Most of us have experienced that uncomfortable sensation, often after a big meal, where a button needs to be undone as your belly is pushed outwards as if by an invisible force from deep within. Sometimes it can feel like we’re about to give birth to a bowling ball. So what’s going on? Bloating is one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms, explains gastroenterologist  Dr Richard Saad. There are a variety of simple causes, from overproduction of gas in the intestines, to constipation, overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, inability to absorb carbohydrates such as lactose, and premenstrual water retention. There is a chance that bloating becomes persistent, which may be a sign of something serious, such as fluid collection or a growth, and should be checked by a doctor. Usually, though, the following solutions can help ease your discomfort.

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