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Bloating is a common complaint, but it can be a symptom of a digestive disorder, so if you have frequent episodes, you may want to see a stomach doctor. The doctor can help you find a reason for the gas or fluid accumulation and provide treatments that can help. You'll also learn if the gas in your digestive tract is just caused by diet and lifestyle habits or if it is a symptom of another condition that needs treatment. Here are some things to discuss with a doctor about your bloating.
Things That Trigger Episodes
Gas is sometimes caused by foods you are sensitive to such as dairy and gluten. While you're waiting for your doctor's appointment, keep a diary of the things you eat, your activities, and your episodes. This information could help you see a pattern that identifies your triggers. Plus, this information gives the doctor some insight into your diet and lifestyle habits that could be contributing to your bloating.
Knowing your triggers can also help your doctor treat you more effectively. If you find out dairy is the problem, your doctor may advise you to take enzyme supplements or avoid dairy for several weeks to see if your bloating goes away.
Additional Symptoms You Have
If bloating is a symptom of a medical condition, you may have other symptoms, too. The more symptoms you tell your doctor about, the more clues the doctor has to the cause of your condition. Make note of things such as acid reflux, constipation, changes in weight, bloody stools, fever, abdominal pain, or even irregular menstrual bleeding.
Bloating isn't only a sign of a stomach or intestinal condition, it could be a symptom of liver, pancreatic, ovarian, uterine, heart, or kidney disease. Let your doctor know of any symptoms you've been having even if they don't seem related to your digestive tract.
Tests You May Need
Your doctor might order tests to uncover the cause of your problem. Tests may not always be necessary, but your doctor may want tests to rule out certain medical conditions. Your doctor might order blood work, food sensitivity testing, urinalysis, fecal blood test, imaging tests, colonoscopy, pelvic exam, or rectal exam.
Since bloating can be caused by many things, the doctor may need to rule out causes through testing to narrow down the possibilities. In addition, you may be asked to make lifestyle changes such as eating slower and avoiding certain foods to see if your condition improves between doctor visits.
Treatments You Need
If your episodes are caused by food and lifestyle, the only treatment you might need is to make changes to your diet and habits such as avoiding carbonated beverages. However, you might also need to take enzyme supplements or medications to relieve your gas. If your condition is caused by a medical problem, treating the medical condition may relieve your bloating, too.
Reach out to a local stomach doctor if you have questions.