Conditions

How To Get Rid of Bloating and Gas: Top 8 Tips For Relief

Fact Checked
Written by
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Christopher Knee, ND
Blog Conditions
How To Get Rid of Bloating and Gas: Top 8 Tips For ...

Abdominal bloating and gas is a very common complaint that affects most people at one point or another. According to multiple epidemiological studies, approximately 10 to 30% of the general population experience bloating symptoms. (6)(10)(21) Bloating can cause significant discomfort and can even impact your quality of life. (17) The good news is that excess gas and bloating are treatable and can often be prevented using dietary modifications and various therapies when advised by a practitioner. Read on to understand what causes bloating and gas and what you can do to prevent this digestive nuisance from disrupting your life.

Did you know? A large survey of American households found that over 70% of people who experience bloating report their symptoms as moderate to severe, and 50% modify their daily activities in response to their symptoms. (22)

 

 

Bloating beans and legumes
Abdominal bloating and gas is a common digestive complaint.

 

What causes bloating?

Caused by trapped gas in the digestive tract, bloating often presents with the uncomfortable sensation of too much gas in the abdomen or a heavy fullness. (23) In some cases, the abdomen may also appear swollen and distended. (16)

It’s normal to experience occasional gas and bloating. When gas builds up in the stomach due to swallowing air while eating, it is expelled from the mouth through belching. In contrast, excess gas in the colon, likely related to diet, is released through flatulence. (27)

Did you know? Certain populations are more likely to experience gas and bloating, particularly women and obese individuals. (23)

Gas and bloating is often a symptom of specific conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract, including:

Gas and bloating can be caused by other factors, including:

  • Aerophagia (swallowed air)
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Gum chewing
  • Overeating (9)(16)

Did you know? Over 90% of individuals with IBS experience frequent gas and bloating. (23)

How to reduce bloating and excess gas

The tips outlined below can help prevent gas and bloating.

Practice mindful eating

Mindful eating is a practice that involves eating slowly and without distraction. Eating too quickly or while distracted can lead to unwanted effects such as gas, bloating, and indigestion. Slowing down and eating with intention can prevent overeating, and some research has shown that mindful eating may reduce symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome. (4)(5)

When enjoying your meals, avoid distractions (e.g., cell phone, television), and bring your awareness to the flavors, textures, and temperatures of each bite. Routinely check in with your hunger levels and try to stop eating when you’re comfortably full.

To learn more about mindful eating, visit the Fullscript blog.

 

 

Bloating beans and legumes
Certain foods, such as beans and legumes, can trigger gas and bloating.

 

Identify foods that trigger gas and bloating

If you notice recurring symptoms of gas and bloating, try keeping track of your symptoms and reporting specific foods that appear to precipitate your symptoms. Several foods are known to cause stomach cramps and gas in some individuals, mainly onions, garlic, legumes, whole grains, and cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, Brussels sprouts). (9) Once you’ve identified the foods that may be causing gas, bloating, or other symptoms, try removing them from your diet for two to six weeks to see if your symptoms improve. You can then slowly reintroduce the foods one at a time, preferably a few days apart, to determine specific food triggers. (8)(13)

You can easily track foods and symptoms using a journal or mobile app, such as mySymptoms, Bowelle, and Cara Care.

Download a symptom diary for tracking food and symptoms.

Did you know? Soda and other carbonated beverages can cause excess gas and bloating. (27)

Soak, sprout, or boil foods

Preparing difficult-to-digest foods in specific ways can help break down the carbohydrates that may be causing your symptoms. (9) For example, soaking, sprouting, or fermenting beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains can reduce anti-nutrient content and improve digestibility. (7)(12)(18)(20)(28)

Download a handout about anti-nutrients.

Try a low-FODMAP diet

The low-FODMAP diet is a dietary intervention often recommended for patients with IBS that restricts the intake of foods containing highly fermentable carbohydrates, including oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. For some patients, foods containing these carbohydrates can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. The low-FODMAP diet involves the temporary restriction of foods containing FODMAPs, followed by a reintroduction stage. (2) According to one study, 70% of participants maintained long-term symptom relief following completion of the low-FODMAP diet. (2)

Download a handout on the low-FODMAP diet.

