Do you have a tendency to feel bloated throughout the day? Or, maybe your stomach feels bloated after you eat certain foods. Maybe it feels more bloated at some points in the day than others.
Either way, this isn’t the kind of problem anyone wants to live with. Abdominal bloating can have a negative impact on your appearance, of course, but that’s just one reason people look for solutions to this issue. People who experience bloating in their stomachs on a regular basis often experience other uncomfortable symptoms that accompany this condition.
Luckily, you don’t need to simply accept this problem as part of life. There are plenty of steps you can take to reduce abdominal bloating. Addressing the issue may be as simple as avoiding certain foods that are more likely to cause bloating. Some people successfully prevent abdominal bloating by making basic lifestyle changes, like getting more exercise. Adding the right nutritional supplements to your diet can also be an effective way to treat abdominal bloating.
Of course, you should always heed the advice of your physician. The tips here should not be interpreted as official medical advice. If your doctor recommends taking specific steps to correct your abdominal bloating, listen to them. There are many cases in which abdominal bloating is caused by an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed.
That said, medical treatment may not be necessary. That’s why the information here is valuable. In this article, you’ll learn what abdominal bloating is, what causes it, and what you can potentially do about it. Keep reading to better understand this condition and why it may be affecting you.
What is Abdominal Bloating? What Causes It?
People who experience abdominal bloating might say they “have gas.” While this way of phrasing the problem may sound crude or unscientific, it’s actually fairly accurate.
Abdominal bloating often develops because air or gas has built up in a person’s gastrointestinal tract, causing their stomach to feel very full as a result. Although every person is unique, there tend to be common symptoms which frequently accompany this experience. Some degree of discomfort or pain may be involved. The severity of this pain can vary from one person to another. Excessive flatulence and/or burping may also accompany abdominal bloating. Thus, people who have this problem may often be embarrassed to discuss it with a medical professional, although they absolutely should not be. It’s also relatively common for the stomachs of people with abdominal bloating to create gurgling or rumbling sounds (Source).
Of course, you may wonder how gas gets trapped in the GI tract in the first place. The fact is, every time you eat or drink, you swallow some amount of air. The rate at which you eat or drink can have an impact on how much air you swallow. Additionally, some people are simply more prone than others to swallowing larger amounts of air during these processes. If too much air gets swallow too fast, it can build up before it has a chance to leave the body through burping or flatulence. This may cause the abdomen to bloat. Gas produced during the digestion process may also be responsible (Source).
That said, an excessive buildup of gas/air that was swallowed during basic everyday processes like eating is not the only reason a person may experience abdominal bloating. Sometimes a stomach infection is the culprit. This may be the case if symptoms like intense nausea, vomiting, or high fever accompany the bloating. While these types of infections tend to go away on their own after a few days, it’s still a good idea to see a doctor when you’re experiencing one, just in case you need additional treatment beyond simple rest.
Indigestion may also be the cause of bloating. This is an experience many people will have at some point in life. It can often be triggered by something as basic as eating too much food at one time. However, if you experience regular indigestion that doesn’t seem to be related to your diet, it’s definitely a good idea to schedule an appointment with a physician. This symptom could be a sign of a more serious illness.
Some people are also more likely than others to retain fluids when they consume them. This is another potential cause of abdominal bloating. Additionally, your body’s likelihood of retaining fluids tends to increase when you eat salty foods.
There are several other potential causes for abdominal bloating. For instance, if a person suffers from constipation, their stomach is not emptying its contents as quickly as it normally should. This means that it is much more likely to become bloated. There are also conditions like gastroparesis, in which the stomach muscles fail to adequately empty the stomach’s contents. Certain chronic stomach disorders can also be responsible for abdominal bloating, as can food allergies (Source).
What to Do About It
If you regularly experience abdominal bloating, keep a log of any other symptoms you experience that accompany it. You should also keep track of any factors that may have contributed to the problem. This will help you identify ways to reduce its frequency. For example, if you do keep a log, you may find that you’re more likely to experience abdominal bloating after eating certain types of foods.
Additionally, having this information makes it easier for a doctor to provide a reliable diagnosis.
Again, there are many cases in which you can address the problem of abdominal bloating on your own. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consult with a physician if you struggle with this issue, though. You already know that it could potentially be a sign of a condition that requires treatment. Speaking with a doctor will give you the chance to find out if you have another health issue that needs to be corrected. Even if it turns out that your bloating is related to more basic factors, like swallowing too much air or eating the wrong foods, knowing the cause of the problem will make you better equipped to fix it.
