How To Get Rid Of Bloating: Tips & Tricks To Try For Debloating

NCHC Writers
Tired of feeling bloated after meals? Discover the best foods to eat, lifestyle changes to make, and get rid of chronic discomfort!

Are you tired of feeling bloated and uncomfortable after meals? If your stomach feels full and tight each time you eat, chances are that you’re looking for quick and effective ways to improve your digestive health.

Bloating is a common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor digestion, food intolerances, and lifestyle habits. In fact, about 1 in 7 US adults experiences symptoms of bloating throughout a week, according to a study published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology[1] journal in 2017. 

If you’re one of those people, you might be wondering how to get rid of bloating and what makes you feel this way.

Fortunately, there are science-backed ways to help alleviate abdominal pain and debloat naturally. Let’s reveal the most common reasons why you might feel bloated and explore the most effective ways to feel great after every meal.

How To Get Rid Of Bloating?

Here are some practical steps you can take to get rid of bloating and get back to feeling your best. 

  • Eat slowly: Savor each bite and put down your fork between bites. Taking your time to chew your food thoroughly can help reduce the amount of air you swallow. 
  • Avoid carbonated drinks: Choose still water or herbal tea[2] instead of soda or sparkling water. Carbonated beverages like soda and sparkling water can cause gas to build up in your digestive system, leading to bloating.
  • Practice yoga: Certain yoga poses, like the seated twist and downward dog, can reduce bloating[3] by stimulating digestion.
  • Use a heating pad on your abdomen. Apply a heating pad for 15-20 minutes at a time when you experience bloating. This will relax your muscles and reduce abdominal pain.
  • Take probiotics: Choose a high-quality probiotic supplement or add probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or sauerkraut to your diet. Probiotics promote the growth of beneficial bacteria[4] in your gut.

What Is Bloating? 

Bloating is a condition where your stomach feels full, tight, and swollen. It can make you feel uncomfortable like you have to loosen your belt or pants. You might also experience gas, belching, or abdominal pain. Sometimes, your stomach might even look visibly swollen or puffy.

When bloating occurs, your gastrointestinal (GI) tract gets filled with too much gas. As a result, your abdomen may feel tight or distended.

This condition happens for different reasons, including eating too much or too quickly, consuming gas-producing foods[5] like beans or broccoli, or having gastrointestinal disorders. Along with the fullness, you might experience gas, belching, abdominal pain or discomfort, and a sense of pressure in your stomach.

Here are the most common symptoms of bloating that you might experience:

  • Feeling full, tight, or swelling in your stomach
  • Discomfort or pain in your abdomen
  • Gas or belching
  • Feeling like you need to loosen your belt or pants
  • Abdominal distension or swelling
  • Occasional diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting (less common)
  • Rectal bleeding (rare but serious)

Generally, bloating is an occasional, mild discomfort. But sometimes it can become a chronic condition that affects quality of life[6]. Chronic bloating may be a sign of an underlying digestive disorder or condition, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, or rectal bleeding.

How To Get Rid Of Bloating
Bloating is when your stomach feels full, tight, and swollen

What Causes Bloating? 

Bloating can be caused by various factors, including diet, lifestyle, and underlying health conditions. However, in all of these cases, it occurs when your digestive system is unable to process food and gas properly. This leads to excess air and fluid in your digestive system and causes your stomach to expand and feel tight. That’s why you feel discomfort.

Let’s discuss some of the most common factors that can lead to bloating.

Consuming Gas-Producing Foods or Drinks

Everyone has it in their digestive system, and that’s perfectly normal. However, not everyone has to deal with its distressing symptoms.

Therefore, you might be wondering: 

Why does excess gas cause bloating and discomfort in some people, but not in others?

Perhaps not surprisingly, the answer lies in your eating habits. 

The truth is that certain foods and drinks, such as high-fiber vegetables and carbonated beverages, can lead to gas production in the gut. Some of the gas-producing foods include beans, lentils, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, garlic, apples, pears, and artificial sweeteners. Dairy products can also lead to digestive problems for some people, especially if they have lactose intolerance[7].

Overeating or Eating Too Quickly

Not only what you eat, but the way you eat also has a direct impact on how your digestive system works. When you eat too much food or eat too quickly, your digestive system may struggle to break down the food properly. 

For example, if you frequently chew gum or eat too fast, you may be swallowing more air than usual, which can contribute to bloating and discomfort.

How To Get Rid Of Bloating
Eating too much or too quickly can lead to bloating

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal disorders[8] can be a common cause of bloating and digestive discomfort. These conditions often cause inflammation and damage to the digestive tract. As a result, it can be hard for the body to properly digest and absorb nutrients. 

Some of the most common gastrointestinal disorders that can cause bloating include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – A chronic condition that affects the large intestine, causing abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – A chronic inflammation of the digestive tract (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis). These two conditions can cause a range of symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating.
  • Celiac disease – An autoimmune disorder in which the body has an immune response to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. This can lead to damage in the small intestine and a range of digestive symptoms, including bloating.

Hormonal Changes

If you’re a woman, chances are that you’ve experienced bloating at some point in your life, especially around your menstrual cycle. According to a 2014 study published in BMC Women’s Health[9], 62% of women experience premenstrual bloating, while 51% of them have bloating symptoms during menstruation.

The increase in estrogen and drop in progesterone levels during your cycle can cause your body to retain water, leading to bloating and discomfort. It’s not just your imagination – it’s a real thing!

