lactose intolerance). Hypothyroidism and vitamin deficiency states (especially B12). People mayalso feel bloated with sleep deprivation, stress and constipation.
Normally diaphragm (breathing muscle) and chest muscles adapt to the altered abdominal pressures and muscle tone to limit its impact on breathing. However when these fail, people may also complain of “laboured breathing or insufficient air or a need to sigh” and this maybe the presenting complaint in a few patients.
As this is a manifestation of a disease, correcting the underlying cause will relieve this also. Getting into too many dietary restrictions to try and avoid this is only a stop gap fix and will lead other nutritional deficiencies and problems.
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