Stay hydrated

Avoid constipation, which can contribute to bloating, by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. (3) Fluid intake recommendations vary depending on your activity level and the climate in which you live; however, some experts recommend that men and women drink approximately 125 ounces (3.7 liters) and 91 ounces (2.7 liters) per day, respectively. (25) Plain water and herbal teas are the most hydrating options. Additionally, consuming water-rich foods, such as melon, berries, lettuce, and celery, can help you reach your daily fluid intake goals. (19)

Watch out for sugar alcohols

Sugar alcohols are indigestible sugars commonly found in chewing gum and sugar-free foods. Once they reach the large intestine, sugar alcohols are fermented by gut bacteria, leading to gas and bloating for some individuals. (15) Try to avoid or minimize consumption of sugar alcohols, including mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. (15) Alternatively, the sugar alcohol erythritol has been shown to be better tolerated and doesn’t appear to cause the same symptoms as other sugar alcohols when taken in small doses. (15)

Get moving

Even if you don’t feel up to it, engaging in mild physical activity, such as going for a walk or bike ride, can provide some bloating relief. According to one study, physical activity promotes intestinal gas clearance and reduces abdominal distention. The study also noted that remaining sedentary can cause gas to settle in the gut, significantly worsening symptoms related to bloating. (26)

Supplement with digestive enzymes or peppermint oil

Your digestive system naturally produces and secretes digestive enzymes; however, some individuals may not produce adequate amounts to facilitate digestion. (14) Numerous factors can cause digestive enzyme inadequacy or deficiency, such as aging, dysfunction of digestive organs, inadequate chewing, and excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, refined carbohydrates, or fat. (24) Supplementing with digestive enzymes, such as lactase, lipase, and protease, may help the digestive tract break down the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in your foods. (9) Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of supplementing with multi-enzyme preparations for reducing bloating and flatulence following a meal. (14)

For digestive enzymes to work effectively, be sure to take them before consuming your meal so that they have the chance to reach your stomach before your food does. (14)

Supplementing with peppermint oil may also relieve digestive symptoms. Peppermint is known as a carminative, a type of herb that helps prevent or reduce gas formation. (1) According to numerous studies, peppermint oil supplements are superior to placebo at relieving symptoms of IBS, including gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. (1)(11)

When to see a medical practitioner

Gas and bloating can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Consult your integrative healthcare provider if you experience chronic gas and bloating or any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Worsening heartburn (16)

The bottom line

Occasional gas and bloating can be an uncomfortable problem. However, incorporating certain dietary modifications, regular physical activity, and digestive enzymes supplements can help manage your symptoms. If you struggle with chronic gas and bloating, speak to your integrative healthcare provider for a treatment plan customized to your needs.

