If you had to choose stretchy pants over your favorite tight-fitting jeans, you would know the nightmare of a bloated stomach. Tight, full, and swollen belly – bloating is quite uncomfortable.
Bloating is a common issue, with over 20% of Americans reporting it in a given week. However, you can control it with exercise, massages, and dietary changes. Let’s get on to bloating and how we can treat it.
What is Bloating?
Bloating refers to distention and fullness in your abdomen because of gas buildup. It makes the stomach a little bigger and might involve pain and unease.
Bloating happens for several reasons, including overeating, eating too quickly, allergies, specific food choices, and constipation. When the food is not adequately digested, your gut bacteria ferment it into gas. This excess gas extends the belly, making it tender, tight, and sometimes painful.
Overeating or eating rapidly also causes your stomach to expand. Other factors also lead to bloating, including constipation, bacterial overgrowth, low stomach acid, or stress.
Instant Remedies To Relieve Bloating
Couldn’t stop yourself from devouring the entire dish in one go? Now, time to relieve the bloating!
Get on with these hacks to cure bloating in one go.
1. Go For A Walk
Walking (or any physical activity) is excellent for getting your gut moving. It enhances bowel movement and helps release the gas collected in the gut. If you feel extra stuffy and bloated after a meal, take a walk for 15 to 20 minutes. It will aid digestion, release gas, and ease bloating.
Aside from relieving bloating, walking also offers lots of benefits like increasing cardiovascular fitness, boosting muscle power and endurance, improving balance, reducing excess body fat, and decreasing risks of heart disease and stroke.
Just make sure to keep everything low-key if you’re feeling bloating, as intense exercise will cause you to swallow more air and aggravate your symptoms. A light, quick stroll around your block or to the nearby park will already suffice in helping you release any excess gas in your system.
2. Use Peppermint Capsules
Peppermint oil capsules are the best over-the-counter remedy for bloating and excess gas. You can get it at your nearby pharmacy.
It relaxes your gut muscles, making up enough space for stool and gas to pass without blockage. Peppermint oil has incredible clinical benefits for patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). But you can also use it to cure bloating that is not associated with IBS.
You can also rub peppermint oil with carrier oil (such as coconut oil) on your stomach to relieve bloating. Peppermint tea also calms your gut and improves digestion. Thus, allowing gas and stool to move easily and effectively.
However, always make sure to follow the instructions in the packaging. If you are also prone to suffering from heartburn, skip peppermint and try other remedies in this list.
3. Try Apple Cider Vinegar
Is there anything this fermented vinegar can’t cure? Not any we can remember. However, does apple cider vinegar help with bloating? Oh yes, it does.
Apple cider vinegar increases acid production in the stomach. Since low stomach acid also causes bloating, ACV counters it. If your bloating is associated with an underlying disease, the vinegar helps fight off the pathogens.
There are many other apple cider vinegar benefits for gut health. It contains probiotics, which aid digestion, improve microflora, and counters heartburn.
4. Take An Epsom Salt Bath
Taking a soak with Epsom salt helps you relieve stomach bloating. Epsom salt is rich in Magnesium, which removes excess water and toxins from your body. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath for 20 minutes relieves constipation, relieving bloating.
Moreover, the heat from the bath also promotes relaxation, which then decreases stress and enables the gastrointestinal tract to function more efficiently and get rid of bloating. An Epsom salt bath also boasts other benefits like reducing inflammation, relieving muscle cramps, and helping with constipation, which is one of the main culprits of bloating.
5. Use Essential Oil
Essential oils are also an excellent remedy to treat bloating discomfort. A 2016 study showed 116 patients with IBS took supplements with fennel and curcumin essential oil. After about 30 days, their symptoms, including bloating, improved.
You can take peppermint tea, put a small amount of essential oil in your bath, or massage it on your stomach. Be mindful of following the guidelines while using any essential oil. For your best safety, it’s best to speak to a doctor to ensure you get the correct formulation and it won’t interfere with any of your medication.
6. Try a gentle abdominal massage
Gently massaging your abdomen can also aid in easing physical stress on your stomach and reducing bloating immediately. If you’re feeling gassed up, especially after overeating or when experiencing constipation, try to follow these steps to get your bowels moving:
- Place your hands on top of each other just above the right hip bone.
- Following a circular motion, gently rub your abdomen up toward your right rib cage.
- Continue rubbing with light pressure going across your upper belly towards your left rib cage.
- From there, rub slowly towards your left hip bone going horizontally to your right hip bone.
- Repeat this technique 3-5 times.
- If you feel any pain, it’s best to stop immediately.
7. Use a heat pack on your stomach
Another proven hack to get rid of bloating quickly is applying a heat pack on your abdomen. The heat helps relax the abdominal muscles, relieve pain and cramps, soften hardened stools, and alleviate poor digestion that causes your bloated stomach.
To do so, simply lay down on your bed or couch with your legs straight or bent, whichever you are more comfortable with. Then, place the heat pack, heating pad, or even a hot water bottle over your abdomen to ease bloating.
8. Take over-the-counter medications
You can also ease bloating by simply taking medication. Various over-the-counter gas relief products are available on the market, which you can find at the nearest pharmacy, convenience store, or online. These anti-gas medications aid by moving excess air out of the GI tract. Always follow the instructions on the packaging label.
