To put it simply, the swollen and stuffed feeling in your abdomen, especially after meals, is known as bloating. And, more often than not, this swelling is accompanied by stinging pain and discomfort, not to mention you might even feel as if your belly has grown big with no free space whatsoever. While there are many potential reasons behind a bloated stomach, the most usual cause is excess gas production which fills up your gastrointestinal tract or disturbance in the muscle movement of the digestive system.
Though not similar to any extent, people often swap and use the terms water retention and bloating. Meaning any excessive amounts of solid, liquid, or gas in your digestive system will be considered bloating. Bloating is very common, so 15-30% of people complain of a bloated stomach daily in a rough estimate.
The reason behind a bloated stomach may be as trivial as heightened sensitivity, making you feel pressure on the abdomen even when there isn’t any diet that does not entirely match your digestive system’s rhythm. The possibility of bloating being a cause of an underlying medical condition is not something you should overlook, especially when reoccurring.
But is there no way to reduce bloating or better eliminate it? Well, there are, and this article is certainly about that. Let us have a look at tips and tricks that might do the job just right –
Avoid Food That Causes You Gas
It is the best option to avoid foods that cause bloating in the first place rather than finding the medication after the deed.
While there are many foods, such as high-fiber foods, including legumes, lentils, beans, and even whole grains, that are the prime cause of bloating for many people, it might or might not be the case for you. You need to figure out what leaves you with a bloated stomach, and the best way to do it is to keep a food diary or a marked calendar. Cutting out fatty foods is also known to work well for people with bloating and slower digestion. Reduce the portion of such foods in your diet and see if it provides you with relief rather than completely cutting them off at once.
Avoid Binge/Excess Eating
Do you know what other than a bloated stomach gives off the sensation of being bloated? That’s right, overeating. Being bloated and eating too much can both make your stomach feel stuffed, making you mistake one for another.
Rather than having one big meal at a go, try dividing them into smaller portions, adding another meal if necessary in your schedule. Overeating can often distress your belly, causing discomfort later in the day. And though this discomfort might be sensations, they do not feel much different from bloating in an enlarged stomach or increased abdomen pressure. Increase the number of meals and decrease the food you consume in each and see if that works.
If cutting out on food is troublesome, try chewing each bite more than you usually would. It will get you eating a lot slower, helping you cut short and feel fuller while also reducing the amount of gas you swallow with each big bite, preventing the risk of bloating and making digestion a lot better.
Look Out For Food Intolerances And Allergies
Eating food you are intolerant to is another prevalent reason behind bloating, among other gastrointestinal conditions. Talking to your doctor is an excellent way to acknowledge an allergy early on. Some of the most common food intolerances involve fructose, lactose, gluten, and even eggs. Consuming these may cause gas, indigestion, bloating, pain, or discomfort.
Probiotics are good microorganisms such as bacterias and yeasts in your gut that help maintains your gut flora, keeping the digestive health in check.
Your stomach naturally produces a lot of gas as a by-product of digestion. These healthy bacteria help reduce the gas by consuming most of it, eliminating the risks of bloating or other gastric issues. But, when the levels of these bacterias in your gut are imbalanced or fatally conquered by the bad bacterias, the gas produced is no longer eliminated. As a matter of fact, the digestion process as a whole is disturbed, causing several health problems other than bloating.
Integrating probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, soft cheese, etc., in the diet or consuming probiotic supplement help retain the lost numbers of good bacteria in your gut, eventually reducing issues like bloating and boosting the digestive health.
Try Not To Swallow Gas Or Air
Other than the gas produced as the by-product in your gut, another gas source in the digestive system is the one you swallow during eating and drinking.
The swallowed gas has a similar effect as the internal gas produced, and therefore is necessary for you to tackle. Consumption of carbonated drinks is among the prime reasons many people come across gastric issues. It contains little carbon dioxide-filled bubbles that, upon reaching your stomach, burst, releasing gas. Talking as you chew, eating hurriedly, using a straw, etc., are some other reasons for the same.
Give Peppermint Oil A Try
Disturbance or irritation in the muscle movement of your digestive system can be yet another cause of bloating. In such a case, peppermint oil works similar to a drug named antispasmodics, both of which effectively reduce muscle spasms and provide relief.
Consume peppermint oil by integrating it with foods or in a supplement form available in the market. Apart from bloating, numerous studies suggest its benefits in other digestive disorders, especially for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) patients. However, it is best for people prone to heartburn to avoid the use of peppermint.
Avoid Sugar Alcohol
Sugar alcohols are the alternative to sugar in many foods and are in sugar-free items and chewing gums. While they are safe to a large extent, over-consumption may result in digestive disorders as bacterias in your gut digest these sugar alcohol to produce gas.
Avoid sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, and even erythritol, which though more tolerable than others, is not entirely safe either. Chewing gums are also non-recommendable as they cause you to swallow a lot of air as well.
Tips For Quick Relief
Though all the above tips are helpful, they only work as preventive measures. But, what should you do to relieve an already bloated stomach? Let’s have a look.
Go for a walk – Walking is a great way to get your bowel into movement, helping release the gas build-up.
Give yoga a try – While physical movements of any kind are good for relief in bloating, there is nothing quite like yoga poses such as child’s pose, squats, happy baby pose, etc. These poses are mainly focused on the stretching and relaxation of abdomen muscles, helping improve the condition of your GI tract.
Massage – There is no pain that a good massage cannot soothe. In this case, an abdominal massage might work best for the relief, especially one that is followed on the path of the large intestine, as it will get your bowels moving. However, it is imperative to be gentle with the process and stop without a second thought if it feels uncomfortable or induces more pain than before instead of relief.
Take a warm bath – The heat from a good warm bath can quickly provide relief to a sore abdomen. What’s more, the bath will even reduce your stress levels from the pain, helping you and your gastrointestinal tract relax better, reducing bloating.
Consult A Doctor Or An Expert
Though it may be nothing and just regular bloating, consulting a doctor nevertheless must be your top priority, especially when the bloating almost feels chronic and severe to any extent. Bloating can be a side effect of several severe health conditions, an early diagnosis that can help you recover better.
Bloating is normal, as are many other digestive issues like indigestion, gas, etc., with most of us facing them every once in a while. Taking precautions is the only way to induce long-term relief, apart from following the tips and tricks mentioned above, which in most cases, work well.
However, it is to no extent an excellent choice to ultimately depend on medications or physical activity to relieve pain, especially when reoccurring, rather than consulting a doctor.