After a meal, have you ever been so full that you couldn't move? Maybe you've even considered whether or not wearing a pair of pants with a little more give would make you feel any better. If so, bloating is something you've been experiencing. (1)
Abdominal bloating is caused by a buildup of too much gas, liquid, or a combination of all three in the digestive tract. As a result, it is commonly misinterpreted for water retention. (1)
Symptoms of bloating include pain, gas, burping, and belly rumbling. In addition, your stomach may appear enlarged or more extensive than usual due to this condition. (1)
Most of the time, bloating is a minor inconvenience and poses no severe health risks. Additionally, you can take measures to lessen the discomfort it causes you. Learn more about bloating, how to debloat, its steps, and everything you need to know about how to debloat. (1)
Causes for bloating
Bloating can be caused by various factors, as Mastela points out. Fast food, excess sodium or salty foods, or carbonated beverages can cause digestive issues. Or it could be something more subtle, like insufficient sleep, ongoing stress, hormonal imbalance, or an intolerance to certain foods. (2)
Even so, bloating may often be traced back to a person's diet. There are several possible explanations, including:
- Consuming an excessive amount of food at one sitting. You may be overeating if you're always bloated and sluggish after meals.
- Overeating can leave you with similar belly pain.
- Allergies and intolerances to certain foods: lactose, fructose, eggs, wheat, soy, and gluten, among other common allergies, can induce gastric distress and bloat.
- Beverages with carbonation or sipped with a straw are not recommended. When you eat or drink, you not only consume the gases produced by the bacteria in your stomach, but you also swallow air, another form of gas. Carbonation in carbonated beverages increases this effect. You can increase the air you swallow by eating too rapidly, drinking from a straw, or even talking while you're eating.
- Gassy foods. Beans, lentils, and some whole grains, which are high in fiber, can also promote excess gas production.
- Foods are high in FODMAPs. Wheat, onions, garlic, apples, pears, and melons, among other carbs, can produce bloating, especially in those with irritable bowel syndrome, who are more susceptible to the effects of these foods.
- Sugar alcohols. These sweeteners, commonly present in sugar-free foods and chewing gums, can induce digestive difficulties, including bloating.
- Hormonal imbalances are a common cause of this. Before or during menstruation, women are more likely to experience bloating.
How long does it take for the bloating to go away completely?
Several factors might influence how quickly bloating goes away, and figuring out what they are can be an essential first step. (2)
Tips for relieving the symptoms of bloating
If you're experiencing bloating, the following tips can help alleviate the discomfort and, in some situations, avoid future occurrences. (2)
1. Drink plenty of water and eat slowly
Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help avoid fluid retention brought on by dehydration. If you are seeking to reduce puffiness, it is essential that you stay properly hydrated. (2)
In addition, it can help avoid constipation, a common factor in the development of abdominal distention. Regarding beverages, it's best to drink water or tea as much as possible and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks like soda, juice, and sports drinks. Water and tea are healthier options. (3)
Although different people have different hydration requirements, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggests that men consume roughly 13 cups (3 liters) of water daily. In comparison, women should drink approximately 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water daily. (3)
Maintaining an adequate water intake can help avoid fluid retention and constipation, two conditions that can lead to uncomfortable bloating. (3)
2. Do regular exercise
Cardiovascular exercise can reduce a belly bloat in any form — a stroll, a brisk jog, a ride on a bicycle, or even a brief session on an elliptical machine. This physical activity will help remove the gas causing the pain and aid digestion. Aim for 30 minutes of activity ranging from easy to moderate intensity. (3)
3. Try yoga
After a large meal, stretching and yoga can be one of the most effective strategies to alleviate bloating. Your body is working hard to digest the food you eat, which is one of the primary reasons you feel bloated. (3)
In contrast to the speed with which your body processes a typical meal, excessive consumption of food can make you experience feelings of bloating, discomfort, and even nausea. (3)
Because stretching causes the release of chemicals that speed up digestion and promotes circulation throughout your body, it will take you less time to feel less bloated if you do it. (4)
You can try these positions:
- Torso Twist
4. It would help if you considered your food intolerances
Bloating can be exacerbated if you're unaware of any food allergies or intolerances you may have. Lactose intolerance, for example, can cause symptoms such as bloating, fullness, gas, stomach pain, and diarrhea because it cannot absorb milk's natural sugar. (4)
When people with celiac disease consume gluten-containing foods like wheat and barley, they may feel bloating and other digestive difficulties. It is also recommended to limit intake of high fodmap foods (high in fermentable oligo, di, mono, and polyols), which are carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, for those who suffer from IBS (irregular bowel movements). (4)
