Bloating is a condition in which the stomach feels full and tight due to buildup of gas in the small intestine. This can make the stomach area visibly swollen. Many times, bloating is accompanied by other symptoms like cramps, belching, pain, diarrhea, shortness of breath and lower back pain.
A number of factors can cause bloating. The main reason is the buildup of intestinal gas. Other causes include constipation, anorexia, peptic ulcers, anxiety, water retention, smoking, trapped air, indigestion, overeating, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopause, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ovarian cancer.
Bloating can cause severe discomfort and, unfortunately for many, it often becomes a recurring problem. Being aware of the dietary decisions and lifestyle habits that may be contributing to your bloating is the first step to curing it. Read on to learn how to get rid of bloating.
Quick Fixes for Bloating
Drink lots of water. Water flushes sodium and fluids from your system, so it’s an important factor in helping bloating go down. Drink several liters of water when you feel bloated – you should start to feel back to normal within an hour or two.
- Avoid beverages containing sugar or salt, as these can make the problem worse.
Use a hot pad or compress. For quick relief of abdominal pressure caused by gas and bloating, lie down and lay a hot water bottle or warm compress across your stomach.
- Allow its heat and weight to help the gas leave your body and the pressure subside.
Massage your stomach. Bloating is caused by the buildup of gas in your stomach and intestines. Massaging the area can help ease the gas through your system so that you’re able to expel it faster. Lie down on your back and rub your stomach with your hands using circular motions. Continue doing so for about 15 minutes, or until you feel the bloating go down and the gas passing.
- Your body should be stretched out while you massage it. If your torso is bent in a sitting position, your body will have more trouble passing the gas. Either lie down or stand up for the massage.
- Having someone else massage your stomach might also be helpful. Ask a partner to rub your stomach while you are lying down or standing up.
Take potassium. This mineral helps to regulate fluid levels in your body, and if you eat it regularly you can eliminate bloating. Eat bananas, mangoes, spinach, nuts, and tomatoes in rotation. Taking potassium supplements regularly is another good choice if you experience frequent bloating.
Take magnesium. Found naturally in leafy greens, other vegetables, and nuts, magnesium is known to reduce fluid retention that leads to bloating. For a quick fix, you can take magnesium pills to help your stomach return to its normal size. 200 mg daily is the recommended dosage.
Get some exercise. This is another way to help the gas pass through your system more quickly. If you have time, go for a jog, a swim, or a bike ride for at least 30 minutes. A 30-minute power walk should also do the trick. The point is to get your body moving for long enough to help expel the gas from your body, causing your stomach bloat to go down.
- If you experience bloating at work or in a setting where you’re not able to get away for an exercise session, try to walk around for at least 10 minutes. If possible, go up and down a set of stairs a few times, or do some jumping jacks in place.
- While you’re exercising, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you swallow a lot of air you’ll make the bloating worse.
Take an over-the-counter diuretic. Not all people find over-the-counter medicines to reduce bloating effective, but it’s worth a try if you need a fast solution. Look for medicines that contain simethicone, the active ingredient that is said to help the body pass gas.
Home Remedies for Bloating
Eat probiotics. Yogurt and fermented foods like kefir contain probiotics, microorganisms that create a healthy environment in the gut and reduce painful gas and bloating. Eating a serving size of yogurt every day is a good way to fend out bouts of gas and reduce bloating once it starts.
- If you’re not a big fan of yogurt, try eating kimchi or sauerkraut to get the same effects.
- You can also take yogurt pills if you’d prefer not to eat yogurt every day.
Have some garlic. Garlic also has properties that stimulate the gastric system and help relieve gas and bloating. Garlic supplements are available at health food stores, but fresh garlic may provide faster relief.
- Eat garlic soup, since the warm water helps deliver the garlic to your system quickly. Mince a few cloves of garlic and sauté them in olive oil on the stove. Add vegetable or chicken broth, let it simmer for a few minutes, and enjoy hot.
- Avoid eating garlic with other foods that may cause more gas and bloating. For best results, consume it plain or in a soup.
Try pumpkin. Eating pumpkin is an excellent way to prevent unwanted flatulence as well as bloating. Pumpkin contains a good amount of vitamin A, potassium and fiber that help in digestion.
- Adding just one cup of pumpkin to your meals can help create a smooth digestive flow and reduce gas.
- You can steam, bake or broil it, or include it as an ingredient in your recipes.
Choose asparagus. Asparagus encourages the growth of friendly gut bacteria. Friendly bacteria work to reduce the build-up of stomach gas.
Season your food with freshly ground black pepper. Black pepper aids digestion and massaging the essential oil of black pepper on your stomach region can also help.
Add yogurt to your daily diet. Yogurt brings helpful bacteria to your gut.
Munch on celery. Celery helps to relieve fluid retention because it is a diuretic. Try a handful each day until your bloating is under better control.
Try fresh papaya. This contains papain, a digestive enzyme similar in function to bromelain, great for breaking down food and digesting proteins.
Try fresh pineapple. Fresh pineapple contains bromelain and this is a digestion-promoting enzyme.
Drink warm lemon water. When water and lemon are mixed together, it can be highly beneficial for your digestive system. Drinking warm lemon water can give you relief from bloating, gas and constipation.
Drink peppermint tea. Peppermint tea aids digesting by helping food pass through the stomach quickly. It also calms flatulence. Either pre-packaged peppermint tea in bags or fresh mint leaves will work.
