At some time in their life, everyone experiences bloating and gas on their stomachs. It can come from eating certain foods, from being sick with the flu, especially the stomach flu, or simply from needing to defecate.
Stomach pain from having gas and bloating can range from mild to severe, but in most cases you don’t need to be concerned unless there are other more serious symptoms accompanying it.
The Causes of Gas and Bloating
There are several reasons you may experience gas and bloating and most of the causes are minor. However, there are some medical conditions that cause gas and bloating that you may need to be concerned about.
Usually, gas and bloating is caused by eating foods containing fructose, which is a sugar found in fruits and sodas, or lactose, which a sugar found in dairy products. Along with bloating and gas, these sugars can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Both lactose and fructose intolerance are common, although lactose intolerance is the better known affliction with about 65 percent of the world’s population suffering from some form of it.
Gas and bloating can be the symptoms of more serious medical problems like irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Although it is considered a common intestinal problem, IBS can be difficult to diagnose as its symptoms vary from person to person.
While gas and bloating are the most common symptoms, people may also experience stomach discomfort or pain and altered bowel habits. One week they may be constipated, but the next week they may have diarrhea.
Another medical condition in which gas and bloating are symptoms is gall bladder disease. The gall bladder is a small sack that holds and regulates bile made from the liver. Bile is essential for digesting fat as it passes through the small intestine.
However, if you have gall stones or if the bile becomes too thick, then the gall bladder will be unable function properly. If you experience gas and bloating 10 to 20 minutes after eating, especially a meal high in fat, that could be an indication of gall bladder disease.
Other causes for gas and bloating may include a bacterial imbalance in your intestines, being ill or having acid reflux. Although some conditions may worsen if not treated, for the most part, these symptoms can be resolved by allowing them to pass on their own or by using home remedies to help reduce or prevent gas and bloating.
Why Use Natural Remedies for Gas and Bloating?
The main reason for using natural remedies to help resolve gas and bloating is because these symptoms are normally not caused by serious medical conditions. Usually if you belch, pass gas or have a bloated stomach, it will pass without needing to do anything.
If you are feeling ill, then you can eat certain foods to help coat your stomach or take home preparations to help you feel better. While there are over-the-counter medications that you can take to help reduce gas and/or bloating, you may already have remedies for these symptoms at home.
Preventing Gas and Bloating
Since your diet is most often the culprit behind your bloated stomach and excessive gas, you can avoid these problems altogether by either avoiding the foods that cause those problems or changing your eating habits.
Adjusting Eating Habits
Swallowing air is one cause of gas that can easily be prevented during mealtime. When you eat or drink, slow down and take time to thoroughly chew your food and drink liquids slowly.
If you are denture wearer, you may want to have them checked to make sure they create a tight seal when you use a denture adhesive because if they are loose, they can cause you to swallow air when you eat or drink.
Poor digestion can cause excessive gas and bloating, which can be caused by drinking liquids as you eat. When you have liquids with your meal, it can cause you to lose stomach acids and that can prevent food from being digested properly.
About 30 minutes before your meals, drink water or whatever liquids you would normally have with your meal to help your stomach digest your food efficiently.
Avoiding Foods that Cause Bloating and Gas
There are certain foods that everyone knows will cause excessive gas and bloating. Beans are well known for their tendency to cause people to pass gas; after all they are called the “musical fruit.”
Some other foods known for their propensity to cause flatulence, burping and bloating include broccoli, green peppers, prunes, corn, apples and bananas, just to name a few.
While these foods are the most common culprits for causing gas and bloating, other less commonly known foods can cause these symptoms in some people and they can vary from person to person.
The best way to figure out which foods trigger belching, passing gas or bloating for you is to keep track of what you’ve ate when gas and bloating occurs. Once you know your triggering foods, you can avoid eating and drinking them.
Change Your Diet
Along with avoiding foods that trigger gas and bloating, you should also change your diet to eliminate unhealthy foods that can cause these issues. Processed foods that can contain a high amount of sugar and fat will cause painful gas and bloating in most people.
If your children frequently complain of tummy aches, take a look at what they are eating and switch out sugary or fatty foods for more fruits and vegetables. In addition, caffeinated drinks, such as sodas, will also cause gas and bloating, so reducing or eliminating them from your diet will help as well.
Add Probiotics to Diet
You probably know about the “good” bacteria that are needed to help keep your gut healthy so it functions properly. This good bacteria are contained in probiotics, which are live microorganisms that are similar to the bacteria found in your gut.
Although you can buy probiotics as a supplement, you can also eat foods that contain them. Foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and miso contain probiotics and they have been to relieve both gas and bloating in most adults.
Include Herbs in Your Diet
If you have excessive gas and bloating and you are otherwise healthy, you should add herbs to your diet to get relief. Herbs from the carminative family can help break up and help you pass gas and they also prevent bloating.
Some of the herbs that can help you avoid the discomfort of gas and bloating include ginger, dill, basil, oregano, caraway, cumin, cinnamon, spearmint and peppermint. Doctors suggest eating the herbs rather than taking herbal supplements as some supplements can interact with some medications.
Ginger and peppermint can be steeped as a tea to help you get relief from gas and bloating. Ginger is especially good for easing upset stomachs and nausea because it contains both gingerols and shgaols, which are two natural chemicals that help to reduce inflammation and relax the intestinal tract. You can buy herbal teas at most grocery stores or you can purchase ginger root to make your own ginger tea.
Drink Lemon Water
It seems a glass of lemon water a day can help prevent gas and bloating. The acidity that is present in lemons stimulates the production of HCL, hydrochloric acid. HCL helps to break down the food we eat, so it helps to reduce bloating and gas.
