Abdominal bloating is common in adults and children. It happens when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is full of gas or air. Many people describe it as feeling full, swollen, or tight in the abdomen. Bloating is accompanied by belching, burping, abdominal gurgles, or rumbling and can interfere with your ability to work or participate in social activities. Luckily there are several effective ways to get relief from this discomfort. In this post, we will look at the causes of abdominal bloating and how you can reduce it.
Why Do People Bloat?
One of the leading causes of bloating is constipation. The common signs of constipation include:
- Stool that looks like pebbles or rocks
- Straining when starting and finishing bowel movement
- Not feeling empty after a bowel movement
When your stool stays longer in your colon, bacteria get enough time to ferment what's there, resulting in the gas buildup and bloating. Besides constipation, other causes of bloating may include:
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO): This refers to an unusual bacteria surge in the small intestines. It's common in people who have had IBS with diarrhea or intestinal surgery.
- Gut Sensitivity: People struggling with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can have extremely high sensitivity to gas, causing pain, diarrhea, and cramping.
- Gastroparesis: A condition that affects normal stomach emptying. It can cause bowel blockage, bloating, and nausea.
- Gynecological conditions: Problems related to the uterus or ovaries can sometimes cause bloating. It is best not to skip your annual pelvic exams.
- Taking certain foods that trigger bloating
- Swallowing air when chewing gum
- Hormonal flux (especially for women)
- Eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa
- Food intolerance
How to Reduce Bloating
You can reduce abdominal bloating by following these tips.
Identify the Cause of your Bloating
The first step to reducing bloating is identifying where it's coming from. Bloating is triggered by many lifestyle and dietary factors. Once you find out what is causing it, you can efficiently address the problem and get relief.
Limit Bloat Triggering Foods
Certain foods contain high amounts of poorly digestible compounds such as sugar alcohols, soluble and insoluble fiber, fructose, and raffinose. When you consume them, the undigested sugars and fiber move to the colon, where bacteria ferment them, causing gas buildup. Some of the foods that may cause bloating include beans, dairy, carbonated beverages, cabbage, broccoli, sugar alcohol, wheat, and cauliflower.
Embrace Regular Bowel Habits to Avoid Constipation
You can avoid constipation symptoms by drinking adequate fluids, preferably two liters daily, and increasing your fiber intake. Both soluble and insoluble fiber from fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts can offer relief.
Remember that you should be cautious when taking soluble fiber because this type is often fermented in your large intestines, leading to bloating. You can increase your intake slowly to avoid worsening the situation. Additionally, it's good to exercise regularly by swimming, jogging, and walking to keep your bowel moving regularly.
Lower your FODMAP Diet
Approximately 66–90% of patients struggling with IBS also experience abdominal bloating. Studies suggest that lowering the carbs intake called fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) can help relieve the IBS symptoms like bloating.
FODMAPs are poorly digested, and the bacteria living in the colon can ferment them, causing bloating. Examples of foods rich in FODMAPs include custard, cashews, lentils, fruit juice, soft cheese, wheat, rye, and dairy. If you have IBS, it would be best to lower the intake of these foods.
Check Out for Lactose Intolerance
Lactase is an enzyme that our bodies need to break down lactose. However, some people fail to produce enough of this enzyme once they reach adulthood, resulting in a condition known as lactose intolerance. It causes lactose to move through the gut to the large intestines, where bacteria ferment it and releases gas.
The resulting symptoms include stomach pain, bloating, belching, and increased flatulence. If you suspect you have lactose intolerance, it would be best to reduce your dairy intake to alleviate the symptoms of bloating. Luckily, some dairy products like aged cheeses and Greek yogurt have lower lactose content and may be better tolerated.
Eat Smaller Portions and Limit Fatty and Salty Foods
Taking foods in large portions contributes to bloating in two ways. One, large volumes stretch your stomach, leading to the pooling of solids and gases along your gut. This causes the feeling of fullness and bloating. Secondly, if the foods you take contain poorly digestible or indigestible carbs, the more your large intestines hold, the more gases your body produces.
High salt intake is also closely linked to water retention in the gut and bloating feeling. Further, high fats retain gas in the intestine, increasing the bloating sensation. So, consuming small portions and reducing your salt and fats intake may help to reduce these symptoms.
Take Probiotics Supplements
Probiotics have a multitude of benefits for our bodies. Studies suggest that they help in digestive symptoms like bloating by improving the bacterial environment in your gut. This may counteract bloating, especially in people with IBS. There are many probiotic supplements on the market today. Ensure you purchase yours from a reputable brand like Cardiff for faster results.
Foods to eat that Reduce Bloating
An abundance of foods can help you maintain a healthy gut and enable digestion to run efficiently. Each brings a unique thing to the process, providing all nutrients necessary for maintaining a healthy system. Here is a list of foods that could help keep bloating at bay.
- Oatmeal: Rich source of digestible fiber.
- Quinoa: Has a constipation-fighting fiber that helps relieve bloating.
- Pineapple: Has bromelain that aids digestion.
- Green tea: Acts as a natural laxative that unclogs your pipes.
- Celery: Source of fiber and has a high water content that makes digestion easier.
- Watermelon: Helps to keep you hydrated and reduce bloating.
- Ginger: Relaxes your intestines and breaks down proteins with zingibain enzyme.
- Cucumbers: Have high water content that helps with digestion.
- Berries: Raspberries and strawberries are excellent sources of fiber.
- Apples: Have a gel-forming fiber that maintains the groove of your digestive system.
- Yogurt: Source of probiotics that aid easy food digestion and bowel movement.
- Fermented food like kombucha and kefir: Rich in probiotics that help relieve bloating and improve gut health.
Abdominal bloating is a common condition caused by lifestyle, dietary and health factors. It can cause discomfort that affects your quality of life. Fortunately, maintaining a healthy diet, embracing bowel habits, and taking probiotic supplements can help to relieve the symptoms.
Cardiff has the leading number of probiotics on the market along with berries, ginger, greens, and more to aid in your gut health. Try Cardiff's Feel Good Daily Essential Superfoods Pre & Probiotic Blend to improve the health of your gut and alleviate bloating symptoms.