In the meantime, you probably want to know what you can do to avoid abdominal bloating, as well as what you can do to treat your symptoms when you are experiencing it. The following tips will help.
Don’t Eat Too Much Too Quickly
For many people, the cause of abdominal bloating is simply eating too much at one time. In these cases, they are more likely to experience the physical symptoms than any actual significant bloating. Their stomach may feel more full and bloated than it actually is.
Luckily, addressing the issue in this case is as simple as changing your eating habits. Make a point of trying smaller portions with meals. Some people find they are successful at reducing the frequency of bloating by eating several smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large ones.
You can also try to chew more slowly and mindfully when you eat. After all, there can be a delay between when your stomach gets full and when your brain processes this information. By chewing more slowly than you normally would, you give yourself the chance to stop eating before you overindulge. There’s also reason to believe that people who focus on chewing slowly are also more likely to chew correctly. This simply means they are unlikely to swallow large amounts of air that could otherwise result in bloating (Source).
Again, constipation is one of the main causes of abdominal bloating. While you could address this problem with over-the-counter laxatives, you may want to try a more natural approach first.
That can be fairly simple. People who suffer from constipation often don’t drink enough fluids during the day. This is an easy problem to fix. Drinking more water throughout the day offers a wide range of health benefits. Preventing constipation, and as a result, abdominal bloating, is just one of them (Source).
Of course, many people have busy lifestyles. It can be easy to forget to drink enough water if you’re constantly on the go during a typical day. That’s why it’s a good idea to purchase a reusable water bottle that you can take with you during your daily tasks. Having it on hand will make staying hydrated much easier.
Do you need another reason to start working out more often? If so, preventing abdominal bloating may be it.
Many people don’t realize that a lack of exercise can result in constipation. That’s because, when you’re getting enough exercise, the body tends to digest food more quickly. As a result, it has less time to absorb water from the food. When you’re not exercising, too much water gets absorbed, resulting in dry stool that can be very difficult to pass.
Exercise also helps by providing the body with natural stimulation that allows the stomach muscles to digest food more easily.
By adopting a fitness routine and sticking to it, you’ll flatten your stomach in two ways. More exercise means burning off more calories throughout the day. Thus, you’ll be more likely to shed any extra pounds around your stomach that have contributed to a bloated look. Additionally, by exercising more often, you’ll reduce your odds of experiencing constipation. That means you’ll also reduce your odds of experiencing abdominal bloating (Source).
Eat More Fiber
You need a healthy amount of fiber in your diet to avoid constipation. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the kinds of ingredients and foods that offer your body sufficient amounts of fiber. Incorporating them into your diet on a regular basis can significantly impact your odds of developing abdominal bloating issues in the future (Source).
Luckily, fiber can be relatively easy to find in a wide variety of foods. Fruits that contain high amounts of fiber include raspberries, pears, and apples. Whole wheat breads and grains are also typically rich in fiber. So are vegetables like artichoke, green peas, and broccoli. You can also get a very large amount of fiber from split peas, lentils, black beans, lima beans, and cooked vegetarian baked beans (Source).
These are all foods that are relatively easy to incorporate into any basic diet. Many of them are widely available, and for most people, finding a food they enjoy eating from this list isn’t that difficult. Make an attempt to eat more of them if you want to reduce constipation and prevent abdominal bloating.
That said, it’s important to understand that eating too much fiber may actually have the opposite effect if your bloating isn’t usually accompanied by constipation. These foods can help prevent bloating if constipation is preventing you from releasing the contents of your stomach effectively. However, if you aren’t constipated but are still experiencing bloating, too much fiber can actually increase the amount of gas in your stomach, making the problem worse.
That’s why you should monitor your condition whenever you try these kinds of remedies. What works for one person won’t always work for someone else. If you make an effort to eat more fiber on a regular basis, only to find out that your bloating seems to be getting worse instead of better, it may be necessary to reduce your fiber intake. Keeping track of your condition will help you better understand what factors are contributing to the problem.
Try Avoiding Certain Foods
Again, many people who experience abdominal bloating are reacting to foods their bodies may have trouble digesting.
That said, knowing what foods may be causing the problem isn’t always easy. That’s why it’s a good idea to try to remove certain types of foods from your diet for a period of time. If removing these types of foods also reduces the frequency of your abdominal bloating, it may mean you should avoid them regularly to address the issue on a more permanent basis.
Some types of foods are more likely than others to trigger instances of abdominal bloating. Foods that contain lactose are often associated with this condition. They can also trigger a wide range of other digestive conditions which may at least contribute to an abdominal bloating problem.
