Abdominal bloating is a common problem many individuals face in the United States. This health problem is often triggered by a large meal of foods that produce gas. Another common cause for bloating includes gut sensitivity because of alterations to the gut microbiome, emotional changes, or multiple underlying health conditions.
Typically, bloating doesn’t indicate any serious health condition. If you suffer from bloating after certain intervals, controlling your meals, walking, or trying abdominal massage is best. But if you are suffering from chronic bloating, it can affect your overall well-being. In such a case, you should see your doctor. He might suggest taking pills for a bloated stomach.
Read further to learn what bloating is, the causes of bloating, and some science-backed ways to reduce or eliminate bloating.
What is Bloating?
Bloating occurs in the abdomen (stomach) when the gastrointestinal tract fills with air or gas. When your abdomen is bloated, you feel like you have eaten a large meal, and there is hardly any room in your stomach. Your abdomen enlarges and feels full and tight. And your stomach might look like it’s sticking out.
Causes of Bloating
Gases like oxygen, methane, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide can enter your gut when you swallow and food ferments in the large intestine, leading to gas. And gas is the most common cause of the bloated gut.
Some other possible causes of bloating are as follows:
- Eating foods containing compounds that could ferment in your colon, like sugar alcohols, fiber, and FODMPAs
- Swallowing excess air, for instance, when chewing gum
- Constipation (less than three bowel movements in a week)
- A food intolerance, like lactose or fructose
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Fluid retention in the abdomen due to liver failure or heart disease
- psychological stress
- Having a health condition, such as endometriosis, IBS, or IBD
How to Get Rid of Bloating?
Once you know the cause of bloating, you can treat the symptom. Your doctor might suggest you follow one of these science-backed remedies for bloating:
- Limit bloating-triggering food and activities
Some food and dietary habits can increase the likelihood of having a bloated stomach. They might include:
- consuming certain grains, fruits, and vegetables
- carbonated drinks
- having some sweeteners
- chewing gum
- drinking with a straw
- drinking beverages while eating
- having a large meal, etc.
You might feel bloated after having some fruits, whole grains, or vegetables, but consuming them might be necessary for essential nutrients. If you want to introduce such foods into your diet, do so gradually to minimize the risk of symptoms. It can also help you wait at least an hour before having a drink or fruit after a meal. In addition, consider consuming herbal detox tea to detoxify your stomach and prevent it from feeling bloated.
- Support regular bowel habits to manage constipation
Constipation is one of the common causes of bloating. It can slow the outlet of gas and feces. In addition, the longer time certain food pieces spend in your gut, like lactose, the more bacteria ferment, leading to increased amounts of gas.
A person experiencing constipation should follow these tips to alleviate constipation:
- have high-fiber foods
- drink plenty of fluids
- exercise regularly
- check if the current medications are worsening your constipation
- ask the doctor about prescription medications
Moreover, remember to gradually add extra fiber to your diet until your body adjusts. It will help prevent bloating from worsening.
- Try probiotic supplements
Some research discovered the potential benefits of probiotics in reducing bloating and other digestive symptoms by activating the number and types of healthy bacteria in an individual’s gut. As a result, probiotic supplements might reduce bloating and other symptoms of IBS.
You can either have probiotic-rich bloating tablets or consume some probiotic-rich foods, such as:
- Eat smaller portions and limit fat and salt
Eating large portions of fatty or salty foods can increase the risk of bloating in the following ways:
- Large portions can stretch your stomach, and gas and solids can accumulate in your gut.
- A high salt intake can cause higher water retention in your gut and lead to a bloated stomach.
- Hard to digest, high levels of carbs in your stomach can increase fermentation and, therefore, gas.
Reducing the portion sizes and limiting the intake of salty and fatty foods, like chocolate, chips, pizzas, or burgers, might help manage bloating.
- Exercise regularly
Add light exercises after meals to your weight loss support routine to help reduce bloating. In addition, regular exercise will help manage stress, one of the causes of bloating and other abdominal symptoms. It’s better to indulge in moderate-intensity workouts for at least 150 minutes weekly. You can go for brisk walking, swimming, or cycling.
- Seek help for rapid weight gain
Rapid weight gain can occur because of many reasons. And increased weight can increase the risk of bloating. When concerned about sudden weight gain, make sure to consult a doctor for weight loss support. He can guide you on weight management and diagnose you to know the underlying cause. Additionally, you can take a fat burner combo and practice healthy eating habits and exercises for weight loss. Maintaining an ideal weight can help resolve your bloating problem.
When Should You Visit the Doctor?
Usually, most stomach bloating resolves independently or by following the above-discussed remedies. But you should visit your doctor if your bloating doesn’t go away for days or when you notice these symptoms:
- Blood in your stool
- Chest pain
- Intense or persistent abdominal pain
- Sudden weight loss
- Unexplained loss or overfullness of appetite
Bloating is a common health condition caused by various lifestyle, dietary, or health factors. You can reduce your bloating symptoms by maintaining a healthy weight and diet, promoting good bowel habits, and working out regularly. If certain foods, fruits, or vegetables trigger bloating, you should avoid having them.
Furthermore, if you suffer from IBS or have a low FODMAP diet, you should consider adding probiotics or peppermint oil. If it’s been days and the bloating has not gone away, consider having pills for a bloated stomach under a healthcare professional’s guidance.