Bloating may not seem like a serious issue for your health and wellbeing, but it could be a sign of a more serious health condition. Bloating is the uncomfortable feeling of a swollen stomach, generally after meals.
It is usually caused by a build-up of excess gas or as a result of a disturbance in the movement of the muscles in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It may also involve the presence of excessive amounts of solids, liquids, or gas in your digestive tract.
Bloating can be painful, making it a particularly intrusive symptom. It may also mean that you have weak muscles in the wall of your stomach or that your diaphragm muscle contracts when it should be relaxing.
There are certain remedies that you can make use of to reduce bloating. While these may provide some form of relief, it is also useful to know how to prevent it altogether. If you are noticing a more chronic pattern of bloating, it is best to seek medical advice.
Ways to reduce bloating
Here are a few proven strategies to help you reduce the effects of bloating.
Avoid eating too much at mealtimes
In scientific terms, bloating refers to the distention of the abdomen. This can cause your stomach to look and feel enlarged.
It is common to experience bloating after a huge meal. This is because a large quantity of food may strain your digestive system, triggering gas and bloating.
If you experience bloating often, avoid eating large quantities at mealtimes.
Chew your food properly
Chewing your food properly before you swallow it may also be a good way to reduce the sensation of bloating. When you take the time to chew your food, it reduces the amount of air you swallow, which is considered a cause of bloating.
Chewing your food more precisely may also help you eat slower. This can lead to the consumption of smaller portions of food, reducing your food intake, which is another way to decrease bloating.
Avoid food that you are allergic to
Bloating after consuming food that does not agree with you is a type of allergic reaction. In light of this, it may be useful to eliminate these items from your diet to minimise or even eliminate bloating. Make sure you consult your doctor about what alternatives you can include to ensure you are meeting your nutritional requirements.
Food and ingredients you may need to avoid to reduce bloating include:
- Lactose: Lactose intolerance is associated with symptoms such as bloating. In this case, it’s best to avoid the consumption of milk-based products.
- Fructose: Food that is high in fructose can lead to bloating.
- Wheat and gluten: An intolerance towards wheat or gluten can lead to a range of unpleasant symptoms including bloating.
- FODMAP intolerance: This may be regarded as the most common cause of bloating and abdominal pain. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates.
Avoid sugar alcohols
Sugar alcohols may be commonly found in sugar-free food. Items like diet soda, chewing gum, and sugar-free food and beverages can include sugar alcohols. The issue is that these have been proven to cause digestive problems. When you consume sugar alcohols, the bacteria in your large intestine may digest these and produce gas, which can contribute to bloating.
Take digestive enzyme supplements
Certain over-the-counter digestive enzyme supplements may reduce bloating. Certain studies suggest that digestive enzyme supplements help break down indigestible carbohydrates, minimising the effects of bloating.
In some cases, these supplements may even provide immediate relief to patients suffering from bloating and related gastrointestinal conditions. There is a range of digestive enzyme supplements you can choose from. Speak to your doctor for recommendations that work for you.
Request more information on how you can reduce bloating
Following the suggestions outlined above may help you reduce the uncomfortable feeling of bloating in the short run. Speak to your doctor or specialist to find out if you can reduce some of the discomfort or unpleasantness you may be experiencing.
If you are suffering from chronic bloating, seek medical attention to rule out the possibility of a chronic or serious disease.