In addition, the extra water helps to flush out your system, which keeps your digestive tract functioning properly and lemon water also helps your liver enzymes work more efficiently.
Just add fresh lemon juice from three lemon wedges or one to two teaspoons of lemon juice to a cup of warm water. Drink it in the morning after you get up and make sure to drink it on an empty stomach. If you want to sweeten the lemon water up a bit, just add some honey to the mixture.
If you have problems with gas and bloating, you can get some relief by adding pumpkin to your meals. Since most bloating and gas is caused by improperly digested food, eating pumpkin can help to reduce any gas that is created in the process.
Pumpkin can be baked, broiled or steamed. Just add a cup of it to your meals to help ease the discomfort of gas and bloating.
Snack on Caraway Seeds
Consuming caraway seeds is one of the best ways to improve digestion and help prevent gas and bloating. It has carminative properties that helps to keep gas from forming or it can help you to pass gas quickly.
Caraway seeds also help to prevent bloating because they encourage the formation of good bacteria in your gut that acts to quickly digest food and their antimicrobial properties helps to eliminate the growth of bad bacteria.
If you are bloated, you can either thoroughly chew a small amount of caraway seeds or eat caraway crackers to quickly get relief. Another way to use caraway seeds to keep bloating away is to make a drink from the seeds.
Add two teaspoons of crushed caraway seeds to a cup of boiling water and let them steep about seven to 10 minutes. Strain the liquid and sip the tea slowly.
Try Fennel for Relief
If you feel gassy, you can use fennel to provide relief because it contains volatile oils, which are anti-gas and anti-spasmodic. It helps trapped gas to pass through your system to help prevent bloating and it can also help prevent other digestive issues. You can either chew the fennel seeds to get relief from gas or use them to make a tea and drink it regularly to prevent gas and bloating.
The Smoothie Remedy
If tea isn’t…well, your cup of tea, try drinking this smoothie instead. You can use either chamomile or dandelion root tea in the smoothie to help relieve gas and bloating. Both chamomile and dandelion are bitter herbs that help to promote healthy digestion, especially if combined with a carminative herb. This smoothie also uses probiotic yogurt and pineapple, which contains the enzyme bromelain that can aid digestion.
The recipe for this helpful smoothie is:
- 1/2 cup of cooled chamomile or dandelion root tea
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
Put all of the ingredients into a blender and process them until smooth or the desired consistency is achieved.
Home Remedy for Relief
When you feel gassy and bloated, you want to get relief quickly because it can be uncomfortable. While there are many over-the-counter medications you can take to help your body release gas, you can also use this home remedy.
Squeeze the juice of lemon into a glass and add some baking soda to it. Next, add one cup of water and stir the mixture until the baking soda is dissolved. Drink the mixture to help pass the gas and feel better.
Take Activated Charcoal
Although it can help bring relief to people with gas, the reason it helps is unknown. It is thought that it helps because charcoal is porous and the spaces in it are good at trapping excess gas.
Activated charcoal is similar to regular charcoal, but it has been oxidized with hot steam or air to give make pores in it. It can be bought as a tablet, capsule or as a powder. Read the label for dosing instructions or talk to your doctor about how much you would need to take to help with your excessive gas.
Learn to Relax
If you are someone who tends to be nervous or if you frequently are stressed out, you may be making any excessive gas problem you have worse.
Since there are nerves running up and down your gastrointestinal tract, people who are nervous or stressed can develop gas, have diarrhea or feel constipated.
If you’ve tried changing your diet or using other home remedies to relieve gas and bloating and they haven’t worked, try using relaxation techniques to help prevent these problems.
Everyday stress can lead to spasms of the colon, as well as upset your stomach. Researchers who have studied the connection between stress and digestive issues suggest that some stress reduction techniques can help to improve your digestive health.
If stress is a problem for you, try meditation, yoga, counseling or making changes to your life to help reduce stress.
Be More Active
People who are less active and who have weak stomach muscles often experience more issues with bloating.
People who have a condition known as diastasis recti, which is a separation in stomach muscles, or who have had abdominal surgery have more trouble moving gas through their system.
Walking can help to move gas through your intestines or you can do exercises to strengthen your stomach muscles, such as sit-ups or crunches.
Other Ways to Prevent Gas and Bloating
There are many other ways you can prevent any gastric issues. They are simple to do and can help you avoid the discomfort that comes with excessive gas and a bloated stomach.
- Avoid spicy foods.
- When you buy a soda or other drink, don’t use a straw as it can cause you to swallow more air.
- Don’t drink carbonated beverages like sodas or sparkling water.
- Wear looser clothing to prevent gas and bloating.
- Don’t lie down after eating, instead take a walk.
- Replace caffeinated drinks with water.
Although having gas and the occasional bloating is normal and it will usually resolve itself, if you’ve used some of these remedies and you continue to have issues with gas and bloating, you may want to visit your doctor.
While gastric issues are not usually caused by a serious medical problem, there are some conditions that have gas and bloating as symptoms.
When to See a Doctor
Normally, gas gets worse throughout the day, but it usually goes away during the night after you’ve gone to sleep.
However, if your gas isn’t better in the morning or you notice other problems accompanying excessive gas, such as a change in bowel movements or frequency in urinating, an unexpected weight loss, feeling fatigued or stomach or pelvic pain, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
These home remedies for preventing or relieving gas and bloating are easy to do and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already that you can use to make them.
They are safe for all members of your family, but if you’re concerned about using them for younger children, speak to your pediatrician.
If you stay active, eat a healthy diet and avoid foods that trigger gas and bloating for you, then you can usually prevent having problems with excessive gas and the discomfort of a bloated stomach.
If you do have gas and/or bloating, you don’t need to use over-the-counter medications to relieve them, just use one of these natural remedies for gas and bloating to find quick relief.