How to Get Rid of Gas and Bloating? (Guide)
Gas and abdominal bloating effect as many as 30% of people in this country on a regular basis. We're not just talking about your body's daily production of gas during digestion. We're talking about a chronic condition that causes nearly constant discomfort and can even interfere with daily activities.
Why I Just Had To Write This Article?
This is a real issue for a lot of people, and most of us who suffer from chronic gas and bloating suffer in silence, because we feel too ashamed to talk about it or to bring it up with our doctors. We feel that people are judging us, laughing at us and pointing fingers.
It's probably not really that bad, but you can't help but feel self-conscious about gas when all your life others have ridiculed anyone who let out a little peep.
So this article had to happen.
If you're suffering from gas and bloating on a regular basis, please know that there is help for you and that you don't need to just put up with it forever. In fact, delaying treatment may actually be very harmful, because there might be a serious medical condition at the root of the problem.
What Is Bloating?
Intestinal bloating is a condition where your stomach and intestinal tract become filled with excessive amounts of gas. Your stomach may actually appear to be noticeably distended. Bloating will often occur after eating meals or drinking beverages, but there can be many other triggers beside what you eat and drink.
Whether the cause of bloating is just some nasty food you picked up at the gas station or something more serious, it can cause problems in your life either way.
According to the University of North Carolina, School of Medicine, studies have found that people who complain of gas and intestinal bloating are more likely to take sick days from work and school, have more doctor visits and take more medications than those who do not.
So don't just treat this as some minor nuisance that will go away on its own. If it was really nothing and was going to just resolve itself, then wouldn't it have done so by now?
What Are The Symptoms Of Bloating?
You know you're bloated when you feel like your stomach feels full and uncomfortable. Other signs include a rumbling, bubbling and gurgling, sometimes accompanied by sharp gas pains in the abdomen and wrapping around toward your love handles.
And then there's the burping and flatulence! Don't we all love that?! Sometimes getting it out does help to relieve the discomfort a little bit, but that isn't always the case.
But then there are other times when you feel bloated and wish you could just curl up in a ball and blow it all out, yet nothing is happening. The gas is just trapped in there, and it seems that there's nothing you can do to squeeze it out. It's a frustrating experience that we all go through from time to time, and there are solutions!
But the first thing you need to do is figure out what's causing it.
What Causes Gas And Bloating In Your Stomach?
Sometimes the cause of gas is very simple: food. This might happen after a large meal or after eating certain foods known to cause a lot of gas. Beans and carbonated drinks are notorious for this.
But most other foods and beverages release gasses into your intestines as they are digested too. This is actually very normal and is just part of your body's natural digestion process. In a lot of cases, the cause of bloating isn't necessarily the foods you eat, but something else that is keeping those gasses locked up in your stomach and causing you discomfort.
Long-term or recurring episodes of bloating are most often caused by organic gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and aerophagia (excessive swallowing of air). These conditions are treatable, so don't be too embarrassed to seek medical help.
Are There Different Types Of Bloating?
Medically speaking, there aren't really different types of bloating. Gas is gas. But might be different causes behind your gassiness, and that's what you want to look at. Some causes of gas are fairly harmless: chimichangas might cause gas temporarily, but that's a risk worth taking.
But if you're feeling gassy after nearly every meal and even in between meals, then something else is going on, and there might be an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. Stomach ulcers, cirrhosis of the liver, congestive heart disease and acid reflux (GERD), for instance, can be extremely harmful and should be treated by a professional.
So don't just assume that all bloating is harmless. If home remedies and dietary changes fix the problem, then that's great. But if the condition persists for more than a couple days or is a regularly occurring problem, then check with your doctor to find out what's going on.
Don't let a little personal embarrassment keep you from seeking the medical treatment your body needs.
How To Get Rid Of Gas
Some of us have little behavioral quirks that can contribute to gas problems. I'm talking about something as simple as swallowing too much air when you eat, drink, smoke or breathe. Isn't that crazy? You think you're dying from some weird medical condition, when the problem is that you just suck down your lunch too fast!
That's a real thing, and you might be doing it without even realizing it. So slow down when you eat, drink and smoke and try to keep yourself from swallowing too much air as you do so. It can help.
But for many folks, the problem goes a lot deeper than innocuous little behaviors like this. For many chronic cases of gas, there may be totally legitimate medical issues that need to be addressed. Some of these can be treated naturally at home, while others will need professional treatment.
Natural Remedies For Gas
I mentioned it already, but some of you weren't listening. So let's briefly cover this again. The production of gas is a natural thing. There are good types of bacterial in your gut that munch on the foods you eat, and they produce the gas as a natural byproduct of digestion.
There are literally millions of microscopic critters in your body that eat your food and fart all day. Their farts become your farts, and it's a good thing.
It's just air, and holding it in all day is hurting you. So don't you dare continue to fight Mother Nature on this. You go and let it out, girl! Repeat after me: "It's just air. It's just air."
Okay, now that the silliness is behind us, what else can you do at home to help with your gas problems?
Gassy Foods To Avoid
Some of the foods that produce the most gas are also very healthy for us. Doesn't that suck? It's true, though. So it's probably still a good idea to eat some of these foods for their nutritional value, but the timing will be important.
