- To get rid of bloating, try walking, drinking a glass of water, and chewing slowly.
- If bloated, eat foods like eggs, nuts, and fish and avoid foods like asparagus, onions, and garlic.
- Common causes of bloating include food allergies, PMS, and constipation.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.
Affecting 15% to 30% of the US population, bloating often feels like a swelling or tightness in your abdomen and can cause your stomach to bulge. It’s often uncomfortable but doesn’t always signal a cause for concern.
You can’t always prevent bloating but there are ways to reduce bloating, gas, and stomach pain — here are five.
1. Avoid certain foods
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This is especially true for people with IBS who may be able to effectively manage their symptoms by avoiding foods with FODMAPs, says Divya Mallam, MD, a gastroenterologist at Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
Important: If you think IBS is triggering your bloating, see a gastroenterologist, who may suggest a low FODMAP diet. Be sure to seek supervision from a registered dietitian before attempting a low FODMAP diet.
Foods high in FODMAPs include:
- Brussel sprouts
Important: Some drinks can also contribute to bloating, such as carbonated beverages, like soda and sparkling water. The bubbles in carbonated beverages can expand in your stomach and cause symptoms of bloating.
2. Choose bloat-reducing foods
Eating low FODMAP foods can also help reduce bloating if your symptoms are related to IBS. Studies have shown a low FODMAP diet to be effective in temporarily reducing symptoms of IBS, like bloating. But more research is needed to determine how much the diet can help long-term.
Foods low in FODMAPs that can reduce IBS-related bloating include:
While a low FODMAP diet may help, you should discuss any diet changes with your doctor or a registered dietitian, Mallam says. Depending on the underlying cause of your bloating, you may need a more tailored diet.
3. Slow down when eating
Bloating happens when your gastrointestinal tract becomes full of air or gas. If you eat quickly, you are more likely to take in more air, which can result in bloating, says Hardeep Singh, MD, a gastroenterologist with the Providence St. Joseph Hospital
Here are some tips for slowing down when eating:
- Drink water between bites.
- Chew food for 10 to 15 seconds before swallowing.
- Eat small snacks if you’re going a long time between meals as it’s harder to eat slowly when very hungry.
- Put utensils down between bites.
General advice: Drinking out of a straw and chewing gum can also cause you to take in excess air, Singh says. If bloating is a regular problem for you, try avoiding straws and chewing gum.
Exercise can reduce bloating because it facilitates contractions of the intestines which pushes along food and waste, says Rushabh Modi, MD, a gastroenterologist, and hepatologist specialist with Keck Medicine of USC.
You don’t necessarily need to put yourself through a strenuous workout to ease bloating. Studies show that mild physical activity, like walking, can reduce symptoms of bloating.
Other forms of exercise that can reduce bloating include:
5. Drink water
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If your abdomen feels swollen and tight, you may not want to eat or drink anything else, but sipping on water can help ease your symptoms.
That’s because foods high in sodium can cause bloating, and drinking water helps flush excess sodium from your system. Men should drink about 3.7 liters of water a day and women should drink 2.7 liters.
What causes bloating?
What you eat is likely to be the biggest cause of bloating says Singh. Other causes of bloating include:
- Food intolerances like lactose intolerance or celiac disease
- Eating too fast, which can cause you to swallow air
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) due to hormonal changes
- Gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying
- Gallbladder disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that affects the large intestine
- Certain types of cancer, like stomach, intestinal, or ovarian cancer.
Bloating is an uncomfortable feeling of tightness in your abdomen that can have many causes including eating too quickly or an underlying medical condition.
Avoiding foods that cause bloating, if medically advised and properly supervised, and exercising regularly can help prevent or reduce symptoms.
Bloating is a common occurrence and is usually short-lived, but if your bloating is persistent or is accompanied by bleeding, a fever, or vomiting, seek medical attention.
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