Are you looking for instant bloating relief? This is the article for you!
Our stomachs will change in size throughout the day with normal food intakes. But what if it’s a bit more than normal?
Bloating is something we have all experienced at some time in our lives, you are not alone! In fact 30% of the general population report experiencing bloating (1).
Table of Contents
What actually is bloating?
Bloating happens when there is a build-up of gas in our intestine. This causes a swelling of our tummy and can coincide with pain and discomfort.
The gas which causes bloating is produced as part of normal digestion and we normally ‘pass gas’ to get rid of it. But bloating can occur when there is too much gas being produced or when the gas can not escape.
Higher amounts of gas are produced with certain foods or larger portion sizes. Again, this is normal. But in digestive health conditions like IBS, you can often be bloated for no apparent reason.
Bloating in IBS
IBS bloating is slightly different to the bloating experienced by the general population. It happens more often and can be quite painful (2).
You may also have increased sensitivity to feeling as though you are bloated, even if it is just normal digestion going on (3).
5 reasons why you are experiencing bloating when you have IBS
1. Constipation – relieving this could provide instant bloating relief
Do you feel that your bloating improves when you open your bowels? You may even feel a lot lighter afterwards?! This is no coincidence, when you open your bowels you also release a lot of built up gas.
And, if your bowels are not opening regularly you will produce more gas. This is because the food has longer to ferment as it sits in your large bowel.
If you feel you are experiencing this, why not read more here on constipation and what you can do about it. By seeking treatment for your constipation, you may experience less bloating.
2. Inactivity – this is an area which could help with instant bloating relief
Regular exercise or movement is important for gut health in general. Physical movement can encourage the release of some of the gas which is causing the pesky bloating.
Simple activities like yoga or walking could make a real difference.
3. Changes in gut bacteria
You may have heard that probiotics are good for gut health, but what about bloating? You may have tried a probiotic before and noticed that your bloating seems to have gotten worse. Or perhaps you noticed that your bloating is worse after a course of antibiotics?
This is because it is our gut bacteria which produces the gas that causes the bloating. Having the correct balance of ‘good bacteria’ is critical to help manage bloating.
Read this blog to find out more about probiotics and which one can help you.
4. High FODMAP diet
Do you get upset that despite eating a healthy diet, you still get uncomfortable and painful bloating? It may be that your diet contains high amounts of FODMAPs.
A diet high in FODMAPs will lead to IBS bloating. This is because FODMAPs are broken down by gut bacteria in a process known as fermentation. Resulting in lots of gas build up and therefore IBS bloating.
To identify which FODMAPs are causing your bloating you need to do the low FODMAP process. You can read more about this process in our other article here. In this, you reduce FODMAPs for 4 weeks, before doing a structured reintroduction to pin-point the cause of your symptoms.
5. Food intolerance
Did you know that food intolerances are linked to IBS? (4). A food intolerance occurs when you are unable to digest a certain food, leading to a collection of symptoms, including bloating.
Having a food intolerance can be confusing and frustrating to figure out. Often, you may tolerate a small amount of the food but not much more. This makes it difficult to diagnose on your own.
The low FODMAP diet process does diagnose food intolerances and also finds out what your tolerance level is. This means that you are still able to enjoy a ‘safe amount’ of the food without IBS bloating.
Eventually, you can get to the point that you will be able to eat so many foods without symptoms. Just as long as they worked within your own tolerance level!
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can cause symptoms of bloating. This is a condition which is often mis-diagnosed as IBS.
You can read more about SIBO here.
Instant bloating relief
Now that we have gone through some possible causes for bloating when you have IBS, let’s talk about some ways that we can reduce the bloating.
Sadly, there is no guaranteed way of instantly reducing your bloating. However, here are some ideas for you to try that could help manage the situation;
- Go to the bathroom – relieving some gas or passing stools can help relieve some gas from our gut
- Wear loose rather than tight and fitted clothing – wearing tight clothing can aggravate your abdomen due to adding to the pressure
- Going for a gentle stroll after eating or doing some exercise – some form of movement can help our bowel to operate normally
- Come the low FODMAP process to pin-point your food intolerances.
Will fasting stop bloating?
Fasting is a form of eating pattern whereby food is not consumed for a prolonged period of time. Have you ever heard that fasting could help your bloating?
Think again. People may think that fasting will help to reduce their bloating by giving their digestive system a break. In reality, this is not the case. To get further information on fasting and bloating, you can read here to find out more.
5 proven ways to help bloating
As we have already touched on, probiotics can be great for our gut and this includes reducing bloating (5, 6). To find out more about probiotics and which one could help you, read here to find out more.
2. Moderate physical exercise – can provide instant bloating relief
This may be the last thing you want to do when you are bloated, however, physical activity can really help. You’ll be glad to know that even as little as a gentle walk can help release some gas from our gut. Physical activity can even distract us from feeling bloated.
Find out here why mixing up your routine to include exercise could help to reduce your bloating.
3.Review your fibre intake
The daily recommended amount of fibre for general health is 30g (9). But this does not take into account people who have IBS. It may be a good idea to try out different intakes of fibre per day and determine which helps to manage your bloating the best.
4.Reduce your sodium (salt) intake
Sodium is found in salty foods such as cured and smoked meats, canned foods and sauces. A link between a high sodium diet and bloating is suggested by the research. The link between sodium intake and bloating is due to the water retention that it causes and reduced gut motility (9).
5. Consider meal timing
If you do exercise, be sure to leave a long enough gap of time between your meal and workout. If not, it can risk the blood needing to be diverted away from your gut and much needed digestion.
You should also consider your meal patterns and portion sizes. Research suggests that smaller and more frequent meals can aid in reducing bloating (10).
Is there any homeopathic medicine for instant bloating relief?
Ever heard about activated charcoal? Although this is widely prescribed today for bloating it has limited evidence behind it.
There is also some concern that charcoal may absorb micronutrients and prevent us from absorbing them. You can read our full review here.
Can Peppermint Oil Give Instant Bloating Relief?
Peppermint oil has shown to have a case by case effect on individuals’ bloating severity.
If you are prone to acid reflux or heartburn, you may need to warrant caution when taking this supplement. Read more here to see if peppermint oil is safe for reducing bloating and IBS.
How do I tone a bloated stomach
Bloating does change the way our abdomen looks, and it can really affect our confidence and the way we feel.
Unfortunately, a toned stomach will not prevent bloating from happening. This is due to the nature of increased gas and distension in the intestine that causes the swelling.
If you’re regularly completing high intensity exercise, it is important to note that high intensity exercise is linked to increased bloating!
Summary – instant bloating relief
Bloating can happen to anyone for different reasons and it is important to note that each individual will have different ways of reducing their bloating. Usually, making some small changes can provide a solution.
Finding out the root cause as to why you’re bloated in the first place would be the best advice to get you on your way to feeling better.
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.