(Woodpath is an education site focused exclusively on gut health. Our articles are researched by clinical nutritionists and contain citations at the end of the page.)
Abdominal bloating occurs when there is too much gas trapped in the gastrointestinal tract.
Bloating can be a signal of a more serious underlying issue. However, it can be dealt with effectively through several natural remedy options.
Some of these symptoms include supplements. We make specific supplement recommendations at the bottom of this page. But first let’s understand the science behind bloating, to help you decide which treatment option is right for you.
Abdominal bloating can cause the stomach to become distended because of trapped air or gas in the digestive tract.
Bloating can also make a person look as though they are pregnant or fat because of how round their stomach become. If you are feeling bloated, associated symptoms can include:
- Feeling full
- Heartburn and reflux
- Pain in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
Sometimes symptoms can indicate a more serious issue. (Seo et al., 2013)
If you have any of the following symptoms — in addition to bloating — contact a medical professional.
- Itchy throat
- Blood in urine or stool
- Weight loss
- Trouble making a bowel movement
- Swollen, painful lymph nodes
There are many reasons why you can get excess gas. It's important to keep a journal that lists what you eat and how you’re feeling when bloating occurs. This will provide a better indication as to what the culprit is.
Bloating can be a sign that there is an issue with your digestive system. However, several factors can negatively impact your gut health, your body’s ability to digest food properly, and the body’s ability to rid itself of waste (Lacy et al., 2011)
Two factors are gut dysbiosis and an inability for the body to digest protein, sugar, and carbohydrates.
Other factors that could play a part in abdominal bloating include:
- How much sleep you get, and
- How much stress you’re under.
Several other factors that could cause abdominal bloating are:
- Fluid Retention
- Food allergies
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Bowel obstruction
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Eating or drinking too fast and swallowing air
- Medical issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease
- Eating disorders
- Mental health disorders including anxiety and depression
- Candida overgrowth
- Visceral hypersensitivity
- Nutritional deficiencies and malabsorption
- Poor gut motility
- Histamine intolerance
Foods to Minimize or Avoid
Several types of food are best to avoid because they can contribute to excess gas and bloating. This is especially true if there are underlying food sensitivities or SIBO. Foods to avoid when trying to get rid of or prevent abdominal bloating include:
Sugar — Sugar tends to ferment in the gut and can cause candida overgrowth.
Dairy — Many dairy products can contain artificial ingredients, sugar, growth-hormones, and antibiotics. Dairy also contains lactose — a sugar that can be poorly digested.
Gluten — Anything containing gluten can be difficult for many people to digest.
FODMAP carbohydrates — These have been linked to gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, as well as constipation.
Examples of FODMAPs are:
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Specific grains
Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Alcohols — These can be very hard for the body to digest and include:
Foods to Eat
Some foods can be great for reducing or preventing bloating. Foods to trial in small amounts to improve bloating symptoms and gut health are:
An overgrowth of bad bacteria — or not enough good bacteria — can trigger various gastrointestinal issues. Probiotics help to bring balance back to the gut and alleviate symptoms. Foods high in probiotics are:
Raw dairy contains essential enzymes needed for digestion. This is why people with dairy intolerance can often tolerate raw dairy. As a bonus, raw dairy also doesn’t include all of the artificial ingredients that may impair gut health.
Leafy green vegetables
These vegetables are high in electrolytes and water that can relieve abdominal bloating.
Many teas contain herbs that are great for digestion and soothing the stomach.
- Ginger tea
- Dandelion tea
- Fennel tea
- Peppermint tea
Other than consuming foods that boost gut health and alleviate bloating symptoms, other natural remedies and lifestyle changes help address bloating symptoms, as well. Try implementing the following in your daily routine:
- Avoid doing things that cause you to swallow too much air such, as chewing gum and drinking through straws
- Limit the consumption of fizzy drinks. These can cause excess gas in the stomach.
- Take digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes aid the body in digesting a variety of foods that may otherwise be difficult to break down. Without enzymes, eating foods containing sugar, protein, and carbohydrates could cause stomach upset, abdominal pain, as well as bloating. This is especially true for people with food sensitivities. (Roxas, 2008)
- Take a high-quality probiotic. Probiotics help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, which is needed to prevent issues such as gas and bloating. (Hungin et al., 2018)
- Try using a heating pad. Heat can help with abdominal pain caused by bloating
- Drink more water to avoid dehydration. Dehydration causes bowel impaction and gas to become trapped. (Manz & Wentz, 2005)
- Exercise to help improve circulation and move gas along
- Reduce stress as much as possible. It can negatively impact gut health, resulting in bloating and abdominal pain. (Pellissier & Bonaz, 2017)
- Go on a low-FODMAP diet. This can improve symptoms of IBS, including bloating. (Altobelli et al., 2017). If the low FODMAP diet doesn’t help, then another diet such as the Specific SIBO diet or Fast Tract may be better suited.
- Increase daily fiber intake. Eating fiber helps prevent gas and bloating. (Dahl & Stewart, 2015)
- Take peppermint oil capsules. They relax intestinal muscles, which helps gas pass along. It also helps with IBS symptoms. (Cash et al., 2016)
If you and your healthcare practitioner decide supplements are right for you, we recommend:
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