If you know which foods make you bloated, you can make dietary changes to avoid them. Keep a diet and symptom record for a few weeks to track when your symptoms first appear. (4)
Toxic foods can induce bloating and other digestive problems in certain people. You may be able to reduce the severity of your symptoms if you can identify and avoid foods that set off your symptoms. (4)
5. Use peppermint oil
Before taking any supplement, whether it is peppermint oil or something else, you should always consult with your primary care physician first. You should avoid ingesting peppermint essential oil straight from the container at all costs. (4)
When using dietary supplements, you should only utilize those specially produced for internal use and have been recommended by a qualified medical professional. (4)
6. It will help if you massage the abdominal area
Gentle circular massage can help stimulate the bowels and provide some relief. You should massage your right hip bone, ribcage, and upper belly from the right hip to the left hip bone. (4)
7. Take digestive enzyme supplements
Bloating can be alleviated by using digestive enzyme supplements. Lactase and Beano, available over-the-counter, help break down dietary components for immediate relief. (4)
8. Do Epsom salt bath
There are three elements found in Epsom salt: Magnesium sulfate, sulfur, and oxygen. According to some reports, soaking in a warm bath with Epsom salts might alleviate bloating. However, despite the lack of scientific data supporting this technique, a warm bath may still be beneficial in reducing tension and promoting relaxation. (4)
9. You should avoid foods rich in sugar and alcohol at all costs
Sugar alcohols are a unique form of carbohydrate that you can find in their natural state in several fruits and vegetables. Numerous processed goods make use of these sweeteners because of their low-calorie content. (4)
Since the body does not completely break them down, they have the potential to give certain people digestive problems such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, and even stomach discomfort. (4)
Many processed goods, such as gum, granola bars, sugar-free chocolates, and soft drinks, include sugar alcohols. These sugar alcohols go by various names, including xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol. Therefore, lowering the amount of these items you eat may help reduce the digestive side effects, such as bloating. (4)
Your body does not correctly metabolize sugar alcohols, which can lead to digestive problems such as bloating in certain people. It's possible that avoiding foods that include these substances will help lessen these concerns. (4)
10. Consider the use of probiotics
Beneficial bacteria are known as probiotics and are typically located in the digestive tract. They have been associated with a very lengthy list of health benefits, ranging from a more remarkable ability to lose weight to an improvement in the operation of the immune system. (4)
Additionally, some studies have shown that increasing the probiotics you consume, either through food or pills, can help improve gut health and reduce bloating. (4)
One analysis of seventy trials, for example, concluded that some probiotics might help persons with IBS achieve regular bowel movements and reduce bloating and stomach distension. (4)
You can increase the number of probiotics in your diet by taking supplements and eating and drinking more fermented foods and beverages. Some examples of fermented foods and beverages include sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and kombucha. Kefir, tempeh, and yogurt are a few examples of other foods high in probiotics. (4)
Boosting your consumption of probiotics through fermented foods or supplements can enhance the health of your digestive system and help you feel less bloated. (4)
Questions To Ask When You Can't Get Rid of Bloating
Is your body constricting in the wrong places?
It doesn't matter if you ate too much or your stomach didn't agree with the last meal; bloating is a pain. We understand. The bloated, often excruciating sensation is frequently caused by overeating, a buildup of gas, or digestive system muscle difficulties and is usually diet-related. These anti-bloating exercises will help you feel better after you've tried the other methods but aren't getting the desired results. (4)
Why not give cardio workouts a chance?
Walking, jogging, biking, or even a quick elliptical session can help reduce gas and bloating. This type of physical activity aids in the expulsion of painful gas and aids digestion. Thirty minutes of mild to moderate exercise is ideal. (4)
Or try doing a cat-cow position?
Several yoga postures, such as Cat-Cow, can aid digestion and bloat of the stomach and abdomen. Stretching and compressing your intestines is an effective way to help bowel movement. (4)
A mat is required.
- Assume a supine position with your knees under your hips and your hands immediately under your shoulders. The neck and spine should be in a neutral position.
- Begin the rising phase of the exercise by engaging your core: Exhale and bring your spine into line with the ceiling as you allow your back to round and your head to drop toward the floor. Hold for a full 10 seconds.
- As you keep your core engaged, continue to the next phase: the downward one: Lie on your stomach with your back arched in the opposite direction. Maintain a neutral neck by bringing your shoulders together. Hold for a full 10 seconds, then release.
- Repeat three times for a total of one minute.
Maybe torso twist is the answer?
When your stomach feels like a puffer fish, the Torso Twist is exactly what you need to boost blood flow and circulation. A mat is required. (5)
- Extend your legs and arms at your sides while laying down on the mat.
