It is normal to have a bloated stomach and wind from time to time and especially after a binge eating session. However, some people are more sensitive to abdominal gas and bloating than others. If you are the same way, you may experience excessive burping, flatulence, nausea and/or pain. Several factors can contribute to bloated stomach and wind. Some of the common ones are having too much dietary fibre, swallowing air, and consuming carbonated drinks. However, in some rare cases, bloating may be a sign of an underlying disease.

What causes bloated stomach and wind?

Gas is produced when bacteria acts on half-digested food in the stomach. High-fibre foods such as beans, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are known to be gassy. The amount of gut bacteria can also affect gas production. Though abdominal gas is mostly made up of methane, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide, it may have trace amounts of the chemical called sulphur, which is also responsible for the foul smell.

Another reason you might have a bloated stomach is if you swallow a lot of air when talking, drinking, smoking, or eating. Gulping down food and chewing gum can also cause you to swallow excess air, which then goes down into the oesophagus. If you sit up straight, the air is likely to go back up the oesophagus and escape through the mouth. This process is called belching.

On the other hand, if you lie down, the air will pass downward and get stuck in the stomach, causing gas and bloating. The excess gas will eventually enter the small intestines and escape through the anus. This process is known as flatulence, passing wind or farting.

How to know if you are bloated?

When you have abdominal bloating, it is almost impossible to ignore it. Your stomach expands two or three times its normal size, you feel full and even nauseous. You may also experience mild to severe camping or have trouble breathing. Burping is normal during or immediately after meals. However, when you have a bloated stomach and wind, you may burp or pass gas hours after having food. Flatulence and burping may be embarrassing, especially when you are in public, but they are actually great ways to get rid of bloating.

When to see a doctor about bloated stomach and wind?

Every person experiences gas and bloating. Burping and flatulence are also fairly common with people passing gas as much as 20 times a day. Though bloating is rarely a cause for concern, you should consult a doctor if you experience it daily despite maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet. A bloated tummy may sometimes be a symptom of an underlying condition. Besides the usual indicators of abdominal bloating, see if you also have the following symptoms:

- Diarrhoea or constipation

- Weight loss

- Bloody stools

- Change in bowel habits or the consistency of stool

- Recurring or persistent vomiting or nausea

- Chest pain

- Prolonged stomach ache

If you have some or all of these symptoms, it is crucial that you consult a general physician immediately.