Bloated Belly

How to look and feel pregnant when you’re not!

A bloated belly and gas are two awful symptoms of IBS that often come together. The pain from trapped gas, the pooched out belly and swollen, full feeling each cause their own kinds of misery. Clothes don’t fit and the gas can cause abdnominal spasms that can make you WISH you could pass out!

What is bloating?

Well, there can be many causes of bloating (stomach flu, menstruation, etc.). Since this is an IBS website we’re going to be talking (or reading) about the abdominal bloating that’s part of IBS. That’s when your belly swells up and makes you feel miserable for no apparent reason :(.

If you have the gas that often causes or accompanies abdominal bloating then you can have terrible belly pain. Another reason people become bloated is due to an inflamed colon. Blood fills up the tissue of the intestinal tract causing it to swell, often causing abdominal pain and discomfort.

And I’m not kidding when I say it can make you bloated enough to look pregnant.

What causes a bloated belly?

In the case of IBS, a bloated belly may be caused by food sensitivities that irritate your intestines, or foods that cause you to have excess gas.

In either case finding out which foods cause your bloating are your first priorities! A food elimination diet or a food sensitivity test can go a long way to help that. If your body is sensitive to certain foods, it’s sure to cause and inflamed colon at some point.

Lactose intolerance, a sensitivity to milk products is one of the most common causes of belly bloating, but there are many others.

How can I prevent this kind of bloating?

Well, assuming you’ve been to your doctor, and ruled out other problems like inflammatory bowel disease, etc., I think you should try cutting back on foods that give you gas (Beans, dairy and broccoli for me; heck, beans for just about everyone!). You could also try the food elimination diet link above to see if there are foods that you are sensitive to. Also, I’d check out the food sensitivity section of this site.

A quick list of foods that may cause a bloated belly would include:

  • Too much sugar (yeast in your intestines turn it into gas)
  • Soda (basically drinking gas and maybe sugar)
  • Sugary drinks like many fruit juices
  • Too much white flour (which turns to sugars)
  • Broccoli, cabbage and other “cruciferous” vegetables
  • Milk, cheese and other dairy products (if dairy bothers you like it does 3/4 of all people)

As always make sure you’ve checked with your doctor to make sure there’s nothing serious going on!

I hope it helps.



  1. Marie says

    That really does help. I eat far too much sugar and by the end of the day I always look 3 months pregnant. So, I’m going to try cutting out sugar… coffee and milk for a while and see if it improves.
    Thanks again, this blog is so helpful :)

  2. Marlene says

    Hi Shawn…

    Your website has been a big help to me in answering so many questions that my doctor had no answers for.

    I have IBS however, I am fortunate enough not to get cramping etc., every day. I do however suffer every day from bloating and look 7 months pregnant by noon and probably should go out on maternity leave! I am not overweight but I look overweight
    because of the bloating. Probiotics have helped.

    I just went gluten free and it looks like I might have to go dairy free too.

    Thanks for your informative website, it really helped me a lot.

    • says

      Hi Marlene, I’m glad you found information and comfort here. Your maternity leave quip was funny, but I know it’s not funny to live through. I’m glad the probiotics are helping. I don’t eat gluten or dairy either. I have problems with both, but I KNOW dairy is the worst for me! I hope that your diet changes help you. If you go dairy free and it helps, I hope you’ll leave another comment here, so we can all benefit from your experience. Thanks! Shawn

  3. sherri vasquez says

    my boyfriend has bloating and diarreha almost everyday now after eating sometimrs at night he has a drink before bed and latley he get sick and diarreha right away .

    • says

      Hi Sherri, There are a lot of things that can lead to this sort of problem. If your boyfriend is sensitive to a food, like gluten/wheat or dairy, then that could certainly be an issues. You two may want to look at the Is a Food Intolerance Causing Your IBS? page. Also A lot of people are sensitive to alcohol, see the Alcohol and Diarrhea page.

      As always, if something like chronic diarrhea persists, he should DEFINITELY see a medical professional. There could be a simple fix, or he might find out there’s a problem. Best to catch problems EARLY!

  4. tonia fay says

    Shawn, this is the best site about our conditions. Everything you write is so very helpful for the average person. I have suffered for so many years. I am having an ensocpy (spelling) on January 10 to see if that is causing some of my IBS. Small intestine problem can make a lot of this happen. So I think, not a dr. Sugar is my big problem. addictive I am and I am having a bad time this last week. Love the heating pad, my best friend.

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