If your midsection feels slightly larger than usual, you might wonder if this size increase is caused by weight gain or bloating. Although the two may look and possibly feel the same, weight gain and bloating have key differences.
According to Bryan Curtin, MD, MHSc, director of the Center for Neurogastroenterology and GI Motility at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, bloating is the subjective sensation of abdominal fullness, pressure, or trapped gas. In other words, it’s when your belly becomes enlarged with gas or fluid. It’s generally a temporary condition.
In contrast, belly or abdominal fat develops over time. It requires a lower calorie intake and an increase in exercise to go away.
With that in mind, here are the main differences between bloating and abdominal fat, the causes of each, and ways to find relief.