Abdominal Bloating
6 Case Studies
6 Member Stories

Abdominal bloating is a common condition affecting around 20% of the people. In this condition, your abdomen feels gaseous and full. This condition interferes with one's ability to participate in many recreational or social activities. You can even experience pain and discomfort during this condition.

What is belly or abdominal bloating?

All of us have gas. Yet, we are ashamed to mention it to health-care suppliers and friends in social dialogue. It affects 15-20 percent of adults who have digestive complaints of belching or flatulence. However, gas or bloating does not necessarily mean there's something wrong with digestion. To minimize gas and bloat, changing our diet and eating habits can be an excellent first step.

Passing Of Gas: The three most frequent means of expelling gas are burping, abdominal bloating, and flatus. Swallowed air, which might remain in the gut for some time, is discharged by belching. Bloating typically happens with air that's trapped in the colon or small bowel. Air passed through the colon is generally passed as flatus. According to the Mayo Clinic, people can pass gas up to 20 times a day. Even though having gas may be embarrassing or inconvenient, burping or passing gas are seldom a sign of a medical problem by themselves.

Intestinal gas consists of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane. The composition varies depending on the sort of intestinal gas. Gas is due to different factors, the most common of eating behaviors and the bacterial fermentation of certain foods.

See: Home remedies for gas & bloating pain

Causes of stomach bloating

Belly bloating causes:

There are various causes resulting in abdominal bloating (Mayo Clinic 2014). Some causes include 

Eating fatty foods, which can cause stomach discomfort

Drinking carbonated drinks

Swallowing air by sucking on straws, eating very fast or chewing gums

Smoking

Stress

Certain gastrointestinal or urinary tract infections can cause bloating.

Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome are other conditions that can lead to abdominal bloating.

Bacterial Fermentation

The colon is full of yeasts, bacteria, and parasites that break down the distinct kinds of carbohydrates and other foods not digested by the small intestine. The fermentation action contributes to gas generation, hydrogen and methane expelled as flatus. Lactose is among the most frequent sources of gas-causing carbohydrates, impacting people who are "lactose intolerant." This term simply means that they don't have the enzyme lactase needed to digest the carbohydrate. Typically, lactose can be found in milk products. Beans are the next most frequent carbohydrate implicated in gasoline production. The indigestible carbohydrate in legumes is raffinose that typically causes flatus.

See: Yoga Poses For Constipation, Gas & Bloating Relief

Abdmonial bloating symptoms

Abdominal or stomach bloating is sometimes accompanied by stomach pain, painful bowel movements, nausea, excessive flatulence, frequent belching, and burping and abdominal rumbling.

Sometimes, in extreme cases, you could notice bloody diarrhea, heartburn, weight loss, high fevers, and vomiting.


See: Homeopathic medicines for constipation, gas & bloating

Changing diet & lifestyle remedies

Bloating is a sensation one feels that makes the abdomen feel fuller than normal. The abdomen does not get physically larger until its quantity increases by one quart, so the bloated sensation may happen, but the abdomen isn't enlarged. Intestinal gas may give a feeling of bloating.

Eating habits and other lifestyle changes like chewing gum, gulping foods, and drinking eating may cause us to consume air. Bulky foods such as cabbage, lettuce, and dense bread increase swallowed air. Typically, swallowed air contains nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. It does not have a strong or foul odor, but it does contribute to the gas-related distress.  Keeping a food record to record gas incidences with foods eaten can shed light on whether food or behavior might aggravate the situation.


Lifestyle And Dietary Changes That Can Result in Bloating

Smoking or chewing tobacco

Using a straw or sports bottle

Overeating

Talking while eating

Eating when stressed

Drinking very hot or cold drinks

Chewing gum

Tight-fitting clothing

Long-term use of medicines for relief of cold symptoms


Dietary changes:

Carbonated beverages

Broccoli, cabbage, onions

Beans

Spicy, fatty or fried foods

Dried fruits

Low carb foods containing sorbitol, mannitol or maltitol

Apple or prune juice


Additional suggestions to reduce bloating include the following:

Sit upright during and after eating your meals

Eat slowly, and eat smaller, more frequent meals

Chew your meals well

Drink warm drinks or at room temperature

Have your dentures checked to get a good fit

Increase physical activity throughout daily

Take a stroll after eating

It's important not to completely omit foods in the diet that can lead to gas. A high-fiber diet is essential for bowel regularity and colon health, so it's well worth the patience it might take to gradually develop tolerance to these kinds of carbohydrates. Begin by adding the offending high-fiber food in smaller amounts, like a half cup or less. Ensure that fluid intake and activity levels are adequate, as they help move foods through the digestive tract.

