WHAT IS BLOATING? 10 PROVEN WAYS TO FIX IT

bloating

Does it happen to you?

You wake up in the morning all fine and till evening you become a 2 months pregnant woman without even having a baby inside you?

The jeans which you wore in the morning suddenly become 2 sizes smaller in the evening? 

I’m sure the answer is yes!

Yeah, I am talking about bloating.

The food bump from which we all suffer.

It is very common but sometimes it can lead to a lot of uneasiness. [1]

Today we are going to tap the root cause of bloating and will see how to fix it forever.

Keep reading!

WHAT IS BLOATING?

what is bloating?

Let us understand the meaning in the most simple way.

Bloating is a sensation of abdominal fullness. [2]

This commonly occurs as a result of the building up of gas somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract, which may be associated with gastrointestinal disorders or organic diseases. [3]

About 6-30 % of people report that they regularly experience bloating, so it is quite common.

It can cause discomfort, sometimes pain and can hurt the quality of life for some individuals. [4]

Sometimes people get confused in between bloating and distension. But let me tell you they are not the same. [5, 6]

Bloating can be described as the feeling that there is an inflated balloon in the abdomen.

Distension refers to a visible increase in measured abdominal size.

Abdominal bloating and distension can occur together, but that may not always be the case. 

Studies in people reporting bloating have shown that only half also have abdominal distension.

The main reason to differentiate bloating and distension are that there may be different underlying causes, so different treatments may be needed.

CAUSES

There are many causes of bloating, they include

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Drinking fizzy drinks
  • Constipation
  • Swallowing air when eating too fast
  • Food intolerance usually to milk (lactose intolerance), fructose intolerance, wheat, and gluten
  • Hormonal changes especially before a period or during menopause.
  • Food allergy
  • Overeating
  • Celiac disease
  • Certain medication such as phentermine
  • Massive infestation with intestinal parasites
  • Gas producing foods including legumes like beans and lentils
  • Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) and ovarian cyst
  • Diverticulosis
  • Dehydration
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Gastroparesis
  • Intra Abdominal tumours such as those from cancers of the ovarian, liver, stomach, and uterus
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
causes and symptoms of bloating

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of bloating may include

  • A sensation that the abdomen is full
  • Uneasy feeling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Burps 
  • Stomach rumbling
  • Sharp pain that may occur in the abdomen and change locations rapidly

HOW TO TREAT BLOATING?

Bloating is a widespread issue, and sometimes it is extremely uncomfortable to deal with, but simple diet and lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

how to fix bloating?

1.EAT MINDFULLY

How can I eat mindfully?

  • Eat without distraction 
  • Eat slowly, chew the food 
  • Stop when you feel full
  • Engage your senses by observing the colors, types of food on your plate
  • Appreciate the food

Today our life has become so fast-paced that we have almost forgotten to sit, enjoy and correctly eat our food.

Now, let us understand how eating mindfully helps us to reduce bloating.

When you are eating fast you are swallowing a lot of air along with the food which can lead to gas retention. This ultimately results in bloating. [7]

Chewing your food is also very important. The human body is designed in such a way that 50% of the digestion process should be completed in the mouth itself. [8]

 It helps to improve digestion hence no more bloating problems.

Try to eat without distractions. 

When you are eating the stomach sends signals to the brain to say I’m full now. But let us say you are eating with a phone in your hand or while typing or maybe watching a movie on Netflix, then these symptoms get numb and you end up eating almost 1.5 to 2 times higher than what you normally eat.

Overeating can sometimes give a sensation of fullness which people mistake as bloating, so avoid overeating. Eat-in small proportions, you can increase your total number of meals from three to four. 

I quickly want to mention that, never eat your food with guilt, worrying about calories. Eating your food with guilt is the biggest insult to food. 

However, cliche it may sound but eating the food in the right way, with love and respect never cause bloating and indigestion problems.

2. REDUCE STRESS AND ANXIETY

In today’s world stress has become part and parcel of everyone’s life, be it peer pressure, work pressure, work-life balance, or anything for that matter, stress comes complementary.