While it might help to understand how to lose water weight, you also need to know that it’s not just limited to your menstrual cycle. Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can also lead to bloating and fluid retention. In some cases, hormonal medications like birth control pills can also cause bloating as a side effect.

Other Possible Causes

Aside from these common causes, several other factors can contribute to bloating. These include:

  • Medications – Bloating can be a potential side effect of some medications.  For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and certain antibiotics can irritate the stomach lining and cause bloating.
  • Stress and anxiety – It may sound surprising but when you’re stressed or anxious, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. It can slow down digestion and cause bloating. This is often cited as the “gut-brain axis[10]” in scientific studies.
  • Constipation or bowel obstruction – If you’re constipated or have a bowel obstruction, food, and gas can get trapped in your intestines, leading to bloating.

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) – SIBO is a condition in which there’s an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. This can cause bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

How To Get Rid Of Bloating?

simple changes to your routine, you can reduce abdominal pain, improve digestion, and feel lighter and more energized after meals.

Let’s break down the most effective strategies for debloating and feeling your best after every meal.

Limit Salty & Fatty Foods  

The most important thing you need to consider is your diet. Salty and fatty foods can cause your body to retain water, which results in bloating. When you consume too much salt, your body tries to balance out the sodium levels[11] by retaining water and that’s why you feel puffy and swollen afterward. 

To reduce bloating, it’s important to limit your intake of these types of foods. Try to choose foods that are lower in salt and fat, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. It will also help if you’re wondering how to remove gas from stomach as fatty foods produce unwanted gasses in your stomach.

What’s the best way to change your diet?

You can maintain a food journal to keep track of every meal you consume throughout the day. Don’t forget to indicate how you felt after eating them to identify trigger foods and reduce bloating.

Try Probiotic Supplements    

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health and reduce bloating. These friendly bacteria can be found in certain foods, such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, but you can also take probiotic supplements to increase your intake.

When it comes to choosing the best probiotic for men, it’s important to consider the strain and dosage. The same applies to women. Look for a supplement that contains strains of beneficial bacteria for men’s health, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum. 

Incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your diet or taking probiotic supplements will balance the bacteria in your gut, which can improve digestion and reduce bloating.

Stay Hydrated

Did you know that not drinking enough water can cause your body to retain water? And as we said, retaining water is one of the main causes of bloating.

Studies[13] show that when you’re dehydrated, your body can’t efficiently break down food. On the other hand, drinking enough water can help to flush out excess salt and reduce water retention. 

Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, and more if you’re exercising or sweating. You can also incorporate hydrating foods into your diet, such as fruits and vegetables with high water content.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise has numerous benefits for your health, and reducing bloating is just one of them. When you exercise, you increase blood flow and stimulate the muscles in your digestive system. This can help move food through your digestive system more efficiently.

What’s more, various studies prove that physical activity reduces stress[14] and boosts your mood, which is also important for your gut health.

How To Get Rid Of Bloating
Exercising regularly can prevent bloating

Eat Smaller Meals

Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help to prevent overeating and reduce the likelihood of bloating. The reason is that smaller meals can easily regulate your blood sugar levels and improve nutrient absorption.

To implement this strategy, try eating 4-6 smaller meals throughout the day, rather than 2-3 large meals. Aim to eat every 3-4 hours[15] and choose nutrient-dense foods that will keep you feeling full and satisfied. 

Increase Fiber Intake

Getting enough fiber in your diet can definitely help your digestive system function properly and prevent bloating. Fiber helps to keep things moving smoothly through your digestive system, which can reduce the likelihood of constipation and bloating. 

Just be sure to increase your fiber intake gradually, as too much too quickly can actually make bloating worse. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are some of the best sources of fiber.

When To Seek Medical Attention 

If your bloating gets better after 48 hours, there’s no need to see a doctor. However, sometimes bloating can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. 

Make sure to seek medical help as soon as possible if you experience:

  • Severe or persistent bloating
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Blood in your stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a 2-3 days
  • Fever or chills

Conclusion

Feeling bloated and uncomfortable can put a damper on even the most delicious meal. However, certain lifestyle changes can ease your discomfort and leave you feeling lighter and more comfortable. Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, stay hydrated, and keep track of your diet as mindfully as possible. 

So, don’t let bloating ruin your well-being – try out these tried-and-true tips on how to get rid of bloating and enjoy your food to the fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common foods that cause bloating?

Some common foods that can cause bloating include high-fiber vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, beans and lentils, dairy products, carbonated drinks, and processed foods that are high in salt and fat.

How long does bloating typically last?

Typically, bloating doesn’t last longer than 24 hours. However, the duration of bloating can vary from person to person as it depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, it may only last for a few hours, while in others it can persist for several days or even weeks.

Does bloating cause weight gain?

Bloating can make you feel like you’ve gained weight, but it’s usually just temporary and not actual weight gain. Therefore, if your scale shows extra one or two pounds, it’s more likely due to fluid retention or other factors. Once the excess gas or water is released, the bloating should go away and your weight should return to normal. 

Does bloating go away on its own?

In many cases, bloating does go away on its own without any medical intervention. If you’re experiencing mild bloating caused by overeating or eating gas-producing foods and drinks, it will resolve on its own within a few hours or a day. But if bloating is a chronic issue, you might need to make necessary adjustments to your lifestyle.

Is there a way to prevent bloating during my menstrual cycle?

Yes, if you avoid salty and processed foods, drink plenty of water, and reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake, you may reduce the symptoms of bloating during your menstrual cycle. Regular exercise and stress management techniques like yoga or meditation can also help.

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