Fibrous foods and fatty foods are some of the worst offenders, so if you're going to eat them, do so after work or after school so that you aren't farting all day around your coworkers and classmates. Skip the salad bar at lunch, or just have the soup – as long as it has no beans – and some fresh fruit. The pasta salad is probably safe too, but skip it if it has beans or a creamy, dairy-based sauce.
- Fried chicken
- Bacon & sausage
- Hash browns
- Brussel sprouts
- Very spicy chili peppers
- Chewing gum
- Hard candy
- Carbonated drinks & beer
- Dairy products
Herbal Teas That Fight Gas
Getting back to Mother Nature: herbal teas have been popular for centuries in traditional medicine around the world, and the reason is simple.
Our bodies are set up to thrive when we feed them a wide variety of healthy, organic foods, and our modern processed diets are causing health problems of nearly catastrophic proportions. So getting back to nature is one way to help your body get back into its natural rhythms and to get everything functioning optimally again.
These herbal concoctions have been used by millions of people around the world to help settle upset tummies and restore a little balance to their bodies. They worked for them, and they'll work for you too.
- Ginger root tea
- Honey & lemon tea
- Chamomile tea
- Peppermint tea
- Dandelion tea
Step-By-Step Method For Reducing Gas Naturally
One of my favorite herbal teas is a combination of ginger root, lemon juice and honey. It tastes amazing and is a perfect way to unwind mentally and settle down my stomach before bed.
Ginger is known to aid digestion and help avoid gas buildup. The acidity of lemons also helps to break foods down in the gut more efficiently and help them move through without lingering too long.
And nothing tastes better than hot tea with honey!
It's a simple, but delicious and healthy treat. Here's how I make it:
- Boil enough water for 1-2 cups of tea in a pot or small saucepan
- Add a 1-inch section of freshly peeled and grated ginger root
- Slice a wedge of fresh lemon, take out the seeds and squeeze that into the pot
- Add the lemon peel too, if it's organic
- Once it's boiling, turn off heat and leave covered for 10 minutes
- Add a teaspoon of honey in your teacup and add the tea mixture
Medical Treatments For Gas And Bloating
If you go to your doctor for help with your bloating problems, she'll probably start with the simplest solutions first before moving on to more complex treatments. That means she'll want to take a look at your diet and eating behaviors and try having you make changes there.
If changes to your diet don't help, then some tests may be done to see if there's something wrong with your GI tract.
Treatment options will vary widely, depending on the diagnosis. As mentioned above, there are all kinds of medical conditions that may contribute to bloating, such as IBS, GERD, celiac disease and lactose intolerance.
Below are some possible treatment options your doctor may recommend.
Major GI conditions like diverticulitis and GERD may require surgical treatments if other methods are not able to get the condition under control. I know that gas pains seem like a minor problem and many of you don't want to even bother your doctor with it, but don't discount what you're experiencing. There may be serious conditions causing your bloating, and you will need medical care to resolve those issue and keep them from deteriorating to the point where emergency surgery would be required.
I know some of you hate doctors and hospitals, and you'd rather google your symptoms instead of calling your physician. But I don't want you to end up with serious medical problems that could have been prevented or treated earlier, preventing a lot of unnecessary damage.
I'll get down off my soapbox now.
You get the message.
Drug treatments will vary depending on the underlying condition. For instance, an intestinal parasite infection like Giardiasis or certain types of stomach ulcers may by be treated with antibiotics.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) products have produced good results, such as Lactaid, BeanoTM, Gas-X and activated charcoal products like Charcocaps.
Probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are available as food supplements or pills and have also been shown to be helpful for many people's bloating problems.
And certain tricyclic antidepressants like Amytriptyline or Desipramine have caused significant improvement in reducing sensations of bloating in certain cases.
Don't look at me like that. I'm not saying that you're crazy. But there are plenty of documented cases where hypnosis, antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have helped people get rid of bloating.
Every day, your brain is bombarded with stimuli coming at you from the environment around you. There are literally billions of sights and flashes and colors and movements all around you right now. There are also immeasurable sounds all around you at this very moment. Fingers are tapping, car engines are revving, birds are chirping, sirens are wailing, cappuccinos are bubbling, and planes are soaring.
Can you imagine what would happen if your brain threw every little perception and sensation at you at once, non-stop, through every second of every day. You'd go insane! I'm not kidding.
To counter this, your brain filters out probably 99% of all these sights, sounds, smells, and sensations, and it only draws to your attention the ones that it deems to be important to you.
Well, the problem is that some folks are wired a little differently, and their brains let some of these signals get through. Some people – maybe you're one of them – notice every little feeling that's going on in their bodies. Every bubble, every gurgle, every swish and swoosh in their abdomen makes them wonder if something is wrong.
And that's why psychological treatments have actually been really helpful for a lot of people with getting rid of their bloating issues. If nothing else seems to be helping you, then maybe you should consider that your nervous system itself may be to blame.
Has This Helped You?
Okay, so there you have it. There's no way I could cover every single thing about gas and bloating in a single article, but I hope that you've found some good info that you can take away and work with to help you fight your own belly battles.
If you have any questions about the causes of gas and bloating or how to remedy them, please ask in the comment section below. And if you've had any particularly difficult or unique experiences that other readers may learn from, please feel free to share those too.