It’s important to know that if you suffer from bloating, you’re not alone. Bloating issues have been shown to be more prevalent in females, with studies showing occurrences of bloating in women are over two times more common than in men.
Keep reading to learn what may be causing your bloating and some awesome tips on how to reduce bloating symptoms.
What Causes Bloating?
Bloating is often confused with water retention, but the two are not the same. Unlike water retention, bloating typically occurs when excess gas builds up in the stomach or intestines.
Being able to identify the foods that cause bloating or other triggers is an important factor in finding relief.
The most common causes of bloating include:
- Diet. Consumption of too much salt or sugar — or diets low in fiber intake — can cause unwanted bloating.
- Digestive Issues. Issues ranging from food allergies and intolerances to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and constipation are common causes of a distended abdomen and painful bloating symptoms.
- Hormonal Changes. Many women experiencing hormonal imbalances whether from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), taking oral contraceptives, or simply menstruating, also experience bloating.
Interested in finding out how to stop bloating dead in its tracks? The following tips will help you navigate symptoms and get rid of bloating for good.
Tip #1: Skip the soda.
Fizzy drinks like soda or carbonated water can lead to painful gas buildup and leave your stomach feeling puffy. The benefits of staying properly hydrated go way beyond fighting bloat, so kick soda to the curb and make water your beverage of choice.
Tip #2: Slow down.
It’s true that eating large meals can make you feel bloated, but the real symptoms that come along with bloating — gas build-up and discomfort — can be triggered even by smaller meals. The benefits of slowing down while eating your meals are two-fold. Taking your time promotes intuitive eating and helps you avoid overindulgence and possible indigestion. Secondarily, slowing down reduces instances of swallowing air with your food. This further decreases your chances of gas build-up and helps get rid of bloating.
Tip #3: Try low-impact exercise.
Physical activity can get the bowels moving more regularly and can help release excess gas and stool. Try taking a walk or some gentle yoga to help alleviate unwanted gas pressure from bloating.
Tip #4: Gradually increase fiber.
Most Americans do not get enough fiber. Only 5 percent of people meet their recommended fiber intake of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men a day. Eating more fiber helps prevent constipation and bloating. If you’re in the majority of the population that struggles to get fiber into their diet, start slow. Increasing fiber too quickly can also contribute to gas and bloating. A general rule of thumb is to slowly increase your fiber intake over several weeks to help your body adjust to the dietary change.
Tip #5: Have a cup of peppermint tea.
Peppermint helps to relax intestinal muscles which allows gas and stool to pass more effectively. Kick back with a cup of peppermint tea to help alleviate symptoms of bloat.
Tip #6: Try an abdominal massage.
Abdominal massages can help reduce gas formation and relieve pain associated with bloating. Using a massage pattern that follows the path of the large intestine can be especially helpful. Here are some quick tips for a soothing abdominal massage:
- Position your hands directly above your right hip bone.
- Use light pressure and rub in a circular motion up toward the right side of your rib cage.
- Next, rub straight across your belly towards your left rib cage.
- Move slowly down toward your left hip bone
- Repeat as many times as necessary.
Tip #7: Relax in a warm bath.
Get in your self-care and fight symptoms of bloating by relaxing in a warm bath. Reducing stress levels will help you relax, while the heat of the bathwater can help the GI tract function more effectively to help reduce bloating symptoms.
Tip #8: Cut down on salt.
Foods high in sodium can cause dehydration, which contributes to bloating. Avoid canned and frozen foods, processed snacks, and cured meats because they are notoriously high in sodium. Consume certain condiments in moderation, such as soy sauce, marinara, and mustard, which also can contain high sodium.
Avoiding takeout and cooking from home can help you organically decrease your salt intake. Try implementing herbs and spices in your dishes rather than use salt.
Tip #9: Rule out any possible food intolerances or allergies.
When you eat foods that you’re intolerant or allergic to, it can cause havoc on your digestive system – causing excess gas, bloating, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Ruling out any possible food allergy or intolerance can be a game-changer if you experience bloating on a regular basis. Some common food intolerances and allergies to look out for include:
- Wheat and gluten
- Peanuts and tree nuts
Tip #10: Consider a low FODMAP-diet.
The acronym FODMAP is derived from Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, and Polyols. Put simply, they are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. FODMAP intolerance causes abdominal bloating and gas pain especially common in those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you have IBS coupled with regular abdominal pain and bloating, you may benefit from avoiding some of these common high FODMAP foods:
Tip #11: Try Probiotics.
There are many types of bacteria that live in your gut; overgrowth of bad bacteria can be responsible for gas and bloating. Several studies have shown that starting a regular probiotic regimen can help reduce gas and bloating in people who suffer from various digestive issues. Always take probiotics as directed.
Eat Healthy And Move More
Occasional abdominal bloating rarely points to a serious medical condition and can typically be managed via the tips above and a lifestyle that promotes healthy eating and consistent exercise.
If you’re feeling lost when it comes to how to eat or exercise properly, the LadyBossⓇ Pocket Personal Trainer has your back and provides meal plans, shopping lists, and exercises you can do at home or the gym.
If you are experiencing abdominal pain and bloating on a more regular basis, or if your symptoms worsen, it’s important to consult a doctor for further care.