How to Get Rid of Bloating?

Medically reviewed by Mary Ahern MS, RDN, RYT April 18, 2024| Written by Shahid Bashir

How to Get Rid of Bloating?

Bloating is a digestive condition when you feel tightness, fullness, and discomfort in your stomach. Often, this is due to the overproduction or trapping of gas inside the digestive tract.

This overproduction of gas in the stomach may be caused by overeating, food intolerance, constipation,irritable bowel syndrome, or hormonal changes. The gas traps inside the digestive tract and makes your abdomen feel tight and swell.

Bloating resulting from overconsumption of food or food intolerance usually goes away by itself. But other causes such as constipation may require diet and lifestyle modifications to eliminate bloating. In some cases, over-the-counter medications or prescription treatments may be recommended to alleviate symptoms.

On average, bloating affects18% of the world's population and1 in 7 American adults every week. The rate is evenhigher for pregnant females in their first trimester. 

How Does Bloating Feel?

Bloating feels like tightness in the abdomen, which can cause stomach pain. You may feel that your abdomen is stretched and extended beyond normal. Bloating makes your abdomen feel heavy and full as if it is filled with air or liquid. 

You can also feel abdominal cramps and growling sounds from the stomach. Additionally, you may experience increased flatulence or farting more than usual. 

The duration and frequency of these signs vary depending on the cause of bloating. 

What are the 5 Signs of Bloating?

The signs and symptoms of bloating depend on the severity of the condition and the cause. However, the 5 primary signs that indicate bloating are:

  • Abdominal Swelling: In bloating, the trapped gas in the digestive tract puts pressure on the walls of the digestive tract. This leads to tightness and swelling in the abdominal area. The swelling is visible in most cases, but you can also observe it by gently pressing the abdomen. 
  • Abdominal Pain:Pressure of trapped gas in the digestive tract can cause mild to moderate pain in the abdomen. The pain is primarily due to overstretching of the digestive and abdomen muscles. 
  • Feeling Satiated:Feeling satiated or full, even when you don’t eat sufficiently, is a common sign of bloating. This is because digestive mobility fails to function appropriately when there is excess gas in the digestive tract.
  • Frequent Belching:Bleching is a normal physiological phenomenon in which the body pushes the excess air in the upper digestive tract out from the mouth. In bloating, frequent belching occurs due to the overproduction of gas inside the digestive tract. 
  • Changes in Bowel Patterns: As bloating alters the normal functioning of the digestive tract, it can lead to disturbance in bowel movement patterns. Diarrhea and constipation are the two possible signs of bloating.

What Causes a Bloated Stomach?

A bloated stomach can result from several factors. It is essential to understand the potential factors that can cause bloating so that you can prevent the cause and design an appropriate management plan. 

Some of the major factors that can contribute to bloating are:

1. Excessive Carbs Intake and Gut Microbes

In the large intestine, gut microbiota are responsible for fermentation. In fermentation, carbohydrates break down by the action of microbiota - which releases gas as a byproduct.

Normally, carbohydrate digestion occurs in the small intestine. Little to no carbohydrates pass from the small intestine without breakdown. But even if carbohydrates enter the large intestine, they are soon released with stool. This prevents the gut microbiota from fermenting excess carbohydrates and producing gas.

However, excessive carbs intake can affect the normal digestion of carbs in the small intestine. The small intestine can fail to break down all the carbs efficiently, transferring undigested carbs into the large intestine. If the body fails to release these carbs efficiently in stool, microbes ferment the available carbs with the gas release, causing bloating.

2. Constipation

In constipation, bowel movement frequency reduces as it becomes hard to pass the stool. Since the stool stays in the colon for a longer duration; this allows gut bacteria to ferment the available carbohydrates. 

Eventually, this excess fermentation in the gut causes the overproduction of gas. 

This, combined with the difficulty passing stool during constipation, causes the gas to stay in the digestive tract. This trapped gas then makes yourabdomen feel tight and swell - resulting in bloating. 

As bloating is a direct side effect of constipation, the factors causing constipation are also the risk factors for bloating. These include a low-fiber diet, dehydration, and physical inactivity.

3. Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is the inability of the digestive system to break down specific food ingredients. This happens due to the lack of certain digestive enzymes.

Lactose intolerance is the most common food intolerance that can cause bloating. Lactose is a carbohydrate in dairy products like milk, cream, and cheese. In the small intestine, the lactase enzyme is responsible for the breakdown of lactose.

However, if thelactase enzyme is missing or deficient in your body, this causes the lactose to reach the large intestine without complete digestion. 

Here, gut microbiota acts on the lactose sugar and ferments it with gas production. 

Reports show that, on average,68% of the world population fails to absorb lactose properly. The rate of lactose intolerance is36% in America.

