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Diseases & Conditions

What’s causing that belly bloat?

October 13, 2020

Underlying causes, plus food and sensory responses, can lead to distention and discomfort.

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 Image: © Thunderstock/Getty Images

You just finished a meal, but the meal isn't quite finished with you. It's causing an uncomfortable bloated feeling and the perception that you suddenly have a big belly that lasts for hours. And it's not just your imagination. "Very quickly it can make you look like you have a bit of a pooch. There's an enlargement of the abdomen and a sensation of distention," explains Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

But the cause of belly bloat is often hard to pin down.

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