See: Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for Abdominal Bloating

Natural remedies for gas & bloating

Natural Remedies For Gas & Bloating

Women are likely to be more prone to bloating than men. Abdominal bloating is one of the many physical and behavioral symptoms associated with PMS. Although bloating is normal, the feeling remains unpleasant. Simple home remedies can help to reduce bloating.

Many advertisements tout remedies or medications that reduce bloating and gas. Some have been proven to be of significance in clinical studies. Others haven't yet been proven scientifically but are anecdotally beneficial. Discuss with your doctor or health practitioner prior to trying anything.

Two products in the marketplace can assist with food-related bloating and gas. Both products are packaged forms of the enzymes necessary to break down the debatable carbohydrates. Lactase can be taken as Lactaid with dairy foods to help break down lactose and lessen gas. Beano helps digest the indigestible carbohydrate in legumes and other gas-producing vegetables.

Natural remedies for gas include:

Peppermint tea

Chamomile tea

Anise

Coriander

Fennel

Turmeric

Caraway

Over-the-counter gas treatments include:

Pepto-Bismol

Lactase enzyme (Lactaid or Dairy Ease)

Activated charcoal

Simethicone

Beano

When To Be Concerned

In most situations, occasional gas and abdominal distress don't require medical attention. Over the counter products and remedies with a self-assessment of eating behaviors can help remedy the problem. But you should seek medical care whenever there is an increase in frequency, location, or severity of the symptoms, or if they're accompanied by weight loss, nausea, nausea, or heartburn.

Eating food types: Certain food types have been shown to decrease bloating by flushing out excess water, aiding digestion, and reducing water retention. Some types of foods that can help with bloat include:

Fiber can help the bloating when poor digestion is the cause. Low fiber can lead to constipation, which is a contributor to bloating. Having too much fiber in the diet can have the opposite effect. Foods like avocados, pears, oatmeal, blackberries, broccoli, lentils can help.

Prebiotics & probiotics help to boost the good bacteria levels in your gut for digestive health. Foods such as asparagus, kimchi, dark chocolate, sauerkraut, kombucha, unpasteurized yogurt, bananas, onions, raw garlic can help.

Diuretic foods eliminate unwanted fluids by increasing urine production in the body. Foods such as celery, oats, ginger, cranberry juice, Lemons, apple cider vinegar, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon

Magnesium relieves bloating due to indigestion or constipation by neutralizing stomach acid and relaxing the muscles in the intestines' walls. Foods such as largely leafy greens, such as spinach and chard, but also banana, fig, dark chocolate, almonds, avocado, black beans, and pumpkin seeds

Water:  Get your recommended daily dose of 8 glasses a day. Drinking a glass of water half an hour before you eat helps to reduce bloating after your meal. Lemon in water helps to empty the stomach to aid digestion. Apple cider vinegar (1-2 tbsp) can also help with digestion.

Potassium enables the kidneys to help eliminate excess sodium, thereby reducing bloating. Foods such as spinach, salmon, acorn squash, banana, avocado, sweet potato, pomegranate, white beans can help.

Spicy foods reduce bloat by reducing inflammation in the digestive tract caused by toxins such as processed meats and grains, alcohol, and sugar. Foods such as broccoli, blueberries, pineapple, salmon, Green leafy vegetables, celery, beets, walnuts, chia seeds, coconut oil can help.

Drink Peppermint tea: Research shows that peppermint aids digestion and helps reduce bloating by soothing inflammation in the digestive tract.

Avoid the following for prevention:

- Processed carbohydrates. Foods with sugar, corn syrup, fructose, starch, instant oatmeal, and white grains spike insulin levels, making you retain more sodium, which makes you bloat.

- Carbonated beverages. The fizz can lead to gas to become trapped in your stomach, causing you to feel bloated.

- Chewing gum. Swallowing too much air contributes to bloating.

- Salty foods. Consuming a lot of salt gets tough on our kidneys. When the kidneys become overburdened and can not process all of the sodium, it causes us to retain water and appear bloated. Refined white table salt worsens this issue and further overburdens our system. Himalayan pink salt is preferable as it contains less sodium and contains the additional advantage of other trace minerals.

- Sugar-free foods. Artificial sweeteners include sugar alcohol, which may result in bloating.

Try following remedies to get relief

- Exercise to get rid of some extra fluid.

- Walking around can decrease fluid build-up in some regions.

- Drink more water to decrease water retention.

- Elevate legs when lying down. This action helps to increase circulation and remove water retention.

See: Celery Juice Benefits & Side Effects

Holistic remedies for gas & bloating

- Ayurvedic healing for gas & bloating

The vitiation of Samana Vata and weak digestive fire and tare the primary factors for bloating. The creation of biotoxins (Ama) is the next most frequent factor responsible for severe colic pain.