Fullscript simplifies supplement dispensing

Create your dispensary today I'm a patient
  1. Alammar, N., Wang, L., Saberi, B., Nanavati, J., Holtmann, G., Shinohara, R. T., & Mullin, G. E. (2019). The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: A meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 19(1), 21.
  2. Altobelli, E., Del Negro, V., Angeletti, P. M., & Latella, G. (2017). Low-FODMAP diet improves irritable bowel syndrome symptoms: A meta-analysis. Nutrients, 9(9).
  3. Arnaud, M. J. (2003). Mild dehydration: A risk factor of constipation? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57 Suppl 2, S88–S95.
  4. Cherpak, C. E. (2019). Mindful eating: A review of how the stress-digestion-mindfulness triad may modulate and improve gastrointestinal and digestive function. Integrative Medicine , 18(4), 48–53.
  5. Dalen, J., Smith, B. W., Shelley, B. M., Sloan, A. L., Leahigh, L., & Begay, D. (2010). Pilot study: Mindful eating and living (MEAL): Weight, eating behavior, and psychological outcomes associated with a mindfulness-based intervention for people with obesity. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 18(6), 260–264.
  6. Drossman, D. A., Li, Z., Andruzzi, E., Temple, R. D., Talley, N. J., Thompson, W. G., Whitehead, W. E., … & Corazziari, E. (1993). U.S. householder survey of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Prevalence, sociodemography, and health impact. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 38(9), 1569–1580.
  7. Fernandes, A. C., Nishida, W., & Da Costa Proença, R. P. (2010). Influence of soaking on the nutritional quality of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cooked with or without the soaking water: A review. International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 45(11), 2209–2218.
  8. Guida, B., De Martino, C. D., De Martino, S. D., Tritto, G., Patella, V., Trio, R., D’Agostino, C., … & D’Agostino, L. (2000). Histamine plasma levels and elimination diet in chronic idiopathic urticaria. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 54(2), 155–158.
  9. Hasler, W. L. (2006). Gas and bloating. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 2(9), 654–662.
  10. Heaton, K. W., O’Donnell, L. J., Braddon, F. E., Mountford, R. A., Hughes, A. O., & Cripps, P. J. (1992). Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a British urban community: Consulters and nonconsulters. Gastroenterology, 102(6), 1962–1967.
  11. Khanna, R., MacDonald, J. K., & Levesque, B. G. (2014). Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 48(6), 505–512.
  12. Lorenz, K. (1980). Cereal sprouts: Composition, nutritive value, food applications. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 13(4), 353–385.
  13. Madzhidova, S., & Sedrakyan, L. (2019). The use of dietary interventions in pediatric patients. Pharmacy (Basel, Switzerland), 7(1).
  14. Majeed, M., Majeed, S., Nagabhushanam, K., Arumugam, S., Pande, A., Paschapur, M., & Ali, F. (2018). Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of a multienzyme complex in patients with functional dyspepsia: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Medicinal Food, 21(11), 1120–1128.
  15. Mäkinen, K. K. (2016). Gastrointestinal disturbances associated with the consumption of sugar alcohols with special consideration of xylitol: Scientific review and instructions for dentists and other health-care professionals. International Journal of Dentistry, 2016, 5967907.
  16. National Library of Medicine. (2020). Abdominal bloating. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003123.htm
  17. Neri, L., Iovino, P., & Laxative Inadequate Relief Survey (LIRS) Group. (2016). Bloating is associated with worse quality of life, treatment satisfaction, and treatment responsiveness among patients with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome and functional constipation. Neurogastroenterology and Motility: The Official Journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society, 28(4), 581–591.
  18. Onwuka, G. I. (2006). Soaking, boiling and antinutritional factors in pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan) and cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata). Journal of Food Processing and Preservation, 30(5), 616–630.
  19. Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439–458.
  20. Reddy, N. R., & Pierson. (1994). Reduction in antinutritional and toxic components in plant foods by fermentation. Food Research International , 27(3), 281–290.
  21. Ringel, Y., Williams, R. E., Kalilani, L., & Cook, S. F. (2009). Prevalence, characteristics, and impact of bloating symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology: The Official Clinical Practice Journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, 7(1), 68–72; quiz 3.
  22. Sandler, R. S., Stewart, W. F., Liberman, J. N., Ricci, J. A., & Zorich, N. L. (2000). Abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea in the United States: Prevalence and impact. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 45(6), 1166–1171.
  23. Seo, A. Y., Kim, N., & Oh, D. H. (2013). Abdominal bloating: Pathophysiology and treatment. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 19(4), 433–453.
  24. Swami, O. C., & Shah, N. J. (2017). Functional dyspepsia and the role of digestive enzymes supplement in its therapy. International Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, 6(5), 1035.
  25. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. (2004). Report sets dietary intake levels for water, salt, and potassium to maintain health and reduce chronic disease risk. https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2004/02/report-sets-dietary-intake-levels-for-water-salt-and-potassium-to-maintain-health-and-reduce-chronic-disease-risk
  26. Villoria, A., Serra, J., Azpiroz, F., & Malagelada, J.-R. (2006). Physical activity and intestinal gas clearance in patients with bloating. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 101(11), 2552–2557.
  27. Wilkinson, J. M., Cozine, E. W., & Loftus, C. G. (2019). Gas, bloating, and belching: Approach to evaluation and management.
  28. Zia-Ur-rehman, & Shah, W. H. (2001). Tannin contents and protein digestibility of black grams (Vigna mungo) after soaking and cooking. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition , 56(3), 265–273.

Disclaimer

The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.

Fullscript content philosophy

At Fullscript, we are committed to curating accurate, and reliable educational content for practitioners and patients alike. Our educational offerings cover a broad range of topics related to integrative medicine, such as supplement ingredients, diet, lifestyle, and health conditions.

Medically reviewed by expert practitioners and our internal Integrative Medical Advisory team, all Fullscript content adheres to the following guidelines:

  1. In order to provide unbiased and transparent education, information is based on a research review and obtained from trustworthy sources, such as peer-reviewed articles and government websites. All medical statements are linked to the original reference and all sources of information are disclosed within the article.
  2. Information about supplements is always based on ingredients. No specific products are mentioned or promoted within educational content.
  3. A strict policy against plagiarism is maintained; all our content is unique, curated by our team of writers and editors at Fullscript. Attribution to individual writers and editors is clearly stated in each article.
  4. Resources for patients are intended to be educational and do not replace the relationship between health practitioners and patients. In all content, we clearly recommend that readers refer back to their healthcare practitioners for all health-related questions.
  5. All content is updated on a regular basis to account for new research and industry trends, and the last update date is listed at the top of every article.
  6. Potential conflicts of interest are clearly disclosed.
Send this to a friend