Bloating is a condition where your stomach feels tighter or fuller than normal. Swallowing air, eating too much, eating certain foods, having excess bacteria in the small intestine or being constipated can all potentially cause bloating. While bloating can be uncomfortable, it also is treatable. Because some lifestyle habits contribute to bloating, you may need to make long-term changes.
Avoid Certain Foods
Some foods stimulate the presence of gas in the intestinal tract, which can lead to bloating. Avoid common triggers -- Brussels sprouts, turnips, cabbage, beans or lentils -- if you tend to experience abdominal bloating. Other items like chewing gum and carbonated drink also can contribute to excess gas in the intestines. Chewing gum can cause you to swallow excess air, making you feel bloated. Carbonated beverages that are high in fructose and sorbitol have a tendency to contribute to bloating.
Bloating can be a symptom of food intolerance. One example is lactose intolerance, which means that you lack an enzyme that breaks down lactose in your stomach. If you seem to experience bloating as a result of eating lactose, take dairy products out of your diet to see if your symptoms improve. Another common intolerance is to gluten, a protein found in many bread products. Gluten-free products are available at most grocery stores. Eliminating gluten from your diet may help to relieve bloating.
Stress and anxiety can cause a number of inflammatory conditions in your body, which can lead to bloating. When you experience stress, you have a tendency to take in short breaths, which can add excess air to your stomach. Anxiety also can make your stomach churn or feel uneasy, which leads you to feel bloated. When you experience constipation, perform activities that help to relax you. This could include taking a walk, reading a book, writing in a journal or listening to relaxing music.
Take Over-the-Counter Medications
A number of over-the-counter medications are available to treat bloating and gas in the digestive tract. Examples include medications that contain simethicone. This chemical is attributed to breaking up gas in your stomach. Another option is Beano, which contains an enzyme that helps to break down carbohydrates in your stomach. If your symptoms do not improve over time, see your physician. Certain medical conditions can contribute to abdominal bloating, including inflammatory bowel disease.