When we are in that stressed-out mode, we are in something called a “flight or a fight mode” in that mode digestion does not happen efficiently. Some studies show that there is a relationship between stress and digestive disorders. [9,10,11]

There is also a link between stress and bloating. [12]

So if you happen to be bloated quite often, it might just be your stress. So try to reduce your stress.

Now I know it’s not possible to eliminate stress but at least you can manage your stress in certain ways.

And the way I think works best is meditation. Some studies show meditation can reduce bloating. [13]

3. BE CAUTIOUS OF SUGAR ALCOHOLS

Sugar alcohol is the type of sweeteners that can be found in sugar-free foods and also in chewing gums.

For most people though, the exposure would be through chewing gum.

Examples of some sugar alcohols would be 

  • Sorbitol [14]
  • Mannitol
  • Xylitol

For most people, these sugar alcohols do not cause any digestive discomfort but for some sensitive people, it can cause some bloating and it depends on how much you are eating. 

So if you are someone who is suffering from bloating, consider checking the food labels of any sugar-free food you have.

If you find any of these sugar alcohols, cut them out and see if that is making any difference. 

4. LIMIT CARBONATED DRINKS

So here is the thing, remember everyone is different.

Some people can have carbonated, and fizzy drinks and have absolutely no bloating whatsoever. I think they are really good at burping out the air but some people can not burp it out as well and then that air stays in the stomach and causes bloating. [15]

So if you struggling with bloating try to eliminate those carbonated drinks.

5. TAKE PROBIOTICS

We all have heard that good gut health is important for good digestion and a part of that is probiotics. 

Studies show that probiotics improve symptoms of bloating, gas, and pain. [16]

Probiotics are good bacterias that are good for your gut health. 

A better idea is to take probiotics from natural sources like foods rather than in the form of supplements or tablets. 

Foods rich in probiotics are

  • Yoghurt
  • Paneer
  • Idli
  • Fermented soybean
  • Pickles 
  • Green peas
  • Buttermilk

6. AVOID GETTING CONSTIPATION

If you are struggling with constipation, you are more likely to be bloated. Studies show that there is a link between constipation and bloating. [17]

Drinking more water and regular exercising might help in easing out constipation. [18]

Foods rich in fibers can also help but at the same time precautions must be taken because sometimes fibers can cause gas and make things even worse.

7. MAKE GRADUAL CHANGES IN THE DIET ESPECIALLY FIBER

One of the biggest issues that people struggle with when they start a healthier diet is the increase in fiber intake and the resulting bloating. If your body isn’t used to it, fiber can cause bloating. [19]  It is absolutely normal but it can be uncomfortable.

So if you are starting a new diet or increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables or maybe increasing your legumes, it is a good idea to go slow and do it gradually so that you give your body enough time to adjust to the changes and that will help you to reduce bloating.

Now, sometimes no matter how gradual the changes are, you are still going to struggle with certain foods.

A whole lot of people find it difficult to eat beans. So you have to figure out what food suits you and what does not.

8. NOTICE IF SPECIFIC FOOD IS CAUSING BLOATING

Maybe you don’t know about it but sometimes your body is intolerant to specific foods and unknowingly you keep on eating those foods and hence your bloating never goes away.

Now, what do you have to do?

You have to find out those foods which are responsible for triggering bloating.

The way I am about to suggest you are a little tedious and boring but you have to do it anyway if you really want to fix your issues.

Maintain a food journal. Write down what you are eating and then write down the symptoms and see if there is a link between certain foods and your bloating.

A lot of times you will notice is that there is a link.

For example, a lot of people have issues with dairy products, a lot of people are lactose intolerant, a lot of people are fructose intolerant. 

Some people are even intolerant to eggs, wheat, and gluten. All these foods are best of friends with bloating if you are allergic or intolerant to them.

Lactose and fructose are subgroups of a larger indigestible carb known as FODMAPs.

