The First Thing You Should Do When You Get Bloated

If your stomach feels full and tight and your tummy appears distended, you may be experiencing bloating (via Cleveland Clinic). This condition is often a result of a buildup of excess gas in the gastrointestinal tract, which can be caused by a number of different factors. Usually, bloating is a digestive issue that can be caused by food intolerance, constipation, eating too quickly, or gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Hormonal fluctuations during menstruation can also lead to bloating.

Unlike gasses that are ingested through swallowing air or drinking carbonated beverages, intestinal gas is produced by fermentation in the stomach. Too much gut fermentation can disrupt the digestive process, leaving your stomach feeling full and even painful. Not everyone will experience bloating in the same way, however. Symptoms of bloating can range in severity. Some people will experience mild intestinal discomfort, while others will experience more painful bloating. According to Cleveland Clinic, 75% of healthy people who experience infrequent bloating describe their discomfort and pain level as moderate or severe.

How to alleviate bloating

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help alleviate bloating. The next time you get bloated, you can help ease symptoms by drinking lukewarm water (via Byrdie). As it turns out, drinking around 2.7 liters of warm or room temperature water can help improve digestion. "When we are dehydrated we tend to hold on to any water we can. So drinking more water helps us to flush out stored water," Amy Shapiro, a registered dietitian and the founder of Real Nutrition, told Byrdie. "The more you drink the less bloated you'll be. It will also flush out excess sodium which holds on to water."

Consuming more probiotics is another great way to help with gas and bloating. Probiotics introduce good bacteria in the gut microbiome, which can promote gut health and help alleviate bloating. Also, working out more can help reduce symptoms of bloating. That's because exercise and physical activity can improve circulation by directing blood flow away from your hands and feet. This can help reduce water retention in the stomach and abdominal region.