Natural Ways To Relieve Painful Bloating

Most people have been bloated at some point in their lives, according to UNC Health. It's an experience that isn't enjoyable, to say the least. Bloat is often caused by excess gas or air in your abdomen or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. You may feel like your stomach has become an overly filled-balloon. Being bloated can feel uncomfortable or become extremely painful. The good news is that there are several natural ways to relieve painful bloating.

When you become bloated, it's common to feel like your abdomen is unusually tight, feels excessively full, or is tender to the touch because of pressure, per Cleveland Clinic. Sometimes you might visibly see the fullness of your midsection, but you can also be bloated without your stomach noticeably changing in size or appearance. Bloat can be a symptom of medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but can also occur as a result of something in your diet or have an underlying cause that is temporary and can be easily remedied. A majority of women say that they've experienced bloat during their menstrual cycles. Approximately a quarter of people without underlying medical diagnoses report experiencing occasional bouts of bloating, so if you have a tendency to become bloated you aren't alone.

Switch up your diet

There's a good chance the food you eat is cause for bloating since many culinary items can lead to gas buildup in the stomach and digestive tract (via Healthline). The best way to naturally and easily relieve painful bloating caused by food items is to limit how much you consume or take them out of your diet completely. Foods that can instigate gas in your body and subsequently lead to bloating include beans, lentils, wheat, barley, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. Besides making your eyes water and causing odorous breath, onions are another culprit of gas and bloating. The carbonation in soda and similar beverages are also linked to gas buildup and bloating, per Cleveland Clinic

Dairy is a food group that commonly leads to bloating, especially for people who are lactose intolerant, explains Mayo Clinic. When a person's body is unable to properly break down the sugar, called lactose, in milk or dairy products, then gas and bloating manifest as frequent side effects alongside abdominal cramping and diarrhea. In fact, researchers have found that up to 65% of the global population may be lactose intolerant, per a 2022 study published in StatPearls. Lactose intolerance can first appear in adulthood, so if you were able to indulge in ice cream and milk as a child but now find yourself becoming bloated shortly after eating dairy products, eliminating dairy from your diet can be a natural remedy for painful bloat.

Managing hormone-induced bloating

Many women experience bloating as a symptom of hormones caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS), during various times of their menstrual cycles, or as they reach perimenopause (via Cleveland Clinic). When hormonal changes are the root cause of painful bloating, which can be compounded by cramping, there are natural ways to take charge and relieve bloat. Exercising and physically moving your body can reduce water retention, move things along in your digestive tract, and boost your mood to combat the dread that may come with painful bloating. 

Medical News Today states that exercising during your menstrual cycle can also combat menstrual pain, discomfort from bloating, and reduce fatigue. Both during exercise and throughout the rest of your day, make certain that you're drinking plenty of water. Consuming enough water is an organic way to get things moving internally by increasing mobility in your body's digestive tract. To note, consuming sufficient water can be helpful for anyone who has bloat, not just for those experiencing hormonal fluctuations. Being proactive with water intake and exercise to keep your digestive tract and bowels functioning smoothly can reduce bloating and connected pain before gas and air build up in your body.

To soothe painful bloating and calm your body, Brigham and Women's Hospital recommends drinking teas including peppermint and chamomile. Consuming herbs and spices like turmeric coriander are also known to reduce pain associated with bloating. Turmeric can also reduce inflammation, swelling, and associated pain (via WebMD).