When Should Your Call A Doctor About Abdominal Bloating?

Posted on: 19 January 2021

Should you see a stomach doctor for abdominal bloating? Some causes, such as weight gain or a woman's menstrual cycle, can result in a temporary tight, swollen, or full feeling. But other issues may signal a chronic problem. If you're not sure why your belly is bloated, take a look at the top reasons to contact a medical provider about this common abdominal issue.

You Have Bloat and Bowel Issues

Do you also have diarrhea, constant constipation, or a significant change in your bowel habits? Bloat, cramps, and chronic bowel issues are symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS). According to the American College of Gastroenterology, 10 to 15 percent of American adults have IBS symptoms. A smaller percentage, five to seven, are diagnosed with this chronic gastrointestinal disease.

Along with a history of your symptoms, the doctor will examine you physically and may recommend a colonoscopy to diagnose IBS. If you have an IBS diagnosis, you may need to see a stomach physician (or gastroenterologist) to manage the symptoms. You may need to change your lifestyle and eating or drinking habits to reduce the severity of IBS symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, or bloating.

While IBS is a common cause of bloat and bowel issues, inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Cohn's disease, can also cause similar medical issues. The similarities between bowel-related diseases make it necessary to get a doctor's diagnosis. Self-diagnosis is never advisable.

You Have Food Sensitivities

Does your abdominal bloat happen after you eat specific foods? Carbonated beverages (such as soda) and some types of foods natural cause gas buildup in your stomach or digestive tract. If you feel bloated after quickly drinking a bottle of soda or after eating spicy or fiber-rich foods, you may not have a food sensitivity. But if you regularly bloat, have cramps, or have abdominal pain after you eat non-gassy foods, it's possible you have a sensitivity or intolerance.

To better understand which foods you can't digest well, you need a doctor's diagnosis. A physician will review your symptoms, examine you, and recommend diagnostic testing to rule out other conditions or severe food allergies.

If you do have a diagnosed food sensitivity or intolerance, talk to the doctor about how to change your eating habits. You may need to completely avoid the foods you're sensitive to. The medical provider can provide you with a full list of foods/beverages you can and can't eat.