If you often experience bloating in your abdominal area, it is probably the result of intestinal gas that has built up in your digestive tract. Fortunately, there are many ways you can avoid bloating:
- Avoid carbonated beverages – Drinks such as soda can create gas inside your body. Stick to water or peppermint tea, which can soothe your stomach.
- Limit foods that can cause gas – Foods that have carbohydrates can contribute to bloating. These foods include broccoli, beans, lettuce, cabbage, milk, hard candies and chewing gum. “You do not need to avoid these foods altogether,” says Rafid J. Hussein, DO, gastroenterologist, Saint Francis Medical Partner. “Many of them, especially the vegetables, are very good for you. But do not eat an entire bowl of broccoli if you suffer from gas problems. Consume it in small amounts.”
- Eat slowly – When you eat too fast, you swallow more air, which leads to bloating. You can also aid digestion by taking more time to chew your food before swallowing it.
- Eat small amounts – Rather than eating three big meals a day, try consuming five or six small meals throughout the day. “When you eat large amounts of food, it can take longer to digest, contributing to gas and bloating,” says Hussein.
- Avoid constipation – You can do this by eating plenty of fiber, drinking fluids and exercising. If symptoms persist, there are many good treatment possibilities.
While there are many ways you can decrease bloating, the problem may be due to a digestive condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease or lactose intolerance. If you have tried the above tips and your symptoms do not improve, see your doctor. You should also seek help if you are experiencing persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, unintended weight loss, bloody stools or chest pain.
“You may have an underlying condition such as a wheat or milk allergy, or something even more serious,” says Hussein. “If you are not sure, seek help.”
To make an appointment with Hussein, or another gastroenterologist, call 573-331-3000.