Bloating is usually caused by the breakdown of food through the digestion process or by swallowed air. When trapped gas is unable to pass through flatulence or belching, it can accumulate in the intestines and stomach, leading to bloating. Abdominal pain is often coupled with bloating and can be dull, mild or sharp. Bloating can also be caused by anxiety or stress, smoking, eating fatty or gas-producing foods, and gastrointestinal infection, says MayoClinic.com. Occasionally, bloating can indicate lactose-intolerance, irritable bowel or gynecological conditions. There are effective ways to relieve bloating naturally, but the treatment depends on the cause.
See your physician. Persistent bloating warrants a physical examination. Your doctor will take your medical history and perform an examination that might included imaging tests and blood work. Once your doctor determines the underlying cause of your bloating, you will be advised of your treatment options.
Avoid gas-producing foods. Avoiding or cutting down on gas-producing foods such as broccoli, baked beans, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, can reduce intestinal gas and subsequent bloating. In addition, avoiding carbonated drinks, hard candy, gum and lettuce might also reduce your symptoms.
Eat more fiber. Eating 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily will increase bowel motility, remove waste and relieve bloating. Foods rich in fiber include whole grains, high-fiber cereals, whole-wheat breads and fruits and vegetables.
Increase vitamin B6 consumption. Vitamin B6 has diuretic properties which helps prevent bloating, says nutritionist and registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R.D. Food sources rich in vitamin B6 include avocado, roasted chicken breast and yellow fin tuna. Do not consume vitamin B6 in excess of 100mg per day. Check with your doctor to make sure that increasing your intake of this vitamin is appropriate for your condition.
Drink more water. Not drinking adequate amounts of water can contribute to dehydration and bloating. To make water more palatable, squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice into your water, and talk to your doctor before dramatically increasing your fluid intake. Certain medical conditions necessitate fluid restrictions, so thoroughly discuss your general state of health with your doctor before upping your fluid intake to make sure it is not contraindicated by your medical status.