Specifically, giardiasis, hookworm infection, and amoebiasis are gastrointestinal parasites that can cause bloating.
Short Bowel Syndrome
This is a condition seen in patients who have gone gastrointestinal resection, have birth defects/hereditary conditions (intestinal atresia), Crohn’s disease, or any condition causing a portion of the large or small intestine to not function properly, leading to poor absorption of nutrients.
When to seek consultation
Abdominal bloating alone may not be a cause for serious concern, if patients are constipated, increased intake of fiber and hydration may resolve their bloating.
However, when abdominal bloating is accompanied by other symptoms such as uncontrolled/excessive vomiting, haematemesis (blood in the vomit), hematochezia/melena (blood in the stool), nausea, a loss of consciousness, uncontrolled diarrhea, or no bowel movement for three days, then patients should seek consultation immediately.
The pattern at which abdominal bloating presents itself may be alarming for patients as well. If bloating is accompanied by painful sexual intercourse, painful bowel movements, or after every meal, patients should seek medical consultation.
Seek medical help when there has been no bowel movement for several days or the patient has had no flatus for the past few days.
Prevention of Abdominal Bloating
Abdominal bloating that is due to diet or constipation can be prevented by diet modification and adequate hydration.
Patients should follow the low FODMAP diet, which stands for low Fermentable Oligosaccharide, Disaccharide, Monosaccharide, and Polyols. These carbohydrates are not always fully absorbed, and thus, can lead to gas production via the normal flora of the gut. Selectively removing certain food mentioned below and seeing whether symptoms resolve may help in diet modification to prevent future bloating episodes.