Drink dandelion tea. Dandelion tea has many health benefits, and it has been found to help reduce bloating. It’s a natural diuretic, so it helps gasses and fluids move through your system more quickly. You can find dandelion tea at most health food stores. If you experience bloating frequently, you might want to consider growing your own dandelion root so you can have the benefits of fresh tea.
Try ginger. Ginger contains several active ingredients, including the pungent compounds gingerols and shogaols that help reduce inflammation in the intestines and relax the intestinal muscles.
- Place five to six thin slices of ginger in a cup, add some honey or lemon and then pour boiling water into the cup. Cover the cup and let it steep for about 10 minutes before drinking it.
- Adults can opt to take 0.25 to 1 g of powdered ginger root daily.
How to Prevent Bloating
Don’t eat so many starches. Starches also tend to cause fluid retention and bloating, so make sure your diet isn’t too carbohydrate-heavy. Eat bread, potatoes, crackers, pasta, and other starches in moderation. If you notice yourself getting bloated after eating a particular type of food, cut back your intake of that food.
Change the order in which you eat food. The body naturally produces hydrochloric acid, which breaks down protein, when you first start eating a meal. If you start a meal by eating carbohydrates, the hydrochloric acid gets used up before the protein you eat later in the meal hits your system. The under-digested protein then ferments and leads to gas and bloating.
- Instead of starting your meals with bread and salad, take a few bits of your meat, fish, or other protein first.
- If digesting protein continues to become a problem, consider taking hydrochloric acid supplements, sold at health food stores. Take them after the meal while you are still digesting your food.
Eat little and often. Eating smaller portions is kinder to your tummy — and your waistline — so try having 4-5 small meals a day rather than 3 large ones. It keeps your metabolism ticking over nicely and prevents the kind of hunger that can lead to large portions. In addition, to keeping everything running smoothly in there.
Cut the salt. It causes the body to retain water as it builds up in your system. It’s healthy to eat a small amount of salt, but too much will definitely leave you feeling bloated. Avoid eating really salty foods like chips, pretzels, prepackaged meals and fast food.
- Cooking your own food fresh is a good way to avoid eating too much salt. Restaurants tend to use a lot of salt to pack their food with flavor, but that can take a toll when it comes to bloating.
- Read the labels on food packaging as you’re deciding what to buy. Even foods that are labeled “healthy” often contain loads of sodium.
- When you do eat a salt-heavy meal, follow it with plenty of water to flush your system.
Don’t eat sugar substitutes. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame that are used to sweeten soft drinks and candy cause major bloating episodes for many people. Instead of using fake sugar to sweeten your drinks and desserts, choose honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup.
Avoid hot spices. Black pepper and chili powder stimulate the release of stomach acid. Other hot ingredients, like hot sauces and vinegar, do the same. When the stomach releases acid, it causes irritation, which can worsen bloating.
Avoid carbonated beverages. Carbonated beer and soda is a major culprit when it comes to bloating. The tiny air bubbles contribute to the buildup of gas in your stomach. If you’re a person who experiences chronic bloating, it’s best to avoid these beverages altogether.
Avoid large meals late at night. Especially carbs. When you load up late at night, you just wake up feeling all puffy-like in the morning. You spend the night retaining water and wake up feeling like a sponge. So if one of your meals is big, make it lunch. Then you have time to work it off!
Stop smoking. Pulling on a cigarette or cigar also pulls air into your mouth, causing stomach bloating. Smoking less or quitting altogether can help reduce the symptoms. Try using a nicotine patch instead of a cigarette sometimes.
Stop chewing gum. When we chew gum we tend to open our mouths and swallow air between bites. Sometimes bloating can be eliminated by simply stopping one’s chewing gum habit. Popping a piece of gum after every meal may be a bigger problem than the salt and starches you ingested!
- Try using breath mints or hard candy instead of chewing gum.
- If you can’t give up the gum, practice chewing with your mouth closed instead of opening it up and swallowing air.
Don’t use straws. When you sip through a straw, you’re sucking in air along with your drink. The air collects in your stomach and leads to bloating. If you tend to use a straw every time you have a drink, try switching it up and going without. You may find that you’re less bloated when you don’t use one.
Exercise regularly. Moderate exercise can help regulate the passage of food and air through the digestive trap, reducing future bloating incidents.
Avoid stress. Stress can cause so many problems and bloating is just one of them. This is due to the hormone cortisol which leaps into action when we are stressed causing a number of effects – one being cravings for fats and sugars. One of the best ways to control the level of cortisol in the bloodstream is just a few minutes of physical exercise every day. Though you know you better than anyone. What calms you down?
Monitor how much you swallow air while speaking. Do you tend to leave your mouth hanging open between words? Everyone has different speech patterns, and some people tend to swallow a lot of air when they’re pronouncing certain words or emphasizing a point. Next time you’re having a conversation, think about what your mouth is doing. Are you inhaling a lot while you’re speaking? Practice keeping your mouth closed when you’re not talking.
- The foods advised here may not be beneficial for you if you are allergic to them.
- Use the bathroom and don’t hold it in.
- Avoid high carbohydrate meals late at night, because starches like bread and pasta cause you to retain water. To avoid being puffy when you wake up, lay off them before bedtime.
- Check with your pharmacist first if you have known allergies to products.
- Bloating can mean gas in your digestive system so if its stomach pain try burping if you can’t try drinking soda fast it will make you burp.