9. LOW FODMAP DIET

You should definitely try a low FODMAP diet if you are suffering from severe bloating and other digestive disorders. 

Studies show that a low FODMAP diet can fix these issues. [20]

FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that some people struggle with.

Below given are some foods which are high FODMAP foods and you should consider avoiding eating them.

  • Wheat
  • Apples
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Pears 
  • Watermelons

10. AVOID SWALLOWING AIR AND GASES.

Some habits that you must stop to avoid swallowing air and gases are [21]

  • Drinking through straw
  • Eating chewing gum
  • Drinking excess carbonated, aerated drinks
  • Eating too fast
  • Talking while eating 

5 YOGA POSES TO RELIEVE BLOATING 

Practicing yoga improves digestion by increasing blood flow to your digestive tract, twisting poses compress and massage your internal organs.

10 minutes of a walk after meals can also help a lot in treating bloating.

Here are 5 simple yoga poses that can help you to give relief fast.

  1. Trikonasana
yoga to relieve bloating

2. Paschimottanasana

yoga to relieve bloating

3. Dhanurasana

yoga to relieve bloating

4. Pawanmuktasana

yoga to relieve bloating

5. Marjaryasana-Bitilasana

yoga to relieve bloating

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR?

A doctor should be consulted if bloating is accompanied by 

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting, nausea
  • Bloody stools
  • Complete loss of appetite or feeling too full quickly
  • Persistent or severe abdominal pain 
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Changes in the color of stool or frequency of stools

These symptoms are not normal and may require some medication.

DIAGNOSIS

The doctor will start by asking you questions about your condition including symptoms, duration of bloating.

They will ask you about the current medication and review your medical history.

The doctor may carry out a physical exam that includes palpating your stomach for masses or swelling, tap your tummy to identify and fluid present, and listen to bowel sounds to defect any obstructions.

The doctor may suggest certain diet trials to determine if there is a particular food that is triggering your bloating.

To rule out lactose, fructose, or sucrose intolerances, a breath test may be recommended. 

Investigations are needed in some patients especially if serious symptoms are present, imaging studies such as ultrasound, CT scan, endoscopy may be used.

CONCLUSION

Bloating is a common issue but sometimes it becomes so uncomfortable that it affects the quality of life of an individual.

Going out with friends and family for dinner becomes embarrassing more than being enjoyable.

That constant feeling of fullness is something that irritates a lot. Needless to say, it decreases the productivity of a person and concentration power.

More than 80% of the problems arise from the gut. So do you understand how important is it to take care of your gut health?

Having said that, the good part is that solution to this problem is fairly easy and practical.

Little eating changes along with lifestyle changes can create a big difference in fixing bloating.

However, if you feel that the symptoms are not normal, do not delay seeing a doctor because often these are starting nodes of a bigger health issue.

It is always a good idea to rule out bigger health problems before making any diet or lifestyle changes. 

With that, I hope that now you have got some really nice tips to remove your food bump.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What causes bloating?

Bloating occurs as a result of the building up of gas somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract, which may be associated with gastrointestinal disorders or organic diseases.
It can sometimes cause pain, discomfort and a feeling of fullness.

How do I cure my bloated stomach?

Here are 10 tips to cure bloating
1. Mindful eating
2. Reduce anxiety and stress
3. Be cautious of sugar alcohols
4. Limit carbonated drinks
5. Take probiotics
6. Avoid constipation
7. Make gradual changes in the diet especially fibers
8. Notice if some food is causing bloating
9. Low FODMAP diet
10. Avoid swallowing air and gases

How to know that bloating is serious?

About 6-30 % of people report that they regularly experience bloating, so it is quite common and there is nothing to worry.
Having said that, if you experience symptoms like
1. Diarrhea
2. Vomiting, nausea
3. Bloody stools
4. Complete loss of appetite or feeling too full quickly
5. Persistent or severe abdominal pain 
6. Unintended weight loss
7. Changes in the color of stool or frequency of stools
then you should definitely see a doctor.

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