- Home remedies for gas include eating more fiber and less sodium, avoiding carbonated drinks, and adding more peppermint and probiotics to your diet.
- Flatulence is a common GI problem that can usually be safely addressed at home with simple lifestyle changes.
- If your gas is accompanied by symptoms such as stomach pain or nausea, and basic home remedies don’t solve the problem, you should speak to a doctor to see if you have an underlying, more serious medical condition.
- This article was medically reviewed by Jason R. McKnight, MD, MS, a family doctor and assistant clinical professor at Texas A&M College of Medicine.
- Check out Insider’s Insider Reference Library for more advice.
If you’ve ever had trouble pulling your pants up after you’ve eaten, you are likely bloated. Having a full belly can be uncomfortable, but luckily there are ways to reduce it.
If you’re bloated, it’s likely the result of gas and air trapped in the GI tract that may come from the food you eat or from swallowing too much air from over chewing or smoking.
Gender can also have something to do with it. According to a population-based study from 2008, 19% of respondents had gas, with more women than men reporting the condition.
Bloat doesn’t have to be a common problem, however, and luckily, there are ways to reduce it through different lifestyle choices. Here are some remedies you can try at home to help prevent a bloated stomach.
Increase your fiber intake
One way to reduce gas is to include more fiber in your diet from high-fiber foods like whole grain breads, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. The American Heart Association’s eating plan recommends 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.
Before you start eating lentil soup, however, there are some things you should know: If you are not used to eating a lot of fiber, add these foods to your diet gradually to avoid upset stomach.
You should also be careful about eating certain high-fiber foods, as these can cause gas and cramps in some, says Dr. Jesse P. Houghton, FACG, senior medical director for gastroenterology at Southern Ohio Medical Center. These foods include:
- the Brussels sprouts
“Because these foods are healthy and high in fiber, you don’t automatically avoid them. Instead, pay attention to how they are affecting your symptoms,” says Houghton. “If you notice that you have increased convulsions or gasiness, you may want to limit your intake of these foods.”
It’s also worth noting that a high-fiber, high-protein diet has been shown to cause more gas than a high-fiber, high-carbohydrate diet. So what you eat with these high fiber foods can matter.
Avoid salty foods
3 Simple Tips To Reduce Your Sodium Intake – And How Much Per Day To Consume
According to the FDA, over 70% of sodium intake comes from prepackaged and prepared foods. Foods high in sodium can lead to salt and water retention, and a 2019 study linked a high-sodium diet to more gas.
Therefore, to avoid excessive water retention and gas, it is important to avoid salty foods.
Limit your sugar intake, especially with dairy products
Different types of sugar, such as fructose from fruits and lactose in dairy products, can cause gas. Hence, if they cause you any discomfort, it’s important to avoid them, he says
Bryan Curtin, MD, MHSc, gastroenterologist and director of the Center for Neurogastroenterology and GI Motility at Mercy Medical Center.
What is a low-FODMAP diet and how can it help with gastrointestinal complaints?
“As we get older, some of us lose the ability to digest large amounts of certain substances, particularly sugar. Lactose intolerance is the most common of these, but you can also tolerate fructose, fructans, sucrose, maltose, and other intolerable substances,” says Curtin Insider.
Approximately 65% of the world’s population are lactose intolerant. This means that your digestive tract has a hard time breaking down lactose into simple sugars. And undigested lactose goes to the colon, where bacteria break it down, resulting in gas and water. This accumulation of gas and water can then cause gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and gas.
Even replacing sugar-free sweeteners with sugar doesn’t stop puffing up. Artificial sweeteners are often found in snacks, soda, diet products, and sugar-free gums. Sorbitol, in particular, tends to be poorly digested.
“Other products that can cause gas, gas, bloating, and loose stools are foods that contain sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, and sorbitol,” says Houghton.
Always read the food labels and look for these ingredients to help prevent bloating.
Replace sugary drinks with water or tea
Houghton warns that carbonated drinks like soda can cause bloating and gas formation. And because it contains caffeine, soda can also cause dehydration, which in turn can lead to constipation and then bloating.
“Adequate hydration is important to relieve constipation. The main purpose of your colon is to absorb water. If you are already dehydrated, this can lead to the formation of very hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass and cause gas,” says Curtin.
Using peppermint, such as in peppermint tea, can also help relieve gas and wind. Peppermint helps with indigestion by relaxing the abdominal muscles, which helps move food through the stomach faster. A 2014 article found that menthol also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help maintain digestive health.
“I prefer supplements that contain peppermint oil, a natural smooth muscle relaxant that can soothe the bowel, in addition to oregano oil, a natural anti-inflammatory agent and a weak antibiotic that can keep bacteria levels down in the small intestine.” “says Curtin.
Eat foods rich in probiotic
Probiotics are “good bacteria” that are important in maintaining a healthy bacterial environment in the gut and making digestion easier. A 2011 and 2013 review found that probiotics were helpful in relieving gastrointestinal problems such as gas.
This is because the food you eat becomes food for trillions of bacteria in the intestines. When bacteria eat food that is difficult to digest, they produce hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane gas. However, according to the Probiotics Council, studies show that the good bacteria from probiotics, especially Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, are helpful in reducing both the frequency and the amount of gas in the gut.
You can find natural probiotics through fermented foods or supplements. Some examples of natural probiotics are:
- Sour Dough Bread
- cottage cheese
Make a habit of exercising regularly
Exercise can help reduce gastric gas build-up, according to the GI Society.
“Bloat can be a sign of bowel stasis. Simple, old-fashioned walking is best [exercise]. We’ve evolved to be more on the move than we are with today’s technology, “says Curtin.
Recommended exercises for reducing gas and wind include:
Exercise can relieve gas by helping to push food down the digestive tract, removing waste in the intestines. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should exercise before you eat. It’s also important to consume carbohydrates and high-protein foods within two hours of your workout.
When to see a doctor
In most cases, bloating is a relatively manageable condition. However, there are some warning signs that you should see a doctor right away.
“If conservative measures can’t control bloating, it’s worth seeing a family doctor or gastroenterologist for further assessment, especially if the bloating is accompanied by physical tightness of the stomach, abdominal pain, or nausea,” says Curtin
A GI doctor may determine that your flatulence is a cause of another condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, or more serious conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or cancer.
Houghton adds that unexplained weight loss, blood in the stool or black stools, persistent vomiting, or severe abdominal pain are severe symptoms that warrant a doctor.
Insider to take away
People should remember that gas is common and only rarely can it develop into a more serious medical problem.
If you stick to your eating habits carefully, you can reduce gas and bloating. Be aware of how your food and drink choices can affect your body, especially if you consume lots of dairy products, soda and carbonated drinks, and certain vegetables or beans that are high in fiber.
The causes of flatulence vary widely. However, if the condition affects quality of life or is accompanied by other symptoms such as severe pain, nausea, vomiting, or weight loss, Curtin should see a doctor.