Unintentional weight loss is a symptom you should never ignore. Combined with bloating, weight loss may indicate a variety of conditions -- both harmful and benign -- that a health care provider should evaluate. Before visiting your doctor, take time to write down the amounts of weight loss and when the bloating occurs, as well as any other symptoms you are experiencing.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss can be caused by a variety of issues from stress to disease. In general, health care providers get worried when you've unintentionally lost more than 10 pounds or 5 percent of your body weight within the span of 6 months to a year, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. You'll need to look at your diet and activity level to see if they have changed, as even small changes can cause weight loss. Weight loss in older adults is sometimes caused by an inability to eat as well due to chewing and swallowing difficulties or changes in taste and smell that make food unappetizing.
Bloating is a feeling a fullness due to gas or air building up in the stomach. It, too, can be caused by stress, a change in diet or disease. You'll need to note if your bloating occurs around meal times, eating certain foods or at specific times of the day.
Weight loss and bloating is often benign. It can be alleviated by making lifestyle changes, reducing stress and eating a better diet. Merck Manuals reports that when people are nervous they tend to swallow air, which can cause bloating, and anxiety can cause weight loss. Air swallowing can also be caused by chewing gum or smoking, but in general those activities do not cause weight loss. Additionally, food allergies or sensitivities can cause weight loss and bloating. If you find your stomach feels bloated after a meal that includes dairy, for example, you may have a sensitivity to dairy products. Bloating by itself can cause weight loss, as you don't want to put anything in your stomach that will cause pain.
Weight loss with bloating should be evaluated by a health care professional because, according to Merck Manuals, they are red-flag symptoms for serious disorders, including gastrointestinal cancers and ovarian cancer. Additionally weight loss and bloating may be caused by irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, ulcer or gastroparesis.
Some weight loss and bloating can be treated at home, after you've been cleared of a serious health issue by your health care provider. Eat small regular meals and to get regular moderate exercises which can ease the bloating of irritable bowel disorders. Quit smoking and cut back on chewing gum, which can add to the bloating, making eating difficult and causing weight loss.