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Bloating: How To Stop Feeling Like A “Balloon”

Read Time:4 Minute, 46 Second

Bloating is a very unpleasant problem caused by gas in the intestines. In addition to medicines, improvised means that act much softer can help get rid of it. Home remedies for intestinal gas include taking probiotics, exercising, using peppermint oil capsules, and heating.

Bloating is a nuisance

Intestinal gas occurs when partially digested foods ferment in the large intestine and form air bubbles that pass out as gas. Gas is a normal part of the functioning of the digestive system. In fact, most people pass gases about 14 times a day. But in some cases, too much gas can accumulate in the intestines, and this causes bloating or stomach cramps.

In most cases, gas will clear up without much treatment, but if you’re looking for a quick fix, there are a few home remedies you can try to help relieve your symptoms.

Cause of gas

Gas enters the digestive system in three main ways:

  1. Basic Digestion: Gas is formed when bacteria living in the large intestine break down certain foods. Carbohydrates, in particular, take longer to break down and can end up in the colon without being fully digested. These partially digested foods are found in the large intestine and undergo a fermentation process that produces air bubbles that are released as gas.
  2. Swallowing air: Gas can also enter the digestive tract when you swallow air while eating and drinking. You may swallow even more air than usual when chewing gum, drinking soda, or smoking.
  3. Food intolerances: Gas problems can occur if you suffer from some kind of food intolerance. According to Kyle Staller, MD, director of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Motility Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, lactose intolerance is the most common cause. “Part of the milk sugar is not completely absorbed by the intestines, so the bacteria are happy to use it to produce gases,” the physician explains.

In some cases, gas passes out of the intestinal system without problems, but if bloating or gas causes discomfort, you can try one of the following methods to alleviate the situation.

Take Probiotics

Probiotics help reduce gas and relieve stomach discomfort due to excess gas. Although not all probiotics are created equal.

“There are so many different types of probiotics that it can be difficult to determine the right product for a particular person,” says Staller. However, studies show that the Bifidobacterium strain of bacteria may be particularly useful in such cases.

In a small study published in 2020 in the journal Nutrients, researchers tested probiotics on 63 healthy people. For the first three days, the participants followed a high-fiber diet to induce gas. Then, for the next 28 days, they added half a cup of a probiotic dairy product containing Bifidobacterium animal is twice a day to their regular diet. They then returned to the same special high-fiber diet for three days until the end of the study.

Bloating.  Photo: Pixabay

The results showed that after four weeks of taking the probiotic supplement, the study participants experienced a much less severe reaction to the high-fiber diet, suffered less bloating, and were less likely to pass gas during the day.

Stellar agrees that for people looking to get rid of excess gas, probiotics containing Bifidobacterium are likely to be the most effective.

Do the exercises

Research shows that exercise can help reduce bloating. This is because during exercise, the intestines are stimulated to move gases through the digestive system more quickly.

The most simple and effective exercises to help get rid of gases:

  • lying on your back, move your legs, like on a bicycle, through the air;
  • short walk after eating.

Certain yoga poses can help get rid of gas and relieve symptoms.

Child Pose: Kneel on the floor with your big toes touching behind you and your knees shoulder-width apart. Sit on your heels and lean forward, letting your head drop. Extend your arms forward and place them on the floor.

Sitting Turn: Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Lift your left leg over your right knee and place your foot on the floor with your left knee pointing up. Gently turn your body to the left and hook your right elbow on the outside of your left knee. Repeat on the opposite side.

Bloating.  Photo: Pixabay

Try peppermint oil

There is evidence that peppermint oil can relieve symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and excess gas. This is because peppermint has antispasmodic properties – preventing involuntary contractions of colon muscles that can contribute to gastrointestinal upset. You can buy peppermint oil in capsules at the pharmacy and take one hour before meals.

Apply heat to the belly

There is evidence that using a heating pad can help with abdominal pain caused by intestinal gas. Researchers at University College London have found that placing a 40-degree Celsius heating pad on the abdomen can relieve pain for up to an hour. This is because when the body “turns on” the heat receptors, some of the pain receptors are deactivated, which works in a similar way to a pain reliever. However, this is only a theory, but for many of us, mothers and grandmothers in childhood offered a heating pad to relieve abdominal pain.

Although this study did not specifically assess the intensity of pain caused by bloating, Staller says that many of his patients with excess gas and bloating feel better when a heating pad is placed on the abdomen.

The uncomfortable symptoms of excess gas in the intestines can often be treated with home remedies. But if you regularly experience bloating or gas, you should see your doctor to discuss making dietary changes and to make sure your symptoms don’t have a more serious cause that requires hospital treatment.

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