Primary Care

Beat the bloat this summer: How to stop feeling bloated

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Feeling bloated can be painfully uncomfortable and frustrating, especially during the heat of summer. Learn what causes bloating and how you can manage and prevent it to feel your best.


By Shantala Sonnad, MD, Family Medicine, Nuvance Health Medical Practice


Bloating is a common condition that many people experience at some point. Feelings of fullness, tightness in your belly and abdominal discomfort can make your day unbearable. Thankfully, there are steps you can take for prevention and relief!


What causes bloating?


Certain foods and drinks can trigger bloating. Foods that are high in fiber, such as beans and lentils, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and brussels sprouts can be difficult to digest. This can result in excessive gas and bloating. Carbonated drinks like soda, artificial sweeteners like Splenda and high-fat foods like ice cream are other common bloating culprits.


Lifestyle factors can cause bloating as well. Whether you’re eating too quickly, overeating or swallowing air — these can all lead to bloating. Stress and anxiety are also known to negatively impact digestion which can cause uncomfortable bloating.



Several digestive disorders can contribute to bloating. Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can disrupt digestive processes, leading to excessive gas production, impaired digestion and increased food sensitivity.


If you’ve been experiencing abdominal pain or discomfort for a prolonged amount of time, make an appointment with your primary care provider.



How can I prevent feeling bloated?


Adopting healthy eating and lifestyle habits is key to reducing bloating. By making healthy changes to your diet and staying active, you can alleviate discomfort and promote better digestion.


Maintain a balanced diet: Incorporate a mix of whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, plus low fiber fruits and vegetables such as bananas or celery into your meals.



Eat smaller, more frequent meals: Instead of eating three big meals, try having smaller more frequent meals to ease digestion.


Chew your food thoroughly: Pace yourself while eating and make sure to chew your food so it can be digested more easily.


Avoid salty foods: Eating high-sodium foods can trigger water retention and make you feel bloated. To offset this, drink plenty of water and exercise. Sweating is how our body removes sodium naturally.



Wear loose-fitting clothing: Restrictive clothing can make you feel even worse. Opt for a flowy dress or gym shorts and a T-shirt.


Add probiotics to your diet: Natural, unprocessed probiotics such as organic sourdough bread, sauerkraut, miso and kimchi help promote healthy gut bacteria which aids in digestion.


Stay hydrated: Drink water throughout the day and eat foods that are hydrating, such as cucumbers. Peppermint and ginger tea are also great for promoting digestion and soothing your bloated stomach.



Exercise regularly: Staying active helps keep your digestive system moving and releases endorphins to alleviate stress.


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The bottom line: If you frequently experience bloating, identifying the underlying cause can help prevent discomfort in the future. Talk to your primary care provider if you’re experiencing frequent bloating and abdominal discomfort. Writing in a food diary to note any triggers can help pinpoint problem foods or drinks. Practice mindful eating, manage stress levels and exercise regularly to help reduce bloating.