Fructose is another ingredient that has been known to cause bloating in people whose bodies are fructose-intolerant. If a person has an egg allergy, bloating may also result from consumption of eggs. There are also many cases in which people with abdominal bloating are sensitive to wheat or gluten (Source).
Of course, if you think you may have a food allergy, you should talk to your doctor. Treatment may be available to address the issue. You also want to confirm that you will still be addressing all your nutritional needs should you decide to systematically remove certain types of foods from your diet. Again, doing so can be an effective way to determine which types of foods are more likely to trigger abdominal bloating. That said, you want to be sure you’re not going to be depriving your body of key nutrients if you decide to try going without them for a period of time. Speaking with your doctor gives you a chance to address any concerns you might have about this issue. They may even be able to recommend a specific diet plan for your needs.
Limit Your Consumption of FODMAP Foods
Studies indicate that people who struggle with problems like irritable bowel syndrome are often more likely than others to also struggle with problems like stomach bloating. Studies also indicate that certain types of foods, called FODMAP foods, can exacerbate the problem.
FODMAPs are foods which the stomach digests fairly easily. This means a large amount of gas is produced when you eat them. As a result, you’re more likely to experience abdominal bloating.
That’s why you should make an effort to reduce your consumption of them. An expert can provide you with a low-FODMAP diet if you want to thoroughly reduce your consumption of these problem foods. However, if you want to simply try on your own before committing to a comprehensive diet, it helps to know what types of foods fall under this classification.
Foods to avoid if you’re trying to limit the amount of FODMAPs in your diet include onions, garlic, broccoli, wheat, cabbage, pears, apples, beans, and watermelon (Source).
You may have noticed that many of these foods overlap with the supposedly beneficial foods in a high-fiber diet. Again, that’s because what works for one person struggling with abdominal bloating may not be as effective for others. The cause of this problem tends to vary from one person to another. Thus, the right treatment will also vary.
This is why you may need to try several different strategies before finding the one that works for you. It can take a degree of patience to prevent an issue like abdominal bloating, but in the long run, it’s worth the effort. You’ll experience a much more comfortable life if you take the time to identify what types of foods trigger unpleasant conditions like bloating in your body.
Carbonated beverages are easy to find. Many people consume them on a daily basis.
This isn’t a great idea if you’re trying to be healthy. Soda contains very high amounts of sugar, and drinking it regularly is not good for your body.
Of course, some people who are trying to be healthier stick with non-sweet carbonated beverages, like seltzer. These options can help them reduce their sugar intake.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily food for your body if you’re struggling with abdominal bloating. That’s because carbonated beverages (even if they don’t contain sugar) are more likely to trap air or gas in your stomach. As you know, this can result in bloating.
Try to avoid carbonated beverages to see if doing so is an effective way to prevent this condition from developing in the future. Making the switch to drinks like water or tea is a simple way to keep your stomach flat. You may want to add some lemon or lime to your water if you still feel the need to drink something with a little more flavor (Source).
Don’t Rely on Artificial Sweeteners
Many people who are trying to drink less sugar make the choice to switch to beverages or food items that contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol and sorbitol instead.
While it is a smart idea to reduce your sugar consumption, relying on artificial sweeteners may not be the best bet. That’s because when these sweeteners get digested, gas is produced, making abdominal bloating much more likely (Source).
Drink Chamomile Tea
There is evidence to suggest that chamomile tea may benefit people who struggle with abdominal bloating. That’s because chamomile tea can promote healthier digestion. Try drinking a cup of it before each meal to find out if this method works for you (Source).
Try Clove Oil
Adding about eight drops of clove oil to a glass of water and drinking it after a meal might also help prevent abdominal bloating. This is because the oil can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes which will reduce the buildup of excess gas in the body (Source).
Take Ginger Supplements
You may not need to rely on expensive medicine to prevent abdominal bloating. Some natural ingredients can be very effective are preventing this problem from developing in the first place.
According to studies, supplementing your diet with ginger can aid in the digestion process. Thus, you’re less likely to experience abdominal bloating.
Just make sure you consult with your physician before taking any supplements. Although many nutritional supplements are generally safe, they can potentially interact with medications, resulting in unpleasant side effects. Talking with your doctor before starting to take them on a regular basis is important (Source).
Try Probiotic Supplements
Bacteria in your stomach can generate gas that may result in bloating. That’s why it’s important to maintain healthy levels of gut bacteria. You can do this by taking probiotic supplements. Evidence suggests they promote healthy bacteria levels, thereby reducing the amount of excess gas that builds up within the stomach (Source).
