Stomach bloating causes include trapped wind, constipation, food intolerances or conditions such as IBS or Coeliac disease.
From a medical viewpoint, it’s a non-specific symptom and doctors will look beyond the digestive system to eliminate other causes of abdominal swelling.
Cutting down on foods that promote trapped wind, such as beans, onions, and broccoli, is one way of avoiding bloating.
While how you treat digestive bloating will depend on the cause of the problem, reducing your intake of certain drinks can also help, according to head of nutrition at Healthspan, Rob Hobson.
The six drinks Rob advises you cut down on are:
- Fizzy drinks
- Fizzy water
- Sugary drinks
- ‘Diet’ drinks
- Dark beers
- Real ales
Other self-help tips from Rob to help bloating include chewing your food well – aim for 30 chews with each mouthful, drink plenty of water, don’t drink too much before or during a meal as this dilutes your digestive enzymes, avoid stress or learn to cope with it better, and exercise more.
You should also cut down on your intake of Brussels spouts, onion, leeks, cabbage, turnips, fatty foods and cream, and avoid chewing gum constantly.
Rob advised: “Try cutting back on these foods or increasing your intake of them slowly as the effects of bloating do tend to ware off as the body gets used to them.”
You could also try a daily probiotic supplement. Rob said: “Try a daily probiotic supplement such as Healthspan Super 20 Pro (£8.95 for 30 capsules). If you suspect IBS then speak to a registered dietitian about following a FODMAPS diet, which has been shown to help with the condition.”
Also, herbs such as cynara and dandelion, as found in A.Vogel Digestisan, have been used for centuries in helping improve symptoms of indigestion including bloating, Rob added.
You should see your doctor for further advice if you experience abdominal (stomach) pain, especially severe pain, unexplained diarrhoea or vomiting, excessive heartburn, blood in your stools, or dark, tarry stools, and weight loss.
Friendly bacteria supplements
The first, is friendly or ‘good’ bacteria supplements. The high street health shop says these can aid digestion and help contract the negative effects of bad bacteria in your gut.
It adds: “Best of all, numerous studies have shown they may help ease symptoms of IBS like pain, gas and bloating.
“There are many different types available, so you may need to experiment to find one that works for you.”
Holland and Barrett explains: “Fennel has been used for centuries to help tame tummies. Drink it as a tea or take a supplement.”
This can help fight IBS symptoms like cramping or bloating.
“It works by relaxing the muscles of your intestines,”according to the health store.
“Try taking capsules before or during meals.”
Activated charcoal capsules are a natural remedy for bloating and excess wind, according to Holland and Barrett.
It says: “They work by absorbing excess gas from within your gut to relieve flatulence and feelings of fullness,” a claim that was supported by the European Food Safety Authority in 2011.
Activated charcoal is made by heating charcoal to a high temperature.
This combines the charcoal with oxygen to open up the millions of tiny pores between the atoms the charcoal is made up of, increasing its absorption abilities. It’s recommended to take the tables after meals.
It adds: “If you are taking other medication, then you should take activated charcoal tablets either two hours before or one hour afterwards.
“If you have a medical condition involving your intestine, always consult your doctor first.”