- You can do this exercise by bending at the knees and lifting the legs up toward your chest with your tailbone balancing on top. Bring your hands together in front of your chest, palms facing each other, and bend your elbows.
- Rotate your upper body to the left, keeping your core engaged and your back and neck straight until your right elbow crosses your knees.
- Return to the center and perform the right-twisting maneuver one more time. That's a total of one exercise.
- Execute a total of 2-4 sets of ten repetitions.
How about the extended triangle pose?
Extended Triangle Pose, with its mild stretches, can aid recovery.
What you'll need? NONE!
- Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground, and your arms are resting at your sides.
- Turn your left foot 90 degrees and rotate your chest toward the left side of the room as you take a 3-4 foot backward step with your left foot.
- Right arm forward, left arm backward with palms facing down; keep your legs stretched.
- Bring your right hand to the floor while keeping your left arm extended and your chest open.
- Bring your eyes toward your left arm or straight ahead, whatever is more comfortable for you. Hold this position for 15 seconds, breathing deeply and deliberately throughout the time.
- Continue on the opposite side.
Or the sphinx pose?
Sphinx Pose, like Cobra Pose, helps digestion by stretching the torso and the digestive organs. You'll need a mat to do this yoga position. (4)
- Lie on your back with your arms bent and your hands facing up.
- Keep your core firmly in place and steadily press up through your spine to begin the process. Maintain a neutral neck while relaxing your glutes and using your low back.
- Pause for a few seconds and return to the starting position after achieving a comfortable height.
- Do this five times.
Maybe you should do some extended puppy pose?
Try this stance if you've overindulged; it will help your body and mind relax.
Begin on all fours with your hands and knees stacked under your shoulders and hips. Step forward with your hands a few inches and point your toes toward the floor. (4)
Drop your forehead to the floor and extend your arms with palms on the floor as you exhale. Maintain a modest lumbar curve. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
Keep an eye on things and take action
You'll be back to your old self in no time with a combination of diet and bloat response tracking, cardio, and yoga moves. Your doctor may be able to diagnose and treat your bloating issues if you've already tried modifying your diet or exercising. (5)
Women with ovarian cancer may experience bloating, a frequent symptom, but it can also be an early warning sign. Screening is the only way to tell if it's serious or not. Using the findings can help you better understand your body. (5)
What are the drawbacks?
The temptation to consume so-called "detox" drinks and tablets may be strong, but you should avoid them at all costs to alleviate your discomfort and reduce the appearance of your bloated stomach. (5)
When finding a miraculous drug or product, "there is none," explains Mastela. There is no connection between 'detox' and vomiting." Without using pricey products, your body may readily detoxify itself." (5)
Some also recommend the laxative action of Epsom salt taken orally with water. However, this will do little to alleviate abdominal discomfort. Oral administration of Epsom salts has been shown to exacerbate symptoms of bloating. (5)
A few considerations
Bloating may be a symptom of an underlying health issue, but it is more likely to be caused by your diet and eating habits. According to Sasse, the occasional occurrence of minor bloating is quite typical. (5)
Bloating may typically be avoided by keeping an eye out for and avoiding foods that trigger it. Before making dietary changes, testing for gluten or lactose sensitivity may be necessary." (5)
Sasse advises the following for long-term bloating relief:
- drinking enough water
- exercising regularly
- eating high fiber foods
- minimizing portion sizes
Avoiding or reducing the consumption of carbonated drinks, chewing gum, straws, and meals that create gas can also be beneficial.
Adding probiotic-rich foods like kefir or Greek yogurt to your diet may help alleviate IBS symptoms like bloating. While none of these suggestions are guaranteed to reduce bloating immediately, they may help prevent it in the future. (5)
When to communicate with your doctor
If bloating is an ongoing concern, it never hurts to connect with your doctor. Sasse also recommends keeping a meal journal and noting any foods that lead to that bloated feeling. (5)
In rare circumstances, stomach bloating can indicate serious health concerns. It's best to receive medical care right away if you have to bloat with any of the following:
- blood in your stools
- heartburn that seems to increase with time
- high fever
- stools that are black or resemble tar
- terrible abdominal discomfort
- unexpected weight loss
The bottom line
It's never fun to be left with that uncomfortable full-tummy feeling after a meal, but bloating on its own is usually not a sign of severe health problems. (5)
Finding out what's causing your bloating might help you take steps to relieve it right now and lessen the likelihood that it will happen again in the future. (5)
If you have any concerns, seeing your doctor or a nutritionist is always a wise option; this is especially the case when bloating continues to occur or causes considerable distress. (5)