It’s worth mentioning that taking any supplement to address a medical issue like abdominal bloating typically involves some degree of waiting. It’s rare for these supplements to have an immediate effect on your condition. Thus, you shouldn’t assume they aren’t working simply because you haven’t seen results after a few days. If you want to reap the full benefits these remedies have to offer, it’s sometimes necessary to give them a reasonable amount of time to take effect.
Many experts believe there is a link between stress and abdominal bloating. They contend that people who are more prone to stress or anxiety are more likely to develop excess amounts of gas in their GI tracts. This may be due to the fact that stress can impact the function of key nerves in that area.
Thus, it’s important for people who are prone to abdominal bloating to focus on relaxing. Of course, there are some instances in which stress is linked to very real life circumstances that may need to be addressed. If a personal issue is causing you to worry on a regular basis, it’s important to take whatever steps you can to remedy it (Source).
That said, there may only be so much you can do to address the specific problem right now. Additionally, some people are simply more likely than others to experience high levels of stress, even when their life circumstances don’t always warrant it.
This doesn’t mean they can’t fix the issue. There are many ways a person can relieve stress. Exercise is a major one. You already know that exercise can prevent bloating by reducing your odds of developing constipation. It can also help by reducing the amount of stress you experience on a regular basis.
Practices like meditation or yoga may also help you combat your anxiety. A hobby can give you a positive distraction from your worry, as can a dynamic social life that involves spending a decent amount of time with family and friends. If these techniques don’t work, you may even want to see a counselor to discuss more effective methods of reducing stress in your life.
Your overall health can improve significantly when you get rid of excess stress. Preventing abdominal bloating may be just one of several benefits you’ll experience.
Optimize Your Health Pre-Menstrual Cycle
It’s not uncommon for some women to experience more noticeable stomach bloating during their menstrual cycle. Luckily, preventing this from happening may not actually be that difficult. Getting proper amounts of calcium and magnesium, especially before your menstrual cycle begins, can promote conditions in the body which reduce your odds of experiencing bloating. Try to consume 1200 mg of calcium and 400 mg of magnesium on a daily basis. You can get these from food sources, which is typically the best way to do so. However, if you worry that you diet won’t provide you with sufficient amounts of these nutrients, you can use supplements as well (Source).
Don’t Chew Gum
Unfortunately, some very basic and seemingly innocuous habits can actually contribute to an abdominal bloating problem. Even chewing gum on a regular basis can be a problem.
As you know, the artificial sweeteners found in some supposedly healthy sugar-free gums may not be good for your stomach. That said, there are other, simpler reasons why people who chew gum are often more likely than others to experience abdominal bloating.
Chewing gum gives you more opportunities to swallow large amounts of air. Swallow large amounts of air, and you’re more likely to experience bloating. Make an effort to quit (or at least chew gum less often) if you’re trying to get a flatter stomach (Source).
Smoking is another habit that can cause a person to swallow too much air. On top of that, smoking brings with it a wide range of other health issues that you want to avoid. Although quitting can be difficult, it’s in your best interest in the long run to do so. Preventing abdominal bloating is just one of many positive impacts it can have on your life (Source).
Don’t Use Straws
Sorry, but even something as basic as using a straw when consuming beverages can increase your odds of developing stomach bloating. That’s because when you drink with a straw you’re more likely to swallow large amounts of air.
Granted, some people must rely on straws if they have a physical ailment which prevents them from easily consuming beverages without them. However, if you can have a drink without needing a straw, try to remember not to use one. Reducing your usage of straws isn’t just good for the environment; it also helps you avoid stomach bloating (Source).
Again, you now know that carbonated beverages can actually make you more prone to abdominal bloating. However, some people forget that beer falls into this category. Because they don’t associate beer with soda or seltzer, they forget that it’s also technically a carbonated beverage.
Keep this in mind if you enjoy beer. The effects it can have on your stomach simply may not be worth any enjoyment you get from drinking it (Source).
Discuss Your Medications
Do you take any medications on a regular basis? Even if you don’t rely on prescription medications, some over-the-counter items, like antacids, can also qualify. While they may benefit your health in other ways, they might also increase your odds of developing abdominal bloating.
That doesn’t mean you should stop taking them. Never stop taking any medication you rely on without consulting with your physician first.
That said, there are many medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) that may have the side effect of causing bloating. If you talk to your doctor about this issue, they might be able to recommend another medication you can take to achieve the same health benefits without any of the unpleasant side effects (Source).
Take a Walk
Remember, exercise can help prevent bloating by stimulating the stomach muscles to process food more quickly. That’s why some experts recommend going for a walk after a meal. This is a simple way to promote faster digestion, and as a result, prevent excessive bloating (Source).
