Stomach Bloating & Remedies

Contrary to its name the stomach bloating or abdominal distension takes place in the small intestine and not in the stomach.

Bloating is any abnormal general swelling, or increase in diameter of the abdominal area.

The common symptom is the feeling full and a tight abdomen.

A tight abdomen may occasionally cause abdominal pain and is very distracting as well as embarrassing.

Bloating has a number of causes. The most common cause is accumulation of liquids and intestinal gas.

Ascites is the medical term for abdominal bloating caused by excessive accumulation of liquid.

Other Causes of Stomach Bloating

In addition to accumulation of liquids and intestinal gas, other common causes of stomach bloating are,

  • Irregular digestive process
  • Overeating (gastric distension)
  • Food intolerances such as lactose intolerance and fructose intolerance
  • Food allergy
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Aerophagia (air swallowing)
  • Alvarez' syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal infection or blockage
  • Gastric dumping syndrome or rapid gastric emptying
  • Ingestion of gas producing foods
  • Constipation
  • Splenic-flexure syndrome
  • Menstruation premenstrual stress syndrome
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Infestation with intestinal parasites such as worms such ascaris
  • Diverticulosis

    Eating quickly, gulping food and beverages, and other habits such as chewing gum and sucking on hard candy may also contribute to excessive air swallowing and bloating.

    Treatment of Stomach Bloating

    An initial strategy is to make sure you chew food carefully and avoid fatty foods. Fatty foods contribute to bloating by delaying emptying of the stomach.

    It is also important to try and eliminate foods that your body doesn’t tolerate such as lactose. Do so under the supervision of a health care practitioner. This will help you find out which food you may be sensitive to.

    Chewing gum allows a lot of air to be swallowed in the process and should therefore be avoided. Also avoid carbonated beverages.

    Foods, drinks and breath fresheners that contain sorbitol and added fructose should also be avoided. Fibre supplements and a high fibre diet can aggravate bloating symptoms. These should be discontinued if they are not very beneficial.

    Bloating is sometimes related to constipation, and treating the underlying condition may be helpful.

    Other Ways to Alleviate Stomach Bloating Fast

  • Gradually increase the amount of fibre rich foods you eat such as fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals and bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and beans.

  • Always drink up to eight glasses of water per day. A lack of fluid can cause or make constipation worse especially if you are eating lots of fibre.

  • Cut out sparkling water, carbonated drinks, fizzy drinks and take beverages with little or no calories, caffeine and sodium such as herbal tea. Fizzy drinks and most soft drinks increase bloating because the carbon dioxide trapped in the bubbles creates gas. The gas slows down stomach emptying.

  • Eat fresh and natural foods while avoiding fast foods and packaged foods. French fries for example can contain up to 265 milligrams of sodium. On the other hand, a baked potato has only 8 milligrams.

  • Avoid cured meats such as ham. Ham may have 1,009 milligrams of sodium for every three ounces. The same amount of roast pork has only 48 milligrams of sodium. Soups are also high in sodium.

  • It is vital that you exercise regularly. Exercises release hormones that encourage bowel activity.

  • If ordinary milk and dairy products cause bloating, you can drink lactose-free milk and add liquid lactase to your dairy products.

  • Taking PMS supplements alleviates the discomforts associated with menstruation.Women who take supplements containing the B-complex vitamins and also magnesium and calcium have fewer complaints about bloating.

  • Avoid too much coffee, tea and chocolate as they can overexcite the digestive tract leading to bloating.

  • Fat is hard to digest and may stimulate spasms and consequently stomach bloating.

  • Identify foods that make you bloated and either reduce portions of such foods or eliminate them altogether from your diet. Typical culprits include beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts, onions and garlic. However, these are good sources of fibre.

  • Try drinking fennel tea, chamomile or peppermint tea. These are good for the digestive system and can help to ease stomach bloating.

  • Bloating can signal several serious digestive diseases including irritable bowel syndrome. It is therefore important to seek a diagnosis and treatment if the recommendations made here are not helpful.

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