Bloating caused by gas leaves you feeling stuffed, fat, and blah! It is an uncomfortable topic to talk about, but almost everyone experiences gas and bloating at some point. According to the American Medical Association the average person produces between 1 and 4 pints of gas each day and passes gas about 14 times. That’s almost hard to believe, but it underscores the fact that gas and bloating is a very common problem.
We’ll explore some natural ways to deal with bloating, but before you can beat the bloat you have to figure out what is causing your gas and bloating. Knowing the cause will shortcut your way to your remedy for bloating.
Causes of gas and bloating
Everyone occasionally gets bloated. One cause of bloating is poor eating habits. This includes consuming too much sodium, or salt, which makes you retain water causing bloating. The gas in sodas is a common cause of gas bloating that is quite common. Swallowing gulps of food, instead of chewing food thoroughly can also cause you to swallow gas.
Other things that lead to gas bloating include swallowing too much air when drinking, chewing gum, smoking, or wearing loose dentures.
Occasionally food allergies are the cause of bloating. More often it is the presence of large amounts of fiber in your diet that causes gas. The American Medical Association says that any food containing carbohydrates may cause gas. You may have to play with your diet, eliminating one thing at a time to determine what it is that gives you gas and help you find relief.
If you are accustomed to using artificial sweeteners, especially sorbitol and manitol, found in artificial sweeteners you may find you are likely to bloat and even suffer stomach cramps after consuming sugar free foods.
The best way to cut down on gas and bloating – diet
The best thing you can do to reduce bloating and discomfort caused by gas is to monitor your diet more closely. It is not practical to cut out all fiber and carbohydrate containing foods, but you can pay careful attention to chew your food carefully.
Eat more slowly and do not swallow in gulps. The same is true when you are drinking. Drinking from a straw increases considerably the amount of air consumed. If you are not using a straw try sipping your drink and not gulping it.
Is lactose intolerance causing gas and bloating?
Some people may find it necessary to cut out dairy products to cut down on gas and bloating. If dairy is a major culprit in gastrointestinal discomfort you may need to explore the idea of lactose intolerance.
Lactase is an enzyme available over-the-counter that helps people with lactose intolerance digest foods containing lactose.
When gas and bloating causes discomfort.
When bloating caused by gas causes discomfort in your intestines there are a few things you can do to ease your pain and help relieve gas.
One of the easiest things to do is to take an over-the-counter gas medication. Antacids may help, but they work by causing gas pockets to conglomerate enabling you to pass the gas in one big belch. Antacids do little to help gas that is already in the intestinal track.
There are over-the-counter anti-gas products that help reduce gas in the stomach and intestines.
Natural relief for discomfort in the intestines.
Sometimes the production of gas is inevitable. Some people naturally produce more gas than others. If gas is causing discomfort and bloating you may be able to use one of the following natural remedies to ease your discomfort.
Many people find peppermint, ginger, and rosemary soothing for gastrointestinal discomfort.
Sometimes a cleansing wash of water with lemon will help relieve gas pressure, pain, and bloating. I’m not advocating anything like the Master Cleanse Diet for long term use or weight loss, but a little water and lemon can be extremely helpful as a cleansing agent.
Monitor your consumption of high fiber foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and beans. These are important to your diet, so they should not be eliminated, but you should pay careful attention and chew these foods carefully.
Use of probiotics to relieve gas and bloating.
If you feel you have excess gas because of excessive buildup of bacteria in your intestines try one of the new products which contain probiotics, like Activia. Probiotics are good bacteria that help control the population of bad bacteria in the intestine. Gas odor is often caused by the digestion of substances by bacteria in the intestines. They give off gas as they consume the undigested food in the large intestine.
When all else fails, let that gas pass. Passing gas is natural and it will help relieve pressure and bloating.
*This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Consult a physician for a diagnoses for excessive gas and bloating.
Bloating, belching, and intestinal gas: How to avoid them, mayoclinic
Gas and Bloating, American Medical Association Complete Guide to Prevention and Wellness, 2008.
Gas, Bloating, and Burping, Webmd.com
Information on Intestinal Gas (Belching, Bloating, Flatulence), medicinenet.com