Bloating is the swelling of the stomach as a result of excess gas build-up after eating, resulting in pain, stuffed feeling, and discomfort. In some cases, this condition results from a certain intolerant diet which means one can minimize bloating by reducing bloating foods. It can make the stomach appear larger, and sometimes it is accompanied by acid reflux and excess farting.
Causes of Bloating
A diet rich in high-fiber foods such as vegetables though healthy, causes bloating. When the food reaches the colon, where they are digested, the hungry bacteria here eat them, and the result is methane and Cabo dioxide gas that dilates the colon causing bloating.
Most common is fructose intolerance, often called fructose malabsorption. It happens when the body lacks the protein that facilitates sugar absorption from the small intestine. The fructose will then ferment in the gut leading to bloating, fullness and gas.
Constipation is the result of hard stools stuck in the intestinal tract blocking the gas above it from moving out. As the stool continues to sit in the colon, the bacteria there continue to feed on it, and the more gasses they release, causing bloating.
Salty foods or hormonal changes can prompt the body to retain more fluid than normal. Fluid retention that leads to bloating can also be the result of diabetes or kidney failure. Though water retention and bloating are not the same, these two terms are often used interchangeably.
Small intestine bacteria overgrowth
Several bacteria in the small intestine aid in the digestion process. A disturbance of these bacteria can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the ileum, a condition known as small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO). It leads to indigestion and nutrient absorption difficulties that contribute to bloating.
Ways to Reduce Bloating
Apart from taking medications to help relieve the bloating discomfort, some home remedies are useful in reducing the chances of food bloating.
Reduce your food intake per sitting
Overeating makes one feel bloated since some people’s bloating experience is sensory. Eating small portions of food can help detect the cause of bloating fast. In addition, incorporate proper chewing of foods before you swallow to reduce the amount of air that one swallows with food since the swallowed air often results in bloating.
Identify food intolerance and allergies and eliminate them from your diet
When you realize that you are intolerant to certain foods that cause bloating and excess gas, remove them or limit them in your diet. Some common foods that are bloating culprits are lactose which is the main milk carbohydrate, fructose, eggs, and wheat or gluten. Lactose and fructose fall under the category of indigestible carbs often called FODMAPS, and FODMAPS can cause bloating individuals who are intolerant to them, hence the need to eliminate them from your diet.
Go for a stroll
Physical activity can help move the bowel muscles, which can aid in the release of excess gas in the stomach. Going for a walk can provide fast relief from a bloating or constipated experience.
The abdominal massage can help in moving the bowels. Doing a massage that follows the colon can prove helpful to allow the movement of gases and stool. The following steps are useful:
- With your hands above the right hip bone, rub the stomach in a circular motion, applying light pressure towards the ribcage’s right side.
- Move to the upper belly toward the left rib cage, and then rub slowly down to the left hip bone.
- You can perform the process again until you feel relief from the bloating.
Drink water instead of soda
Sodas are often carbonated drinks meaning they are full of gas you do not want to build in your stomach. The carbon dioxide can cause bubbling and bloating effects in one’s stomach, just as it is with soda. The artificial sweeteners and sugars in the sodas can also cause bloating through fermentation. Drinking water will not only eliminate these issues, but it is good for digestion.
Avoid chewing gum
Chewing gum often has sugars and alcohol that can result in bloating for some individuals. The air one swallows while chewing gum can also contribute to bloating. You can use pepper or ginger mint for fresh breath to avoid the problem of chewing gum.
Try a low-FODMAP diet
If the bloating results from intolerance to certain carbohydrates or IBS, a low-FODMAP diet can prove helpful in allowing the gut to heal. Eliminating these foods before establishing which food group is tolerant to one’s body can provide a long-term solution to bloating.
Use digestive enzyme supplements
Supplement enzymes from over-the-counter can aid in breaking down indigestible carbs, thus reducing bloating. These enzyme supplements include lactase for breaking down lactose and beano containing alpha-galactosidase, which also help in breaking down some carbohydrates, proving immediate relief.
Bloating is often caused by gas coming from the intestine due to the bacterial activity in the area. Some clinical studies suggest that probiotic supplements can reduce bloating and gas production in people with digestive issues. Probiotics also have a bunch of other benefits, making them worth the try.
Eat soluble fiber
Soluble fiber taken in moderation can aid in solving constipation and bloating issues. However, one should limit fiber because excess fiber consumption, especially insoluble fiber, will worsen when the colon bacteria work on them. You can incorporate exercise and drinking water besides diet to reduce constipation, a major cause of bloating.
Visit a doctor if the situation persists
If the bloating becomes chronic and the pain severe, then it is appropriate to see a doctor. The doctor can help determine and recommend treatment should there be some underlying medical problems.
The Bottom Line
Though bloating is common to almost everybody, it can be very uncomfortable, and for some, it causes abdominal pain. Individuals suffering from IBS or SBO will need to examine their diet and lifestyle since food can result in serious pains. Bloating is caused by diets, fluid retention, and some medical conditions. Some home remedies can reduce if not eliminate bloating symptoms if implemented correctly.