Ugh! Bloating, gas and abdominal swelling are commonly experienced by men and women of all ages – according to one study, by 31% of Americans (1) — so there’s little need to describe the symptoms. But what causes these symptoms, and how can they be prevented and treated? There are many possible causes, and the most effective treatments differ from person to person. The good news is there are many natural remedies for bloating to try.
The basics on bloating
To treat a patient suffering from bloating, a gastroenterologist will build an individualized treatment plan in full collaboration with the patient. The first step is clarifying whether the main symptom is bloating, gas, abdominal swelling, or a combination, which will aid in narrowing down possible underlying causes (1).
While a number of illnesses and imbalances can cause these symptoms – for example, they are especially characteristic of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – the most common cause is digestive imbalance, and the most common treatment is dietary change and other simple lifestyle adjustments. (2)
Natural remedies for water retention and bloating
A review on the National Institute of Health website promotes diet, exercise, and probiotics as the best treatments to alleviate bloat (1); although it also outlines medicines for patients with acute conditions (eg. IBS). Another resource provided by NIH advises: avoid dairy, carbonated drinks, foods with high level of fructose or sorbital (high-FODMAPs); limit vegetables that produce a lot of gas (like beans and cruciferous vegetables); and don’t eat too quickly.
The second resource also suggests charcoal caps and the drug simethicone; but the study review’s profiled clinical trials did not find either to be effective.
The website Bloating Tips (4) contains a wealth of information. The most common culprits are listed as rich or fatty foods, processed foods, dairy, alcohol or fizzy drinks, too much salt, or too little protein. It recommends keeping a food diary for easy identification of problem foods. In addition, stress, lack of sleep, and antibiotic use can disrupt digestive balance.
Top 5 Youtubers sharing personal tips in regards to bloating
Many raw/vegan Youtube bloggers share advice on how to avoid bloating. For the most part their advice echoes that of the NIH and Bloating Tips website, but as the experience and treatment of bloating are highly individual, each video blogger provides individualized pieces of potentially helpful advice.
#1 Sara Marie found a food journal helped her identify corn chips and guacamole as a problem food. She recommends bananas as an easily-digested food.
#2 FitLifeTV recommends drinking 4 liters of water a day, getting 8-10 hours of sleep a night, and eating frequent small meals throughout the day, in addition to avoiding problem foods.
#3 Rawvana makes a smoothie from water-rich fruits and vegetables, saying that while it may seem counter-intuitive to ingest a lot of fluids when you’re feeling bloated, it’s actually the best way to flush the problem compounds out of the body and restore balance.
#4FullyRawKristina also advises healthy raw food, sleep, and exercise, and she suggests a special technique: self-massage, rubbing the belly in a counter-clockwise pattern starting from the pelvic bone and moving up, possibly even using essential oils such as peppermint.
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