Do you regularly play sports, do crunches, and your stomach continues to stick out?
Do not rush to blame excess weight. There are many reasons why your belly may appear bigger.
Here are 5 types of belly that aren’t caused by excess fat
1. “Air” belly
As odd as it sounds, swallowing too much air can lead to bloating. This can be a nervous habit, but it also often happens when you eat, chew, or are used to jabbering.
Chewing gum can only make the problem worse.
Doctors often consider swallowing large amounts of air to be a symptom of other digestive disorders and psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression.
In addition, we often swallow more air than usual when we are worried and nervous. Every time our breathing becomes difficult, and we breathe in air convulsively, the stress level increases, and bloating occurs due to the abundance of accumulated air.
What to do?
- To stop swallowing more air, learn to eat and drink slowly.
- Chew food thoroughly with your mouth closed.
- Try not to talk while eating.
- Avoid smoking as this also leads to excess air.
- Avoid carbonated drinks, as they contain bubbles of carbon dioxide, which is released and causes bloating and gas in the intestines.
- Meditate, go for a walk, or exercise to learn how to deal with stress and swallow less air.
2. “Water” belly
Water retention in the body occurs due to the accumulation of fluid in any part of the body. In this case, we are talking about the stomach. Fluid buildup is also one of the ways our body responds to stress.
An imbalance in electrolytes can also cause a watery belly. The most prominent example of water retention in the body is swollen hands and feet, but this can happen to your belly as well.
Most often, bloating of the abdomen due to the water retention time, and the body restores the balance after a stressful situation passes.
However, in rare cases, swelling in the abdomen can indicate cardiac, pulmonary, and renal complications.
What to do?
- Monitor your weight and watch for drastic changes.
- Refrain from consuming foods high in salt, as salt further promotes water retention.
- Drink plenty of water. While this seems controversial, getting enough water helps remove accumulated fluid in the body.
- Eat diuretic foods such as green and black tea, parsley, watermelon, and ginger.
- Lift your legs on your back 3-4 times a day to improve blood and fluid circulation.
3. “Gas” belly
Excess gas in the intestines appears not only due to the ingestion of large amounts of air but also due to insufficient digestion of certain foods.
If you experience persistent belching after eating, some foods may be to blame.
Cabbage, onions, legumes, and other fiber-rich foods produce gases as a by-product of digestion.
Sometimes the culprit can be lactose, fructose, and gluten intolerance, which lead to bloating and gas.
Gastrointestinal infections, chronic diseases, and stomach upsets caused by bacteria can also increase flatulence and bloating.
What to do?
- Identify the foods that are causing the problem by temporarily eliminating them from your diet.
- Eat more probiotic foods to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut and help improve digestion.
- Also, try cutting back on fiber-rich foods for a while.
- Reduce your intake of sugary and starchy foods to a minimum until your gut health is restored.
4. Cystic abdomen
One of the obvious symptoms of an ovarian cyst is bloating. During the cycle, once a month, the ovaries produce an egg in the follicles. Sometimes the follicles do not produce an egg, and the fluid inside the follicle results in a cyst.
Cysts can range in size from microscopic to quite large, like a ball or watermelon.
Many women attribute this to being overweight, but abdominal pain and bloating may be due to cyst growth. If you only notice a bulging belly and do not find the cause of the sudden weight gain, this is a warning sign.
However, it is worth remembering that most ovarian cysts are harmless. Quite often, you don’t even feel the symptoms, and the cyst disappears over time.
If you are concerned about pelvic pain, discomfort in the lower abdomen, and bleeding, you may need to consult a doctor with this problem.
What to do?
- If the cyst has not ruptured or twisted, a functional cyst usually does not require intervention.
- However, your doctor may ask you to be tested to analyze the problem.
- In some cases, surgical removal of the cyst is suggested.
- If you tend to develop ovarian cysts, it is recommended that you do regular checkups.
5. Abdomen from constipation
Constipation occurs with slow bowel movements or difficulty passing stools. This results in many characteristic symptoms, such as:
- The feeling of fullness in the abdomen or pelvic region
- Intestinal cramps
- Severity and discomfort in the stomach and abdomen
- Pain in the back.
How often you empty your bowels is a subjective matter, and what is normal for one may not be normal for another.
You can have a bowel movement 1-3 times a day or 3 times a week, and if this is a regular and habitual thing, it can be considered the norm. Rarer or more frequent emptying may already be considered a problem.
Eating disorders are a common cause of constipation. This is facilitated by the consumption of a small amount of fiber, as well as an insufficient amount of water. Also, constipation often occurs during pregnancy, with diets, taking certain medications, and lack of physical activity.
Constipated intestines become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. The activity of these bacteria leads to the production of gas, which also causes bloating and belching.
What to do?
- The most important thing in treating constipation is to include adequate fibre and water in your diet. You need to consume at least 25 grams of fibre from sources such as vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
- Try to eat at the same time with equal intervals between meals.
- Reduce your caffeine intake.
- Exercise regularly to avoid constipation and flatulence. Walking, cycling and dancing are very helpful. These types of physical activity promote the natural passage of stools.
Difference between belly fat and bloating
If you have a bulging belly, the first thing to do is monitor your symptoms to determine the likely cause. This will help you decide how to deal with the problem and get a flat stomach.
To tell the difference between bloating and belly fat, answer 4 important questions:
Is the bloating in one place, or is it widespread?
First, examine your belly. Is the bloating localized, or can you see bulges in other parts of the body?
If only the belly is bulging, you will most likely suffer from bloating that affects the abdominal area. If you notice weight gain in other areas, such as the thighs and buttocks, you are most likely overweight.
Is the belly firm or soft?
Press on the belly with your hand and focus on the bulging parts of the belly.
Belly fat is usually soft and pliable with pressure, while belly fat is tighter and tighter when bloated.
If you can grab more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) of your belly, then the chances are high that it is excess fat.
Is the bloating persistent or intermittent?
The duration of the bloating can also tell us about its causes. Fat cells tend to accumulate over time and remain permanently.
Conversely, bloating occurs intermittently, and the shape of your belly can change throughout the day.
Is the bloating painful?
Finally, it is vital to check whether the bloating is accompanied by pain, as it almost always causes varying degrees of pain.
At the same time, excess fat does not cause physical discomfort. Gas is also a symptom of bloating, especially if it coincides with enlargement in the abdomen.