The ingestion of any Vata-aggravating foods can generate gas in the gut causing irreparable pain in the stomach. These foods include beans or fried foods, fermented foods, processed or frozen food together with fried foods, and dairy products. Improper food habits like eating too quickly, not following a proper daily or seasonal regime, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and the forcible suppression of natural urges such as urination or defecation can also contribute to bloating and gas.

Gas-producing vegetables have to be cooked with digestive spices, which can support the process of digestion and removal of the gasoline. A blend of cumin, coriander, and fennel helps for improved digestion. Turmeric, rock salt, and asafoetida are excellent in removing toxins and gas.

Ayurvedic herbs for bloating

- Black pepper (Marich) stimulates the digestive fire (Deepana), alleviates Vata (Vatahara), acts as a digestive stimulant, and promotes intestinal motility. It's useful in painful conditions (Shool), Vata-related ailments, and bloating.

- Ginger (Sunth) raises heat and aids digestion.

- Cumin (Jeeraka) ignites the digestive fire (Deepana), promotes digestion (Pachana), and is effective in cases of weak digestive fire (Agnimandhya).

- Jaggery (Gud) arouses the digestive fire (Agnideepana) and cleanses the stomach, urinary, and excretory systems. It's useful in flatulence and bloated stomach ailments.


- Acupuncture for gas & bloating

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be particularly useful for people suffering from excessive gas and bloating. Acupuncture can restore balance to the digestive tract, and when equilibrium is restored to the digestive tract, an individual will experience much less bloating and gas. Whenever someone has excessive gas and bloating, they want to know how to use nutrition, acupuncture, and herbs to restore equilibrium.

Knowing the perfect herbs to take when experiencing bloating and gas is a remarkably valuable tool for relief. For many, stomach Qi (energy) is weak. A weak stomach can't digest food properly, leading to bloating, distension, and lack of energy. Energy is reduced because a weak stomach doesn't break down food efficiently, and doesn't extract the energy from food. You're left with distress and fatigue.

For many others, bloating stems from stress. When we are relaxed, Qi flows smoothly through the body. Smooth Qi flow spells the proper organ function and excellent health. When we are stressed, Qi becomes stagnant. This ample energy can attach the gut, causing bloating, pain, and gas. Others have bloating from excessive or inadequate acid levels in the stomach. In either instance, improper acidity levels impair the stomach's ability to digest food properly, leading to bloating and pain. Acupuncture brings back the stomach into proper balance in three unique ways. It strengthens the stomach. Secondly, it boosts the body's ability to deal with stress. Third, it corrects the imbalance of acids so food can be digested properly.


Yoga asanas for gas & bloating

Certain yoga poses can allow you to release air. Yoga aids in comfort throughout the whole body. When you are relaxed, your bowels and intestines can enable you to pass gas. Eating certain foods may also help.

Listed below are a few poses that can target your body's areas, which can enable you to pass gas. It's your decision, but you will probably need to practice these poses, or asanas, privately. You might decide to hold these asanas for an extended time. Pay particular attention to how you breathe, and practice deep breathing. With each breath you inhale, allow your belly to expand. Draw your navel toward your spine with every exhale.

- Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana)

This pose can help you to relax your abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks.

Begin by holding this pose for 20 minutes. You may also do the pose with one leg in at a time.

- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

This pose enhances digestion and calms the body. You can deepen the stretch, then use a strap around the bottoms of your feet.

- Two-Knee Spinal Twist pose (Supta Matsyendrasana): This pose is believed to enhance digestion by massaging, stretching, and toning your inner organs.

- Child's pose (Balasana)

This asana helps to relax your lower back, hips, and legs. It's thought to massage your internal organs. To increase the abdomen's pressure, make tight fists with your hands. Put them on either side of your lower abdomen before bending forward.

See: Ayurvedic herbs for constipation relief

References

1. Mayo Clinic. 2014. Bloating, belching, and intestinal gas: How to avoid them. Accessed on 29th Nov 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gas-and-gas-pains/in-depth/gas-and-gas-pains/art-20044739

2. Seo AY, Kim N, Oh DH. 2013. Abdominal bloating: pathophysiology and treatment. J Neurogast Mot, 19(4), 433.

3. The Merck Manuals. 2013. Gas-related complaints. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. Accessed on 29th Nov 2015 from http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal_disorders/symptoms_of_gi_disorders/gas-related_complaints.html. 

4. Jiang X, Locke GR 3rd, Choung RS, Zinsmeister AR, Schleck CD, Talley NJ. Prevalence and risk factors for abdominal bloating and visible distention: a population-based study. Gut. 2008;57(6):756-763. DOI:10.1136/gut.2007.142810

See: Why Magnesium is important for your diet

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