Natural Ways to Getting Rid of Gas & Bloating
For many of us, the problems of gas and bloating are a never ending battle. Abdominal bloating happens when there is a lot of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. This naturally gives you the feeling of fullness, with many of us experiencing an embarrassingly protruding tummy filled will gas. But it doesn’t end at that. All those swollenness also causes much pain and discomfort. Add to this frequent burping, stomach rumbling, and excessive flatulence. It not only affects your daily schedule as you feel lethargic and unable to concentrate at work, it always makes you feel sick. And though most of the times the main culprit is an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, there could be more serious underlying causes that can cause the condition repeatedly.
Causes of Gas and Bloating
Gas and bloating are caused mostly by what you eat and drink. Most people get gas by eating beans, onions, and broccoli but same culprits are also fruits, milk, and sodas. One common yet least acknowledged the cause of abdominal bloating is lactose intolerance. Lactose is found in dairy products. Consumption of lactose often causes abdominal cramps, swelling of the tummy and flatulence. Some 30 to 50 million Americans are estimated to suffer from some degree of this intolerance.
Sometimes, gas and bloating are also caused when you swallow a lot of air. Many of us have the tendency to swallow air when drinking and eating and they do this more than normal people would do. Such people often complain of too much bloating, burping and flatulence. In other circumstances, when you drink or eat too fast, we are swallowing air. Chewing gum, smoking and even wearing loose dentures can cause us to take air, all of which can cause gas and bloat.
Another less recognized cause is fructose intolerance. In a recent study presented at American College of Gastroenterology in Seattle, it was revealed that almost half of the population suffers from intestinal gas and bloating due to their intolerance to fructose. You encounter this common form of sugar in fruit juices and also quite often in aerated beverages.
Medical conditions can also cause one to suffer from gas and abdominal bloating. For example, those who already have Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory bowel disorders like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis tend to experience more of gas cramps and swollen tummy problems. Besides, heartburn, food allergies, hormonal fluctuations in women, giardiasis and other functional gastrointestinal disorders can cause symptoms of abdominal bloating and gas.
Weight gain can also be a cause of these conditions. In some cases, eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa can cause gas and bloat. Apart from these, mental health also plays a significant role in keeping your body healthy. If you are suffering from depression, stress, and anxiety, it is not unlikely that your gas and bloating problems are being caused by the unhealthy state of mind.
These apart, a condition where there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract or the lack of it, either can trigger issues of gas and bloat. Impaired gas transit, a condition in which the gas cannot escape out of the body and as a result accumulates, also is another reason for a bloated belly and discomfort. Constipation is yet another common cause of the condition. Malabsorption of certain foods, most commonly carbohydrate rich foods, can cause swelling of stomach and gas problems.
Symptoms of Gas and Bloating
The signs and symptoms of abdominal bloating and gas are quite obvious in most cases. One very common symptom is the voluntary or involuntary expulsion of gas from the body either as flatus or as belches. Abdominal cramps are common too. Many experiences sharp cramps or jabbing pains in their stomach, which shift locations and suddenly disappear. The abdomen is bloated meaning you feel tightness in your belly, and it seems to have ballooned. Many even complain of a knotted feeling in the stomach.
Home Remedies for Relief from Gas and Bloating
Flatulence and burping are the two ways excessive gas escapes the body. However, the slow expulsion of this gas can cause it to accumulate and cause abdominal distention and bloating of the tummy. Here are some time-tested home remedies which work wonders to give relief from gas and bloating problems –
Peppermint tea has come about as a welcome relief from gas and bloating problems. Peppermint contains menthol which works its magic in your digestive tract through its antispasmodic properties. It releases the stress from the nerves and soothes the smooth muscles lining of your stomach, relieving gas pain. Take a mug full of hot water and dip your peppermint tea bag in it. Cover the mug and let the leaves steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the tea and drink it to feel that instant relief from your bloated tummy. It is best drank warm and without any sugar. Also, it is preferred that you treat yourself this healing tea after dinner, before hitting the bed.
Give relief to your painfully swollen tummy by treating yourself to a healing dose of ginger tea. Whether you are suffering from heartburn, gas, stomachache or a combination of them all, let the goodness of ginger do its wonders to ease your discomfort. Ginger contains two key ingredients called gingerol and shagaol, both of which push off the gas built up in the intestinal track and eases the pain. Take a fresh gingerroot of about 2 inches and grate or slice it as you please. Take a mug full of water and boil it. Simmer the ginger in the boiling water for a good 10 minutes. If you wish, you can add a dash of lemon juice and a hint of honey to make the strained tea more palatable. Drink this tea just before or after a meal to help with your bloated tummy.