9. Do other gentle exercises
Aside from walking, other gentle exercises that allow you to move around and stretch your body also help in easing bloating and discomfort fast and quickly. For instance, you can try doing yoga and do poses like the happy baby pose, child’s pose, spinal twist, and squats to relieve gas buildup. Other gentle exercises like swimming, cycling, and pilates can also help with bloating.
While it may sound funny, simply laying down and relaxing can do wonders in getting rid of bloating. Stress is one of the primary reasons behind a bloated stomach, given that it affects the proper functioning of your digestive tract. By unwinding and de-stressing, everything goes back to normal and helps relieve gas buildup. Some other relaxing activities that you should try when you’re feeling bloated include reading a book, listening to music, journaling, watching a movie, meditating, and doing breathing exercises.
How To Keep Bloating At Bay? 10 Long-term Solutions
Fortunately, you can reverse bloating with natural remedies, exercise, and over-the-counter medicines. But to counter the issue permanently, you must make some lifestyle changes. Here are a few steps you should take to prevent bloating.
1. Control Your Fiber Intake
A fiber-rich diet softens the stool and improves bowel movement. But too much fiber can cause constipation and excess gas, leading to bloating.
Thus, it is crucial to maintain your fiber intake within healthy limits. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables at once causes bloating due to excess fiber. Try to add them gradually to your diet to avoid harmful effects.
Recommended daily fiber intake is 38 grams for males and 25 grams for females. You’ll begin noticing side effects if you consume more than 70 grams of fiber daily. Apart from keeping it within healthy limits, it’s also advised to start slowly and increase the intake gradually over a few weeks so that the body can adjust to the change.
2. No Fizzy Drinks
Carbonated drinks contain carbon dioxide, a gas that makes the drink fizzy. This gas accumulates in the stomach, leading to bloating.
Avoid having soda and fizzy drinks to prevent bloating and gas buildup. Try switching to water and fresh juices for better health effects.
3. Avoid High-FODMAPS Diet
FODMAPS (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) are a class of carbohydrates present in many food items, such as wheat.
These carbohydrates are rapidly fermented in your digestive system, giving rise to excess gas, bloating, and stomach discomfort. A low-FODMAPS diet helps prevent bloating, indigestion, and other gut problems.
While these food items contain healthy nutrients, they are also brimming with belly bloaters that can cause a bloated tummy. With that, try to avoid consuming large quantities of vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, artichokes, white onions, broccoli, asparagus, avocado, celery, leeks, mushroom, and beetroot.
4. Skip chewing gum
If you like chewing gum, then you need to avoid it, given that it causes you to swallow air that then results in bloating and gas pain. Moreover, most gum also contains sugar alcohols and other artificial sweeteners, which are not absorbed by your body and instead lead to discomfort and gassing up. If you chew gum for freshening your breath, you may opt for peppermints and ginger mints instead.
5. Increase ginger intake
Ginger has long been used in medicine due to its many health benefits. That includes cutting down the causes of tummy bloating and intestinal gas. Adding ginger on your diet can help you avoid bloating in the long run. You can add ginger to your smoothie or salad, drink ginger tea, or drink ginger-infused water to enjoy its de-bloating perks.
6. Limit salt
Too much sodium can cause your body to retain more water. Such can result in puffy, bloated feeling not only in the tummy but in the other areas of the body. Not to mention that it can also lead to high blood pressure and cause harmful effects in the brain and the kidneys.
As such, it’s recommended to limit your salt intake, as well as cut down on seasonings like mustard, onions, ketchup, hot sauce, nutmeg, black pepper, chili powder, and cloves, which triggers acid reflux that can then induce increase swallowing air and more bloat.
7. Eat more banana
Bananas contain lots of potassium, an essential nutrient that also regulates fluid retention and reduces belly bloat. So, aside from limiting your salt intake, you can also incorporate more bananas to negate the effects of excess sodium in your body. Otherwise, you may eat other potassium-rich foods like asparagus, nuts, melons, and oranges.
8. Take probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that improves your gut health. Taking a probiotic supplement daily promotes a balance of microflora and helps regulate bacteria that causes production of excess gas and bloating. Alternatively, you may also consume other foods rich in healthy bacteria like miso, kimchi, sourdough bread, pickles, and some cheeses.
9. Eat slowly in more smaller portions and at regular intervals
Most people experience bloating after indulging in a sumptuous meal. You can avoid this by eating several smaller portions in a day. Doing so will allow the digestive system to move and function effectively. Avoid also swallowing food quickly. It can cause you to gulp more air that results in uncomfortable gas and bloating. Eating slowly and mindfully with your mouth closed can give the opposite effect and reduce the chances of bloating.
10. Get better sleep
Lastly, do your best to get better sleep and strive to get about 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily to keep your body healthy. Poor sleep promotes toxin buildup and inflammation, which increases the gas production. So, always aim to get the proper amount of shuteye to also stabilize your bowel function, ease constipation, and reduce chances of bloating.
For all of its common occurrences, bloating is uncomfortable, period. But the good thing is you can treat and even prevent it by making the right choices.
However, before taking on any remedy, consult your physician to rule out any underlying condition causing bloating. If symptoms are not associated with any underlying issue, you can relieve bloating with these easy hacks.