How to Treat Stomach Bloating & Water Retention

Water retention and stomach bloating are two uncomfortable symptoms that everyone experiences from time to time. Their causes range from premenstrual syndrome to a poor diet, but the solution is the same. Simple lifestyle changes are all that's usually needed to beat bloating and fluid retention.

Step 1

Tell your doctor about your problems with bloating and water retention. Occasional or PMS-related fluid retention and stomach bloating are normal, but frequent or unexplained bloating may be a sign of another medical condition that requires a doctor's attention.

Step 2

Cut back on your sodium intake, since too much salt can cause water retention. Use herbs and spices to add flavor to your meals instead of table salt and try to minimize your intake of packaged and processed foods, including canned soups, frozen meals and condiments, which are often packed with sodium. When you do eat packaged foods, look for low-sodium varieties.

Step 3

Eliminate alcohol and sugar from your diet as much as is reasonable, since both contribute to bloating and fluid retention, reports West Virginia University. Aside from the usual sugar-laden candies and sweets, watch out for sugar in barbecue sauce, cereal, jelly, juice, granola and flavored yogurt.

Step 4

Drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of water every day. It might sound counter-intuitive, but drinking water can actually help your body eliminate the extra water it's holding on to, since water is a natural diuretic.

Step 5

Increase your intake of water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. All fruits and veggies are high in water, but watermelons, celery and cucumbers are particularly helpful in reducing fluid retention.

Step 6

Exercise every day. The perspiration that goes along with exercise can help your body get rid of excess water, so any activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat is a good choice.


If you're experiencing bloating only in the stomach area, it may be a result of gas, which can have any number of causes. To prevent the problem, eat slower, chew food thoroughly, eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and stop chewing gum and eating hard candies. If you're still bloated, try eliminating potential gas-causing foods one by one. Start with milk and dairy, then try beans, fruits like pears, apples and peaches, vegetables like onions, cabbage, broccoli and asparagus, whole grains and carbonated drinks.

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