Fructose and certain carbohydrates calledFODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) can also ferment in the gut, causing bloating. A low FODMAP diet is a common diet given by dietitians to patients with chronic bloating and other GI discomforts. 

4. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Gut microbiota plays an essential role in digestion by breaking down certain food compounds and producing valuable byproducts. They are mostly present in the large intestine, with only a limited number of microbes in the small intestine.

If the bacteria transfer from the large intestine to the small intestine and colonize there, it causes SIBO. These bacteria can ferment carbohydrates in the small intestine and produce gas. The overproduction of gas from excessive fermentation in the small intestine causes bloating. 

Gastric secretion and intestinal motilityprevent the transfer of bacteria from the large intestine to the small intestine. When this preventive mechanism fails, the risk of SIBO increases.

Irritable bowel syndrome, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, and abnormal gastrointestinal motility can also cause SIBO. The increased risk of SIBO translates to an increased risk of bloating. 

5. Hormonal Changes

The association between hormonal changes and complaints of bloating is common in females. The link is prevalent during the menstrual cycle and beforemenopause.

Estrogen is a sex hormone in females that rises during the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle. Increased levels of estrogen areresponsible for water retention and bloating from fluids.

Progesterone levels rise after the ovulation phase during the menstrual cycle. High levels of progesterone have aninhibitory effect on gastrointestinal motility and can cause constipation. The constipation can further lead to the symptoms of bloating.

How Can I Reduce Bloating at Home?

Bloating is not a severe medical condition and does not usually require medical management. Depending on the cause, bloating can go away by itself in a few hours. 

However, if the pain and discomfort are increasing, there are certain ways you can reduce bloating at home:

1. Physical Activity

Physical activitypromotes bowel movement and improves overall gastrointestinal motility. Walking, jogging, or yoga helps to relieve the symptoms of constipation. Thus, physical activity is especially effective against bloating caused by constipation.  

Scientific evidence also states that physical activity is effective in treating abdominal bloating. It’s because this helps to expel the stool and gas from the body, relieving the pain and discomfort. 

SomeYoga techniques to reduce bloating are:

  • Cat-Cow
  • Knee hugged to the chest
  • Torso twist
  • Extended triangle pose
  • Extended puppy pose

2. Increase Water Intake

Water helps the release of waste products from the digestive tract. It softens the stool and makes the bowel movement normal and less straining. This is effective when your stomach is bloated due to constipation.

Increased water intake also helps reduce bloating caused by water retention. Firstly, when the body receives sufficient water, it releases the retained water. Secondly, increased water intake also flushes out the excess sodium, which can otherwise causewater retention and therefore, bloating. 

3. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil contains ingredients that act on the muscles in the digestive tract. Itcauses the muscles to relax and facilitates the flow of contents inside the tract. This flow helps to expel the trapped gas. 

Irritable bowel syndrome can result in bloating.Research shows that peppermint oil is safe and effective in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. It reduces the pain and overall symptoms of the infection.

See also:What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

You can get peppermint oil in capsules from any pharmaceutical store. 

4. Abdominal Massage

Massage over the abdomen in a certain pattern canhelp to move the stool inside the colon. 

Start by placing your hands on your right hip bone. Then, move them gently in circles up to your right rib cage. After that, slide them straight across your upper belly to your left rib cage. Finally, lower your hands to your left hip bone, forming a big circle over your tummy.

Repeat the process multiple times and always in a clockwise motion until you feel relieved.


If you fail to get rid of bloating by using home remedies, it’s crucial to determine the root cause of your condition. Persistent bloating is often due to other conditions, such asirritable bowel syndrome or bacterial overgrowth. Treatment of these conditions can also treat the symptoms of bloating.

You can take over-the-counter antacids as a treatment option for bloating. Some common antacids for bloating are Gas-X, Maalox Anti-Gas, Flatulex Drops, and Mylanta Gas. 

Lactase supplements are an effective treatment against bloating from lactose intolerance.

Can Lifestyle & Diet Changes Prevent Bloating?

Modifications in lifestyle and diet can prevent bloating by lowering its risk factors. Here are some important lifestyle and diet changes:

1. Lifestyle Changes 

Lifestyle changes to prevent bloating mainly include eating habits. You can try to consume your meal in smaller portions instead of eating a lot at once. This will lower the burden on the digestive system and enable it to work efficiently. 

Eating too fast can also cause more air to enter the digestive tract and cause the symptoms of bloating. Make a proper schedule for eating time and eat slowly. 

Prevent taking late-night meals as digestion is slow at that time. It can cause food to stay in the digestive tract for a long time, making it easy for the gut microbiota to ferment. Always have your dinner a few hours before sleep so that digestion occurs efficiently.

