It can be frustrating to try to determine what’s triggering the unwelcome digestive issues that can plague you from time to time, like constipation, stomach cramping, gas, and bloating. After checking with your doctor that nothing else is amiss with your health, you may want to take matters into your own hands in regards to the comfort of your stomach. For example, bloat, defined as a swelling or feeling of fullness in the abdomen, is oftentimes manageable on your own—as long as you have the right tools for how to get rid of bloating.
Bloating may be manageable, but it certainly isn’t pleasant. It may just feel slightly uncomfortable or could present as abdominal distention, with around 30% of the adult general population having reported bloating and distention at some point, and an estimated 16% of U.S. adults experiencing bloat in the last month. With such a common issue bringing pain and discomfort, it’s important to learn more about what may be causing it, and how you can get rid of bloating in the easiest ways possible.
Here are some ways to rid bloat so you can get back to not feeling like an overinflated balloon. And to learn more about digestive health, read the #1 Best Fruit for a Healthy Gut, Says Dietitian or 6 Best Foods to Eat for an Upset Stomach, Says Dietitian.
1. Quit smoking
For people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), mental stress can create spasms in the colon, leading to discomfort, pain, and bloat. Find ways to cope with stress effectively to minimize risk of bloat.
There are so many different foods and ingredients entering our diets each day that eating something slightly different than usual may be just enough to trigger bloat. Experts recommend following an elimination diet, where foods that are suspected to be bothersome are eliminated and then in the reintroduction phase are gently returned and symptoms are monitored.
2. Manage stress
Whether it be a sugary soda or an innocent sparkling water, it’s best to avoid these beverages to tame bloat. Carbon dioxide in these drinks increases gastric volume and stimulates stretch receptors which lead to epigastric discomfort, recognized as bloat, reports the Journal of Nutrition.
When people think of how to get rid of bloating, they may not think he art of meditation may prove useful in controlling bloat. In a small one-year follow-up study from Behaviour Research and Therapy, Relaxation Response Mediation (RRM) significantly reduced bloating in participants with IBS.
3. Remove the trigger food
Mild physical activity appears to improve gut transit of gas and intestinal clearance of gas, thereby preventing retention of gas in the form of bloat. Squeezing in a brisk walk or bicycle ride through your neighborhood after meals may be all that’s needed to offer relief.
Most of the available chewing gum on the market for controlling dental caries and providing minty fresh breath contains sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, and maltitol. Unfortunately, these sugar alcohols increase the risk of gas and bloating and force you to swallow air, which could lead to trapped gas.
Eating sodium (a component of salt) in excess can lead to bloating. It’s suspected that higher sodium intake may induce water retention, reduce digestive efficiency, and change the composition of gut microbiota, according to the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
The more fiber the better, right? Yes and no. Achieving fiber goals is important for many functions such as bowel regularity and heart disease prevention, but consuming too much too soon leads to bloating. Take note of how much fiber you are currently averaging each day and only increase fiber intake by about two grams a day to get to a grand total of 28-34 grams per day.
Sipping your drink with a straw introduces extra gas to your digestive tract, which could result in more bloat. Also try to not talk while you eat, which could lead to more air swallowing.