Bloating is when your stomach feels swollen, and it gets uncomfortable, often painful if the bloating does not begin to decrease. Bloating is mostly caused by excess amounts of solid, liquid, or gases in the digestive system or disturbances in the movement of the digestive system’s muscles. It usually occurs after eating.
Recent research suggests that bloating affects close to 16-19% of the total world population. Fortunately, there are many ways that can help get rid of bloating as well to prevent it. Knowing the causes of bloating and bloating-triggering foods will be very helpful.
Common Causes of Bloating
Gas is a common cause of bloating, especially after eating. When air is swallowed or undigested food gets broken down, gas builds up in the digestive tract, which in turn could cause those uncomfortable bloating symptoms.
Constipation is also a common reason most people experience bloating and stomach pains. You may be constipated if you’re straining to start a bowel movement or when your stool looks hard like rocks. The more prolonged constipation lasts, the worse your symptoms of bloating will be.
Excessive Gum Chewing
This may seem insignificant or small, but chewing gum could actually lead to bloating. This is because when you chew gum, you can swallow pockets of air which leads to gas and other unpleasant side effects.
Various stomach infections could cause gas, which may also be accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, etc. These complications may be caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli or Helicobacter pylori or a viral infection such as norovirus or rotavirus.
Most stomach infections leave after a few days, while some people may become severely dehydrated or continue to get worse over several days.
Sometimes, underlying health conditions could cause or worsen bloating. Examples include
- Gynecological disorders
- Celiac disease
- Chronic disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease.
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Dumping syndrome.
- Ovarian cancer
How to Get Rid of Bloating
Take a Walk
Taking a walk of any kind helps reduce bloating. It’s also important to take at least a 30- minutes walk after enjoying a big dinner to prevent bloating.
Try Peppermint Oil
If you’re bloated, you can get peppermint oil in supplement form to help get rid of bloating. Recent studies confirmed that peppermint oil helps reduce the symptoms of IBS, including bloating. Also, it’s effective and safe to use.
Probiotics can help reduce gas and bloating in people with digestion problems. Below are probiotic strains that have been well researched for bloating, specifically including:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® 8
- Bifidobacterium lactis HN0199
- Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07®8
- Lactobacillus plantarum LP299v® 10
Take Digestive Enzyme Supplements
The body needs essential elements to digest foods. They ensure the optimal absorption of nutrients entering the stomach. Different enzymes are required in order to digest different foods along the digestive tract.
If the body is lacking any of the needed enzymes, digestion could be impaired, thus leading to bloating and other health complications.
Foods That May Cause Bloating
- Legumes: Legumes such as lentils and dry beans contain a lot of dietary fiber raffinose which could cause bloating when consumed in excess.
- Carbonated Beverages: carbonated beverages could cause bloating as you’re likely to take in excess air when gulping the beverage.
- Dairy: Dairy products contain lactose _ a type of sugar. It’s common to have some degree of lactose intolerance which means the body may struggle to digest this sugar, i.e., lactose. This could lead to bloating as well as cramping and diarrhea. You need to be mindful of how much dairy( milk, ice cream, cheese) you consume if you’re worried about bloating.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts could cause bloating. However, they contain valuable fiber, so don’t avoid them entirely, and cooking them instead of eating them raw can also help reduce bloating.
How to Prevent Bloating in the Future
- Practicing Mindful Eating: one of the best ways of preventing bloating is by practicing a good eating habit. You should avoid all forms of distractions when eating for your body to digest food properly. Also, eat slowly to prevent swallowing too much air, which could lead to bloating.
- Hydrate Properly: It’s important to watch your water intake closely. It’s necessary to take water in order to prevent bloating, but when you drink matters too. Taking excess water with meals will dilute important stomach acids needed to break down food.
It’s best to drink enough water before and after meals as dehydration can cause bloating in your abdominal area, and in some other parts of your body, like your ankles.