An important lifestyle change is integrating exercise into your daily routine. Daily exercise promotes regular bowel movements and helps prevent bloating from constipation.

2. Diet Changes

Making the right choices for diet can significantly prevent bloating. When planning the diet, it is important to avoid food items that can cause bloating.

If you are lactose intolerant, you should limit or stop consuming food items with lactose such as milk, cheese, and cream. Different foods have different amounts of lactose in them and our responses to these foods can be highly individualized. Make note of the lactose foods that cause bloating as it may be different for you than others. Also, try lowering the consumption of certain foods by following a lowFODMAP diet plan. 

Add fiber to your diet to prevent constipation. Preventing constipation reduces the risk of bloating significantly. Fiber also has prebiotic properties that are helpful for good gut microbiota. 

See also:21 Easy Ways to Get More Fiber in Your Diet

Apart from fiber-rich foods, you can also fulfill your daily fiber needs through afiber powder supplement

What Foods to Avoid to Get Rid of Bloating?

If you are experiencing bloating, it is critical to think about what you choose to eat. Some food items can help you get rid of bloating, while others can worsen the symptoms. 

Here is a list of foods that you must avoid to get rid of bloating:

1. Dairy Products

There is no denying that dairy products are an excellent source of nutrients and are healthy for the human body. 

However, dairy products are also high in lactose andlactose intolerance is common in the population. When your digestive system fails to break down lactose, it is a fermentation fuel for the gut microbiota. 

This fermentation releases gas and intensifies the already present symptoms of bloating.

2. Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated drinks contain carbon dioxide gas - which can get trapped in your gut and cause bloating. So, sometimes a good idea is to choose simple water over carbonated drinks. 

Water not only fulfills the fluid requirements of the body but is also effective in improving digestion and excretion of wastes.

3. Wheat

Wheat can worsen bloating as it contains gluten and high concentrations ofFODMAPs.

If you are sensitive to gluten it can cause digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. 

Foods that are high in FODMAPs are an easy target for the microbiota to ferment. Fermentation releases gas and makes the symptoms of bloating severe. 

4. Salty Foods

Consuming too much salty foods can elevate the sodium levels in the body - which causes water retention and therefore, bloating from this fluid.Scientific studies also validate that consuming increased dietary sodium is associated with the incidence of bloating.

5. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners contain ingredients such as sorbitol, which arehard to digest. They also contain fructose and FODMAPs that can reach the large intestine without digestion. 

In the large intestine, gut microbiota ferments these ingredients leading toan overproduction of gas.

What Foods Reduce Bloating?

Foods that can help you reduce bloating are:

1. Fiber-rich Foods

Fiber helps to relieve constipation and promotes regular bowel movements. A fiber diet is essential when constipation is the underlying cause of bloating.

However, it is important to be careful when planning fiber diets while suffering from bloating. It is because the overconsumption of fiber can cause abdominal gas and bloating. When trying to increase the amount of fiber you eat, while also preventing bloating, make sure to slowly increase your fiber intake. 

Experts recommend consuming 25 grams of fiber for adult women and 38 grams for adult men daily. Whole fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber but you can also achieve the recommended count by consumingpowdered fiber.

2. Potassium-rich Diet

Foods with potassium help reduce bloating by balancing the sodium levels in the body. Elevated sodium levels retain the water in the digestive tract, causing the symptoms of bloating.Bananas, oranges, and avocados are good sources of potassium.

3. Probiotic Foods

Probiotic foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, contain beneficial bacteria that can help promote a healthy balance of gut microbiota. The balanced gut microbiota helps in digestion and reduces bloating.

The beneficial gut microbiota helps break down food more efficiently. It reduces the fermentation of undigested food particles in the gut that can lead to gas and bloating.

4. Herbal Tea

Herbal teascontribute to efficient digestion by promoting gastric motility. The ingredients in herbal teas help the body process the gas and safeguard the digestive system against risk factors for bloating.

Peppermint, lemon balm, wormwood, ginger, and fennel are herbal tea options that can help you reduce bloating.


Sometimes, you feel fullness and tightness in your abdomen. This is due to bloating from trapped gas. 

Constipation, food intolerance, bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, and hormonal changes contribute to bloating. An unhealthy diet and poor lifestyle further facilitate the causes of bloating.

Bloating isn't a serious healthcare condition; you can manage it by modifying your lifestyle and diet. Diet plays a major role in reducing the symptoms of bloating and prevention. You should avoid food in your diet that can cause food intolerance. Reach the daily fiber limit by gradually increasing fiber in your diet. 

Also, add probiotics to your diet to reduce bloating and promote overall healthy digestion.