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Exploring the Causes of Stomach Bloating and Natural Remedies at Home

Exploring the Causes of Stomach Bloating and Natural Remedies at Home

Stomach bloating is a common problem, with as many as 25 percent of healthy individuals experiencing some form of stomach bloating. Whether your bloating is the result of overeating, indigestion, or an underlying health issue, getting to the bottom of your symptoms is essential to achieving relief. Thankfully, there are several at-home natural remedies that can help resolve stomach bloating. Let’s discuss the common reasons for bloating as well as some solutions to relieving that stubborn swelling feeling.

 

What is stomach bloating?

Stomach bloating happens when you your abdomen visibly swells up. This distension of the stomach can be accompanied by feelings of tightness, fullness, or pressure. Although these sensations may only cause slight discomfort for some, others may find them to be very painful. The duration of bloating can range from being short-term discomfort to being a long-term, recurrent issue.

 

What are the causes of stomach bloating?

There are a multitude of reasons as to why someone may experience stomach bloating. Bloating is commonly caused by a buildup of intestinal gas, which can be attributed to digestion issues, food intolerances, hormones, and more (1). Let’s explore some of these potential root causes in more detail.

 

Gas

One of the biggest culprits of stomach bloating is gas. Bacteria in our gut help us to digest food via a process known as fermentation. Fermentation produces gas, which can directly contribute to bloating.

Different conditions cause throw off the balance of gas in your digestive tract. For example, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) happens when the gut bacteria in our colon overflows into the small intestine, where we usually have much less bacteria. This imbalance of bacteria can lead to an excess of gas (1).

 

 

Digestion issues

Many of us experience issues related to our ability to digest foods and fluids. When these digestive contents don’t move through our GI tract properly, gas can’t flow as freely, causing buildup and bloating.

One example of this phenomenon is constipation. Constipation happens when your stool builds up in the colon and you’re not able to “go”. As a result, the bacteria in your stool ferments in the colon, causing gas and bloating (1).

 

Hormones

Hormones can be related to bloating, particularly for women. Women may experience different degrees of bloating throughout the month due to their menstrual cycle. Bloating is most common prior to and during someone’s menstrual period. This is because throughout one’s menstrual cycle, hormone levels fluctuate. The estrogen spikes prior to your period can cause increased water retention and gas, contributing to a swollen looking belly (1).

 

How can I avoid stomach bloating?

Thankfully, there are a few techniques to help you avoid that stubborn bloat. To avoid bloating in the first place, there’s a few things you can do, including:

  • Exercise. Exercise helps to keep everything moving, including your bowels. When your stomach contents move more freely through your GI tract, you lower your chances of bloating.
  • Eat low FODMAP. A low fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) diet can be helpful for those experiencing gas due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A low FODMAP diet eliminates ingredients that are fermentable and produce more gas such as dairy, wheat, and certain sugars, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Be a mindful eater. Overeating or eating too fast can most certainly cause bloating. Take some extra time to chew your food thoroughly and slow down the rate in which you eat. When you are full and satisfied, don’t eat anymore (1,2).

 

How can I treat stomach bloating at home?

If your stomach is already swelled up, there are a few natural remedies you can try at home to relieve your bloat, including:

  • Abdominal massage. You can actually give yourself an abdominal massage to manually force the gas out of your system, relieving cramping, tightness, and pressure (3).
  • Peppermint oil. Peppermint is a great ingredient when it comes to relaxing your intestinal muscles. If your gas and poop is backed up, peppermint can help to pass these contents through your GI tract (1).
  • Exercise. Moving your body can help get rid of that built up gas (1).
  • Herbal teas. Teas with ginger, peppermint, chamomile, fennel, or turmeric can be effective in relieving gas (4).

References

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/21740-bloated-stomach
  2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/bloating-causes-and-prevention-tips
  3. https://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/MBCP/AbdominalSelfmassage.pdf
  4. https://www.brighamandwomens.org/patients-and-families/meals-and-nutrition/bwh-nutrition-and-wellness-hub/special-topics/gas-beat-the-bloat

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