Limit Your Sodium Consumption
You’ve already learned that people who have too much salt in their diets may be more likely to experience abdominal bloating as a result of fluid retention. Thus, you should make an effort to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.
This can be difficult when many processed foods contain high amounts of it. That’s why it’s smart to read all nutrition labels before buying an item at the grocery store. If it contains more than 500mg of sodium per serving, it’s best to go with another option (Source).
Get More Potassium
If you’re looking for a way to get rid of excess salt in your body, making sure you have enough potassium in your diet is a smart way of doing so. Potassium can also help your body maintain proper fluid levels. This is another way it prevents abdominal bloating.
To ensure you’re getting enough potassium, try to incorporate more green leafy vegetables in your diet. Legumes and avocado are also good sources of potassium that are relatively easy to incorporate into meals (Source).
Try Peppermint Oil Supplements
Some people who experience frequent cases of abdominal bloating may actually be actually struggling with the effects of involuntary muscle spasms in their stomachs. Taking treatments which have been shown to reduce the frequency of spasms can reduce bloating as a result.
Luckily, this is another case in which you may not need any expensive medication or treatment. Natural ingredients like peppermint oil can have a very beneficial effect on relieving muscle spasms. Try taking peppermint oil supplements on a regular basis to find out if this helps prevent abdominal bloating. Again, you should consult with your doctor first, and you should understand that it will probably take some time before you start to see results (Source).
Try Digestive Enzymes
There are many over-the-counter supplements available for people who believe they may have trouble digesting certain foods. Look for digestive enzymes at your health food store or pharmacy. Take them according to the instructions on the packaging, and they may help to reduce and prevent abdominal bloating (Source).
Try an Easy Morning Drink
Starting the day off with the right ingredients can be key to preventing abdominal bloating. Luckily, you don’t need to purchase anything that’s too expensive or difficult to find to get the benefits you’re seeking.
For example, starting the day by drinking a glass of room temperature water with a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar may be enough to preventing bloating in the future. Lemon juice helps restore your body’s healthy pH levels, while the apple cider vinegar’s enzymes will promote healthier, natural digestion (Source).
Stick to Lean Meats
Although your body does need a certain amount of fat to remain in optimal health, eating too much fatty food can increase your odds of experiencing stomach bloating.
That’s because it takes the stomach longer to digest fatty foods than other types of foods. This means there is more time for the bacteria in the stomach to generate the kind of gas which contributes to abdominal bloating.
This is why you should make an effort to stick to healthy fats, and to not consume excess amounts of fatty foods. If you’re going to eat meat, for example, stick to a lean meat like chicken instead of something with more fat like beef (Source).
When to See a Doctor
Again, it’s usually a good idea to see your doctor whenever you’re experiencing a medical condition that won’t go away. Even if you’re not struggling with particularly severe symptoms, knowing what it causing the problem makes it much easier to treat.
That said, there are some symptoms that should absolutely trigger a visit to the doctor as soon as possible.
For instance, if your bloating is accompanied by sudden, seemingly unexplained weight loss, contact your physician.
Red or bloody streaks in your stool are another sign of a potential problem. So is stool that is black or resembles tar.
Although many people who experience abdominal bloating also struggle with constipation and/or diarrhea, if these symptoms are particularly severe or won’t go away no matter what remedies you try, then it’s important to see your doctor to determine what’s causing the issue. You should also seek medical attention if you experience prolonged nausea that won’t go away, or if your abdominal bloating is accompanied by feelings of chest pain (Source).
It’s important to be as honest as possible with your doctor when discussing these issues. It’s possible that you do practice certain bad habits that can contribute to abdominal bloating. You might also not want to admit that you’re not maintaining a healthy diet, or you’re not getting enough exercise.
Additionally, you already know that abdominal bloating can also involve potentially embarrassing symptoms, like excessive flatulence. Although most people understand that they can discuss these issues with a doctor, they may feel reluctant to do so during an appointment.
This is understandable. However, you’ll be less likely to get a proper diagnosis if you don’t honestly share all relevant information with your physician. By being honest, you’ll boost your odds of successfully addressing the issue.
That doesn’t mean there is a major medical issue to address. As you’ve learned from this article, there are many potential causes of bloating. Plenty of people who struggle with this issue don’t actually have any other medical conditions that cause it. They simply need to make adjustments to their lifestyle, diet, or basic eating habits.
That’s why you should apply the tips listed here if you do experience abdominal bloating. Although there are some instances in which medical treatment is necessary, in many cases, fixing the problem can be relatively simple. Try these remedies, stick with them, and you may find that abdominal bloating is a thing of the past for you.