Bloating- Causes and simple tips to relieve it
Why am I feeling so full? Why is my tummy having discomfort? Why do I not feel like eating anything?? This abdominal bloating or “bloated belly” is a very frequent symptom seen and almost everybody must have experienced it at some time in their life. People depict boating as feeling full, tight or swelling in the abdomen.
If experienced repeatedly, it can interfere with your everyday tasks or even socializing. Bloating is customarily seen in both children and adults too!!
Why this bloating?
1. GasesGases are usually experienced after eating. When undigested food gets broken down or when we swallow air, they build up in the digestive tract. However, some activities cause more swallowing of air like-
- Speaking too much while eating
- Eating or drinking too fast
- Eating too much
- Chewing gum
- High consumption of gas forming foods like beans, potatoes, sprouts
- Loose dentures
This swallowed air is thrown out of the body in the form of burping or flatulence
2. Medical causes
- Lactose intolerance
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Acidity or heartburn
- Parasitic infection
- Staying hungry for too long (Anorexia nervosa or bulimia)
- Depression or anxiety
- Food allergy
- Weight gain
- Hormonal flux
- Certain medications
3. Other chronic reasons
- Pancreatic insufficiency
- Gluten intolerance
Bloating is very very commonly seen in pregnant women
Some women do experience gases or bloating during menses.
Symptoms of Bloating
Anyone would love to have a thin flat belly, but thanks to the “too many sodas” or even the packet of Nacho chips, zipping your skirt or pants is a real struggle. Abdominal bloating not only looks bad, but also causes physical discomfort. This abdominal bloating is alarming when really painful. When the swallowed air travels upward, it comes out as a burp, but when it goes down, it goes as a fart.
The following symptoms are indicative of gas build up and flatulence
- Abdominal distension
- Fullness in abdomen. Not feeling like eating anything
- Repeated belching or burps
- Constipation or irregular stools
- Foul breath
- Loose motions
- Lower stomach pain
How to get rid of Bloating?
A disturbed digestive system can render yourself uneasy and also affect your daily activities. If not serious or regular, it can be easily relieved though some simple home remedies coupled with healthy diet and lifestyle modification.
1. Refrain from overeating
Stuffing your body with excess food causes bloating. So, cut down on the big meals and try small frequent meals.
Properly chewing your food has a twofold effect. It reduces the amount of air you gulp in and it also makes you eat slower, which in turn reduces food intake.
2. Evaluate your food allergies and intolerances
Consuming foods which you are allergic to, causes production of gases and bloating
You should consider these food constituents also-
- Lactose- Lactose is a milk carbohydrate and intolerance cause frequent gases and flatulence
- Fructose- It is also classified as Fruit sugar
- Gluten and wheat flour- Gluten is commonly found in wheat, oats and barley. Many people are Gluten intolerant and consumption of which causes gases and bloating
- Eggs- Many people with allergy to eggs suffer from gases after consumption of eggs
3. Cure it naturally
You can always try the natural home remedies to cure bloating like:
- Ginger shots
- Peppermint tea
- Chamomile tea
- Jeera water
4. Avoid swallowing air
Air goes into our body from two sources-
One is when you swallow it while eating or drinking. Other is the air or gas you swallow from drinks like soda or carbonated beverages. They contain bubbles with CO2. Also drinking cold drinks, juices or coconut water with a straw or chewing gums surges the amount of air swallowed.
5. Fend off the gassy foods
A variety of foods like Legumes, sprouts, beans, Cabbage, potatoes, broccoli produces Gases. Try avoiding them. If you are not aware of the foods which are gassy for you, you can always maintain a food diary to evaluate. Also eating foods with high fats, can bloat your belly.
6. Get rid of constipation
Very commonly seen, constipation usually exacerbates the symptoms of bloating. In such a case, you should very carefully choose your fibre intake.
Indulge in more of soluble fibre like pectin containing fruits like guava, pears, and keep a distance from insoluble fibres like beans, pulses which might cause gases on the other hand and worsen the symptoms.
Ensuring proper hydration from water and other liquids is a must
7. Feast upon those probiotics
When bloated, drinking a glass of buttermilk with jeera gives a feeling of comfort and also creates burps. This is a traditional grandmother’s home remedy for gases, flatulence or bloating. This is due to healthy gut bacteria being repopulated by probiotics found in buttermilk and curd.
Also, foods like bananas, onions, and some probiotic drinks available over the counter are rich in probiotics
8. Cut off the excess salt
High salty foods many a times causes water retention which can be a reason for bloating
9. Watch on the sugar alcohol you consume
They are usually seen in chewing gums or sugar free foods. These sugar substitutes when consumed, causes the bacteria in your large intestines to produce gases.
In the long run, the key to prevent bloating is understanding its cause. Always seek medical assistance or talk to your doctor if these home remedies and lifestyle changes don’t relieve the symptoms. Medical treatments may include antibiotics or antispasmodics.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sneha Jain, Dietician
Sneha is a Post graduate with specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a university topper and holds 5+ years of experience in Apollo hospitals, VLCC, slimsutra and first cry fit-kids . She has successfully counselled clients all over India for weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, hypothyroid, Pregnancy and lactation and growth charts for children. She has her own diet consultation e-clinic (diet_diariez)
She believes in customized diets and eating local and seasonal foods. Her counselling not only involves diet planning, but also lifestyle modification and stress relief strategies.