Every woman has felt it and most have complained about it at one time or another, but for some, bloating can be toxic; what seems like a harmless nuisance is a classic symptom of some of the most dangerous diseases that strike women. How do you know if what you’re feeling is a case of indigestion or a warning sign that something is seriously wrong with your health? Here’s our guide.
What is Bloating?
When your lunch reaches your stomach, acids begin the digestive process, but the bulk of the work is handled by the small intestine. There, enzymes process the sugars, protein, and fat and help your body absorb them. If large molecules of food survive that step, they arrive in the large intestine (colon) where bacteria finish the job. As they work, those bacteria release gas, and, voila, your intestines become distended, you feel overly full and crampy and your pants don’t fit as well.
For the population at large, bloating is on the rise due to a perfect storm of lifestyle factors: an increased use of ingredients such as sorbitol and fructose that are not easily digested in the small intestine, declining levels of exercise (which helps keep the gut working properly), and a loss of helpful intestinal bacteria due to the overuse of some antibiotics. Bloating caused by these factors is uncomfortable, but harmless. But here are 3 times when you need to take your bloating seriously.