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What can cause my stomach to be distended?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

When your lunch reaches your stomach, acids begin the digestive process, but the bulk of the work is handled by the small intestine. There, enzymes process the sugars, protein, and fat and help your body absorb them. If large molecules of food survive that step, they arrive in the large intestine (colon) where bacteria finish the job. As they work, those bacteria release gas, and, voila, your intestines become distended, you feel overly full and crampy, and your pants don't fit as well.

For the population at large, bloating is on the rise due to a perfect storm of lifestyle factors: an increased use of ingredients such as sorbitol and fructose that are not easily digested in the small intestine, declining levels of exercise (which helps keep the gut working properly), and a loss of helpful intestinal bacteria due to the overuse of some antibiotics. Bloating caused by these factors is uncomfortable, but harmless. 


This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.