If you wake up in the morning with a larger or fuller feeling in your stomach (abdomen), you may be experiencing bloating, one of the most common digestive complaints, according to a 2020 research review.
Occasional bloating may leave your stomach feeling larger and uncomfortable. In more severe cases, bloating can be painful and accompanied by more serious symptoms.
The key to avoiding morning bloating is to learn what causes it so you can make changes to your diet and lifestyle. If you continue to have severe bloating, or if you suspect an underlying medical condition, it’s important to talk with a doctor regarding next steps.
Learn more about some of the more common causes of morning bloating and what you can do to help alleviate it.
Occasional stomach bloating in the morning may be a result of lifestyle choices from the day or night before. These may lead to constipation or gassiness, or even swelling and fluid retention.
Possible causes of morning bloating
Just some of the possible reasons you may wake up with stomach bloating include:
- eating a large meal, particularly right before bedtime
- swallowing air from eating too fast
- lying down soon after eating
- drinking soda or other carbonated beverages
- alcohol consumption
- eating too much fiber, or unnecessarily taking fiber supplements
- eating a large quantity of gas-causing foods, such as broccoli, cabbage, and beans
- consuming too much salt or sodium-rich foods
- consuming sugar
- artificial sweeteners, particularly sorbitol and fructose
- not drinking enough water
Chronic bloating that occurs daily could indicate more than just diet and lifestyle alone. If you wake up with a bloated stomach every morning, you should talk with a doctor. They may rule out some of the possible causes of chronic bloat — below are a few to consider.
Intestinal and stomach issues and bloating
Certain diseases and issues with the gastrointestinal (GI) system are some possible causes of bloating. These include:
- inflammation inside your abdomen or colon
- intestinal obstruction
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s disease
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Celiac disease
- peptic ulcers
- intestinal cancer
- colon cancer
- stomach cancer
Other medical conditions and bloating
Other medical conditions that may lead to bloating include:
- abnormal fluid retention
- food allergies
- food intolerances
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- liver disease
- Cushing’s syndrome
- pancreatic cancer
- ovarian or uterine cancers
Medications and bloating
Bloating may also be a side effect from certain medications you take. These may include over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription products, such as:
If your doctor rules out an underlying medical problem as a cause of your bloating, you may be able to help reduce occasional morning bloating with diet and lifestyle changes. Ideally, such changes should be implemented the day or night before so you don’t wake up feeling bloated.
Dietary changes to reduce bloating
Eating too many beans, cruciferous vegetables, and legumes may lead to morning bloating, particularly if you consume these foods the night before. Eating smaller meals throughout the day and avoiding eating before bedtime can also help reduce stomach bloating.
Reducing sodium has also been proven to decrease stomach bloating. A
If you suspect a food intolerance, it can be helpful to keep a food diary to share with your doctor. Don’t cut out essential nutrients without discussing it with your doctor first.
Drink herbal tea
Consider digestive enzymes
Digestive enzyme supplements may help some people who don’t have enough enzymes in their GI tract. These enzymes typically help you break the foods you eat and extract their nutrients. Without them, malnutrition, bloating, and other side effects may occur.
If you’re curious about digestive enzymes, talk with a doctor first. They can help you determine whether your bloating and other symptoms may be related to enzyme deficiencies and recommend the right products for you.
Regular exercise may help improve digestion, thereby decreasing the risk for bloating. However, even short bursts of activity throughout the day can help. One
Address any underlying medical conditions
If you have an underlying medical condition, such as an intestinal disease, diet and lifestyle changes may not be enough to help address chronic bloating. It’s important to speak with your doctor for possible treatment modifications and testing.
It’s possible to wake up with both a bloated face and stomach. This is most likely attributed to fluid retention. Possible causes for morning face bloating include:
- eating high sodium foods the day before
- alcohol consumption
- medications that cause fluid retention, such as antidepressants and NSAIDs
- hormone changes, such as those that occur during menstruation
- Cushing’s syndrome
If you have an underlying medical condition, such as Cushing’s syndrome or hypothyroidism, your treatment may help gradually reduce morning facial bloating.
Occasional face swelling may be prevented with some of the same strategies as those for stomach bloating, including:
- eating smaller meals
- reducing salt intake
- drinking more water
- avoiding large meals before bed
If you have chronic morning bloating despite making changes to your lifestyle, talk with a doctor about possible causes. An imaging test, such as an X-ray, may be ordered to take a look at the inside of your stomach. They may also help you rule out food intolerances.
When to seek help
You should also call your doctor right away if abdominal bloating is accompanied by symptoms of a more serious underlying health problem. These include:
- nausea or vomiting
- chronic diarrhea
- bloody stool
- unusual vaginal bleeding (that isn’t related to menstruation)
- worsening heartburn
- high fever
- unintentional weight loss
Waking up with an occasional bloated stomach isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Diet and lifestyle modifications may help ease minor bloating problems, including exercise, eating smaller meals, and more.
However, if you wake up with bloating every day despite making changes to your habits, it may be time to talk with a doctor. You should especially make it a point to contact your doctor if you experience other symptoms, such as pain, bleeding, and unusual stool changes.