Coriander is a super spice with some health benefits, including those that help with gas and bloating. Use coriander to treat indigestion, which is most often the cause of a swollen tummy. Coriander seeds aid in digestion by cooling off the excess heat in the intestinal tract and the body and thus, it is also useful in treating heartburn. The seeds have carminative properties, meaning it can help you get relief from gas or it can prevent it. Take a cup full of fresh buttermilk and throw in a teaspoon of crushed coriander seeds. Add a pinch of rock salt if you can get your hands on it, stir the mixture and drink it at room temperature or cold for a refreshing stomach remedy.
Fennel seeds are incomparable in treating gas and bloating. Scientific studies have revealed that fennel seeds contain a volatile oil which offers some digestive benefits and aids in clearing out the trapped intestinal gas. The key ingredients in these seeds are estragole, anethole, and fenchone. These compounds have anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties which help to relax the contracted muscles in the intestine and dissipate the trapped gas. You can drink fennel tea or chew on this mouth freshening sweet seeds to treat your digestive problems of bloating and gas cramps. Only make sure you buy high-quality organic seeds for most effective results. Chew on a spoonful of fennel seeds after meals. However, steer clear of the candy coated fennel seeds which are sold as mouth fresheners. Sugar is often one of the main causes of flatulence. For a freshly brewed fennel seed tea, add the seeds to a cup and pour boiling water over them. Let the seeds infuse the water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drink this healing tea after your meal.
Often, gassy problems result due to the consumption of high fiber foods which are not digested easily. When these foods are not broken down entirely by the small intestine, they pass on to the large intestine which is filled with natural bacteria that feed on this undigested mass. This action fills the intestine with gasses and triggers a host of stomach issues right from a ballooned belly to excessive flatulence and stomach cramps. To treat this condition, eat pumpkin which is very good in reducing the formation of gas and bloating. To follow this simple remedy, treat yourself to a cup of cooked pumpkin with your meal. This will help you get rid of the accumulated gas. You can cook the pumpkin by steaming it, baking or boiling it. Alternately, you can also eat pumpkin soup or drink a glass of its juice to help with gas and bloating. You can do this on a regular basis to keep gassy situations at bay.
The carminative properties of anise make them an excellent remedy for killing abdominal discomforts caused by gas and bloating. Not only does it expel accumulated gas and relieves from excessive flatulence, but it also aids in digestion and eases stomach cramps. Steep a teaspoon of ground anise seeds in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink this tea before or after your meals.
The symptoms of gas and swollen tummy can be controlled and in some cases, may even be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. For example, gassy issues often take a backseat when an overweight person loses the extra kilos. In other cases, one can simply pay more attention to how one eats by trying to reduce swallowing more air. Avoid chewing gums, drinking aerated beverages and quit smoking. Drink enough water throughout the day to keep your system hydrated and toxin-free, both of which can prevent gas problems caused by indigestion or constipation. Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is recommended. When you are experiencing abdominal bloating, drinking more water can help in it.
Try limiting the intake of lentils, beans, and vegetables belonging to the cabbage family. If you are lactose intolerant, switch to lactose-free dairy products. Include foods with probiotics to improve your overall digestion to avoid problems of excessive burping, stomach cramps, flatulence and swollen belly. Kefir and Greek yogurt are two wonderful sources of probiotics. Probiotics help increase the healthy bacteria that inhabit the gut.
Also, it is wise to adopt a routine of walking for at least 10 minutes after a meal rather than lounging in a chair. This physical activity bursts the air pockets through the digestive tract snappier. This action can prevent bloating. Gas triggered by Irritable Bowel Syndrome can also be cured by this method of walking for 10 to 15 minutes. With this, it can also be added that regular exercise can also work as a powerful cure for your gassy issues. Regular movement of the body and its various parts, help dissipate the accumulated gas and prevents it further.
If you are suffering from gas and bloating on a regular basis, you can try treating yourself to healing abdominal massages. When done on a regular basis, this can help reduce bloating issues to a great extent. This is based on a study where 80 patients with ascites were treated to a 15-minute abdominal massage for three days. The results were positive showing overall well-being with reduced depression, anxiety and symptoms relating to abdominal bloating.
When to Call the Doctor?
While it is considered normal to pass gas around 10 to 20 times a day, it can vary from person to person and on a day to day basis. Then again, gassy issues can sometimes be confused with the symptoms of gallstones, appendicitis and heart diseases. Thus, it is critical to note the unusual symptoms and call the doctor right away. Prolonged abdominal pain can indicate a more serious condition. Take note of symptoms like change in stool frequency, its color and also if there is blood in the stool. Sudden weight loss, chest pain along with stomach cramps or gassiness, nausea and vomiting, are most likely signs of a more serious condition. Doctors often recommend the patients to maintain, and dairy of food stuffs that you suspect could be the possible culprits of your gas and stomach ache symptoms. A detailed review of your daily diet and the frequency of passing gas can lead the doctor to more accurate conclusions.