5 Types Of Tummy That Aren’t Caused By Excess Fat

Written by Rachana C  • 

You are really trying hard with those 20 extra ab crunches and are still struggling with a bulging belly? You’ve always had a flat tummy but are experiencing a protruding pooch these days? Don’t attribute this only to weight or fat gain. There could be more reasons than you thought for your stomach to bulge. Read about these 5 types of tummies that are not caused due to excess fat and check if your tummy is one of them.

1. Air Belly

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However ridiculous this many sound (or at least it did to me initially), swallowing small amounts of air can lead to the trapping of air in the intestines. The only way this air moves out of the body is through the anus in the form of flatulence or through the mouth in the form of belching. When you go through periods of anxiety, there are chances you swallow more air than normal. Every time you feel short of breath, you inhale rapidly, and this can also lead to the swallowing of more air. Your stress levels and mental state have everything to do with your stomach bloating, although this would never occur to you when your stomach begins to bulge.

What Should You Do?

To avoid swallowing excess air, eat and drink slowly. Make sure you chew your food well with the mouth closed. Also, make it a point not to talk while eating. Smoking also makes you inhale more air than normal; hence, avoid smoking too many times a day. Also, avoid drinking carbonated drinks because they tend to release carbon dioxide in the body, which again means just a little more gas.

2. Water Belly

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Water retention or fluid retention is caused when there is an accumulation of excess fluid in any of the body parts. In this case, it is the stomach. Fluid accumulation is one of the ways the body reacts to stress. Also, if there is an imbalance in the electrolytes in the body, you experience fluid retention. Swelling of the hands and feet are the most common examples of fluid retention, but this can happen in the abdomen too. Owing to the force of gravity, swelling in the lower half of the body from the abdomen is more common than in any other parts of the body. In most cases, the swelling is temporary, and the body will regain its state of balance after the stressful situation passes. However, in rare cases, edema in the abdomen could also be indicative of cardiac, pulmonary, or renal complications.

What Should You Do?

Keep track of your weight and immediately inform a medical personnel if there is a drastic change in the weight. Refrain from consuming foods that are excessively salty or contain high amounts of sodium because sodium promotes further water retention. Also, lying down in such a way that you defy the effects of gravity also ensures relief and reduction in swelling. Drink lots of water. Although it sounds contradictory, drinking ample amount of fluids helps in removing accumulated fluid in the body. Note that all foods that help in reducing water retention are all natural diuretics.

3. Gas Belly

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Excess gas in the stomach is not only caused by swallowing air but also because of certain foods that aren’t properly digested in the stomach. Have you burped incessantly after eating certain foods? That is because there are specific foods like cabbage, onions, and others that are rich in fiber and which produce gas as a by-product after digestion. Sometimes, it could also be food intolerance. Lactose, fructose, and gluten intolerance can all lead to gas and bloating of the stomach (1). Apart from undigested food, bacteria in the stomach can also lead to gas, and as a result, there is bloating in the abdomen.

What Should You Do?

If you feel food intolerance is causing your gas problem, identifying which foods are the triggers should be your first step. Next, try eliminating those foods from your diet. Consume probiotic foods to increase the population of good bacteria in the gut to promote efficient digestion. Also, refrain from eating foods that are high in fiber for a while. Minimize the intake of sugary and starchy foods until your gut is healthy again.

4. Cystic Belly

One of the apparent symptoms of an ovarian cyst is a swelling in the abdomen (2). Every month an egg is released in the follicles of the ovary. Sometimes, the follicle doesn’t release an egg and that is when there is fluid accumulation inside the follicle that causes the cyst. A lot of times, you don’t even feel the symptoms, and the cyst goes away without you having to do anything about it. However, if you experience pain in the pelvic region, bowel inconvenience or even excessive bleeding, you might have to visit the doctor immediately.

What Should You Do?

Unless there is a rupturing or a twisting of the cyst, a functional cyst usually doesn’t require any action. However, your healthcare provider may ask you to get a couple of tests done like a CT scan, a Doppler Test, and some hormonal tests to analyze the problem. You may also be prescribed some birth control pills to treat the cyst. In some cases, doctors also suggest the removal of the cyst surgically. Regular check-ups are advised if you are prone to ovarian cysts.

5. Constipated Belly

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Constipation can be explained as a reduced bowel movement or difficultly in passing stools. However, there is no standard yardstick to define “reduced.” The frequency of using the loo is subjective, and what is normal in your case might seem abnormal for someone else. Hence, while arriving at a conclusion, always keep your own defecating patterns in mind. Some of the causes of constipation are dietary inadequacies. Low amount of dietary fiber can lead to constipation. Dehydration is also a major cause of constipation. A constipated bowel becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria to thrive. The activity of these bacteria, again, produces gas, which causes bloating, belching, and flatulence.

What Should You Do?

Consumption of sufficient dietary fiber and staying adequately hydrated are the two most important things you should be doing. Plus, make sure you eat meals at fixed and regular intervals. Avoid caffeine intake and see to it that the body gets its dose of exercise every day to avoid digestive tract issues like constipation and gas.

Your takeaway here is to realize that it is not always weight gain or fat accumulation that causes a bulging belly. Think of all other ways that could be causing your tummy to expand, for, sometimes the cause could be more complicated than what you think and require more than just those never-ending ab-crunches. Have you experienced bloating for any of the above reasons? Comment below to let all of us know.

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