Causes of Bloating and Tips to Reduce Bloating

December 20, 2022 - Bhoomika Singh, Webmedy Team

Updated Version - July 21, 2023

Bloating is a problem or condition in which a person feels fullness and tightness in his abdomen. Bloating is a common condition caused by diet, lifestyle and health factors. Bloating can be caused by a number of factors, including fluid retention, irritable bowel syndrome and infection. For most people, it can be treated at home.


Possible Causes of Bloating

  • Overgrowth of Small Intestinal Bacteria

    Overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria, is a condition where you have too many bacteria in the wrong places. Your body is home to a lot of good bacteria. Most of the good bacteria in your gut should be in the large intestine, not the small intestine. When you have too many bacteria in your small intestine, you experience a lot of gas. This happens because those good bacteria are not meant to live in that environment.

  • Low Stomach Acid

    Low stomach acid can cause abdominal gas, bloating, constipation, and pain in the abdomen. You can get abdominal gas and bloating if you don't have enough stomach acid to digest the food that you eat.

  • Not enough Bile

    Bile is one of the most important fluids in our body. Bile is produced by the liver and is stored in the gallbladder. If you don't have enough bile, it can create problems like abdominal gas and bloating.

  • Food Intolerances

    Some people feel bloated after eating certain foods. People who have lactose intolerance, gluten allergy or celiac disease may experience bloating. Avoiding the problem food may make bloating go away.

Tips to Reduce Bloating

  • Avoid foods that cause gas, such as vegetables from the cabbage family, dry beans, and pulses.
  • Do not eat chewing gum. Chewing gum can cause swallowing of excess air, which in turn can lead to bloating.
  • Reduce the intake of carbonated drinks.
  • Eat slowly and don't drink through a straw.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, use lactose free dairy products.
  • Walking, jogging, swimming or cycling for about 30 minutes a day can help reduce bloating.

Helpful Information

What are the main causes of bloating?

Bloating is primarily caused by excess gas production or disturbances in the movement of the muscles in the digestive system. This can be a result of a diet high in gas-producing foods, eating too quickly, constipation, hormonal changes, and some types of gastrointestinal disease.

How does diet contribute to bloating?

Certain foods can produce more gas in the digestive system, leading to bloating. These include beans, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, onions, carbonated drinks, and foods high in fat. Foods high in fiber can also cause bloating, particularly when consumed in large amounts or if you're not used to eating them.

Can overeating cause bloating?

Yes, overeating can cause bloating by filling the stomach with more food than it's accustomed to handling. This can cause the stomach to physically expand, resulting in temporary bloating.

How does constipation lead to bloating?

Constipation can lead to bloating as stool builds up in the colon, causing an uncomfortable sensation of fullness or bloating. In addition, when transit time slows, bacteria have more time to produce gas, which can further contribute to bloating.

Do hormonal changes cause bloating?

Hormonal changes, particularly those that occur during the menstrual cycle, can cause bloating. Levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone fluctuate during a woman's cycle, which can lead to water retention and bloating.

Can gastrointestinal diseases cause bloating?

Yes, certain gastrointestinal diseases, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and celiac disease, can cause bloating. These conditions often lead to irregular bowel movements, gas production, and abdominal discomfort, all of which can contribute to bloating.

Does stress contribute to bloating?

Stress can contribute to bloating indirectly by affecting gut motility, altering the gut microbiota, and increasing sensitivity to gas and bloating. Stress management techniques can help alleviate these symptoms.

What dietary changes can reduce bloating?

Reducing intake of gas-causing foods like beans, lentils, broccoli, cabbage, and carbonated drinks can help. Additionally, eating smaller meals, not overeating, and drinking plenty of water can help manage bloating.

How can regular physical activity help in reducing bloating?

Regular physical activity helps stimulate the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract, which helps move food and air bubbles through your system, reducing bloating and gas.

Does drinking more water reduce bloating?

Drinking plenty of water can help reduce bloating caused by dehydration or high sodium intake. Water can help flush out excess sodium and relieve bloating.

How does avoiding chewing gum help reduce bloating?

When you chew gum, you tend to swallow air, which can lead to bloating. Also, some sugar-free gums contain sugar alcohols, which can cause gas and bloating in some people.

Can drinking tea help in reducing bloating?

Certain herbal teas, like peppermint, ginger, and chamomile, have been found to help reduce bloating. These teas have anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help relax the digestive tract.

Does eating slowly and mindfully reduce bloating?

Eating too quickly can cause you to swallow more air, which can lead to bloating. Mindful eating, which involves eating slowly and savoring each bite, can help prevent this.

Can probiotics reduce bloating?

Probiotics can help reduce bloating, especially for people with IBS or other digestive disorders. They work by restoring the balance of good bacteria in the gut, which can aid in digestion and reduce gas production.

Can avoiding carbonated drinks reduce bloating?

Carbonated drinks contain bubbles of carbon dioxide, a gas. Drinking these can cause these gas bubbles to get trapped in your stomach and cause bloating. Avoiding them can help reduce bloating.

Can over-the-counter medication help with bloating?

There are over-the-counter medications that can help with bloating. Simethicone helps break down gas bubbles in the gut, while Beano or other enzyme-based supplements can help break down indigestible carbohydrates in the small intestine.

How does fiber intake affect bloating?

While a high-fiber diet can help with regular bowel movements and prevent constipation, adding too much fiber too quickly or eating high amounts of certain types of fiber can cause bloating. It's important to increase fiber intake gradually and drink plenty of water.

Does smoking cause bloating?

Smoking can cause bloating and heartburn. When you inhale smoke, you also inhale and swallow air, which can cause bloating and gas.

Can reducing salt intake help with bloating?

Yes, high sodium intake can cause the body to retain water, leading to bloating. Cutting back on salt can reduce this water retention.

How does adequate sleep contribute to reduced bloating?

Adequate sleep is essential for numerous aspects of health, including digestion. Irregular sleep can interfere with the gut's natural rhythm, potentially leading to bloating and other digestive issues. Ensuring you get enough sleep can contribute to better gut health.


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