How to Deal with a Bloated Stomach

 Nothing gets as uncomfortable as a rumbling or a bloated tummy. Focusing on work becomes a problem and conducting basic activities seems like an uphill climb. Don’t forget the numerous trips you  make to the restroom. This can also be embarrassing when your colleagues are present. Every adult has, at least once, been in a situation where their tummy got problematic.

Causes of Bloating

Abdominal bloating occurs when gastrointestinal tract has excessive gas. When bloated, your abdomen feels swollen and hard. The feeling can be painful and the gurgles distressing.  Bloating is caused by fatigue, vomiting, consuming a lot of sugary foods, and infections. Other reasons are:

I). Constipation: This is one of the common reasons for bloating and happens when the stool remains within the intestines. It is caused by not taking enough water and eating food with less fiber. Not engaging in physical activities can cause constipation too.

II). Chewing Gum: Continuous chewing of gum for hours causes bloating because each time you open your mouth while chewing, you swallow air. Chewing gum also contain sugar which is known for causing gas.

III). Dehydration: Taking in salty foods with no water is a bad combination. Always take unlimited amounts of water on a daily basis. After a night out with a lot of alcohol consumption, stay hydrated to reduce bloating.

IV). Stress: When stressed, acid is overproduced and malabsorption occurs. High levels of stress and over thinking can cause bloating.

V). Hormonal Changes: Premenstrual syndrome sometimes results in digestive issues which may lead to fluid retention. Having a bloated tummy during your menses is not much of a concern and can be easily treated unless other symptoms show up.

VI). Food Allergies: People who are lactose intolerant are the common victims of this type of bloating. Avoid dairy products, bread, cereals and rolls, if every time you consume them gas builds up in your digestive system. Some people get bloated after consuming eggs or nuts.

VII). Poor Eating Habits: Eating at an abnormally fast speed causes you to swallow air, which eventually builds up in the stomach. Take your time when chewing and be in no rush when swallowing food. Immediately jumping into bed after taking dinner is another reason why food is not broken down. This hinders digestion and makes your tummy rigid in the morning.

VIII). Cancer: Though rare, bloating could be a sign that one is a colon cancer carrier. Talk to your doctor if you get bloated more often and have followed every remedy in the book, but still have doubts.

Alleviating Bloating

Seeing how bloating disrupts our day to day schedules, the following remedies have proved to help you  get rid of the excess gas in the stomach.

I). Drink Peppermint Tea: The Peppermint herb has menthol and menthone which ease digestive issues. Peppermint increases secretion of gastric juice and bile. This helps in removal of gas, thus, easing bloating. The antispasmodic properties found in peppermint reduce spasms found in the gastrointestinal tract and gallbladder. Take a cup of peppermint tea before you go to sleep to improve the bile flow and calm your nervous abdomen. Two teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves, added to a cup of hot water will do you good.

II). Consume More Potassium: Foods rich in potassium aid the kidney in getting rid of excess salt. Take fruits with a high content of potassium including bananas, avocados, grapefruits, dates, and apricots to maintain body fluid balance. Leafy greens and legumes are good sources of potassium and should feature more in your diet. It is important to avoid foods like dried beans and lentils as they have too much gas.

III). Drink Lots of Water: Hydrate every now and then. Our bodies require a lot of water to function. Squeeze in a little lemon in your glass of water if you want . Natural lemon juice is known to be a diuretic.

IV). Reduce Salt Intake: Use of unreasonable amounts of sodium lead to fluid retention. Sodium makes it difficult for the kidney to flush out body waste. This is one reason why you can get bloated. Taking more than 1500g of sodium per day is discouraged. Reduce your daily intake of foods like cheese, bread, veggie burgers and cookies as they have high amounts of salt.

V). Exercise: Always stay active and engage in physical exercises to lessen the bloating. Work out for at least an hour every day and don’t indulge in sugary sports drinks after exercising. Don’t over exercise though, as this will take your body to a stressful state. A stressed body due to too much working out will lead to the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. Excess levels of cortisol change the secretion of hormones and blood sugar levels. You want your digestion to occur as it should and reduce bloating. Overdoing physical exercises can cause the opposite.

VI). Avoid Stress: When your body is overwhelmed or nervous, proper digestion is disrupted. The vagus nerve connects the gut and the brain, passing communication between the two organs. The enteric nervous system communicates with your central nervous system. Your brain triggers the enteric nervous system to produce saliva, enzymes, and secretions that aid in digestion, and influence the hormones responsible for your appetite. Anxiety alters your brain and gut communication, leading your brain to redirect attention from proper digestion to conserve energy that will be used elsewhere. Avoid situations that make you anxious, as anxiety affects neurotransmitters which are vital in normal digestion.

VI). Turmeric: It has a fat-soluble oxidant called curcumin which gives turmeric its yellow-orange hue. Taking curcumin supplements reduce abdominal pain, bloating and the feeling that you’re full.  Other than taking the supplements, add the turmeric powder in your food like how you add spices. It is effective in reducing the pressure in your tummy and makes your food tasty.

In conclusion, reducing the rate at which we take carbonated drinks is a good start at managing  bloating. Extra sugar in food, snacking on onion flavored  food, and regular use of artificial sweeteners in drinks are among the habits we should quit. Honey is natural and has the same sweet taste that is found in  artificial sweeteners. Natural honey is a good substitute.  To help ourselves and our bodies, we should refrain from activities which lead to nonstop bloating. While remedies are there to ease the situation, constant abdominal pains and too much gas can eventually damage some parts of the alimentary canal.