- To get rid of bloating, try walking, drinking a glass of water, and chewing slowly.
- If bloated, eat foods like eggs, nuts, and fish and avoid foods like asparagus, onions, and garlic.
Affecting 15% to 30% of the US population, bloating often feels like a swelling or tightness in your abdomen and can cause your stomach to bulge. It’s often uncomfortable but doesn’t always signal a cause for concern.
You can’t always prevent bloating, but there are ways to reduce bloating, gas, and stomach pain — here are a few options.
Tips to reduce bloating
You don’t have to push through the bloat. Instead, try a few of these tips to reduce bloating or prevent it before it happens.
1. Avoid certain foods
Foods that contain certain types of carbohydrates, called FODMAPs, are not as effectively digested by the small intestine, which can cause bloating and gas in many people.
Important: If you think IBS is triggering your bloating, see a gastroenterologist, who may suggest a low FODMAP diet. Be sure to seek supervision from a registered dietitian before attempting a low FODMAP diet.
Foods high in FODMAPs include:
- Brussel sprouts
Quick tip: Some drinks can also contribute to bloating, such as carbonated beverages, like soda and sparkling water. The bubbles in carbonated beverages can expand in your stomach and cause symptoms of bloating.
2. Choose bloat-reducing foods
Eating low FODMAP foods can also help reduce bloating if your symptoms are related to IBS.
Studies have shown a low FODMAP diet to be effective in temporarily reducing symptoms of IBS, like bloating. But more research is needed to determine how much the diet can help long-term.
Foods low in FODMAPs that can reduce IBS-related bloating include:
- Nuts and seeds
While a low FODMAP diet may help, you should discuss any diet changes with your doctor or a registered dietitian, Mallam says. Depending on the underlying cause of your bloating, you may need a more tailored diet.
3. Slow down when eating
Bloating happens when your gastrointestinal tract becomes full of air or gas.
If you eat quickly, you are more likely to take in more air, which can result in bloating, says Hardeep Singh, MD, a gastroenterologist with the Providence St. Joseph Hospital.
Here are some tips for slowing down when eating:
- Drink water between bites.
- Chew food for 10 to 15 seconds before swallowing.
- Eat small snacks if you’re going a long time between meals as it’s harder to eat slowly when very hungry.
- Put utensils down between bites.
Quick tip: Drinking out of a straw and chewing gum can also cause you to take in excess air. If bloating is a regular problem for you, try avoiding straws and chewing gum.
Exercise can reduce bloating because it facilitates contractions of the intestines, which pushes along food and waste, says Rushabh Modi, MD, a gastroenterologist and hepatologist specialist with Keck Medicine of USC.
You don’t necessarily need to put yourself through a strenuous workout to ease bloating. Studies show that mild physical activity, like walking, can reduce symptoms of bloating.
Other forms of exercise that can reduce bloating include:
- Cycling, either outdoors or on a stationary bike
5. Drink water
If your abdomen feels swollen and tight, you may not want to eat or drink anything else, but sipping on water can help ease your symptoms.
That’s because foods high in sodium can cause bloating, and drinking water helps flush excess sodium from your system.
Quick tip: Men should drink around 125 ounces of water per day, while women should drink around 91 fluid ounces per day.
6. Try medication for bloating
If you’re looking for quick relief from gas and bloating, an over-the-counter (OTC) medication could help. Keep in mind that the cause of your bloating can determine which medication would work best.
A few OTC options for bloating include:
- Mylanta Gas
- Alka-Seltzer Anti-Gas
Important: You should always consult with your physician before trying out any new medications, even OTC options.
7. Experiment with enzymes
The body makes digestive enzymes on its own to help break down food. However, you can buy them OTC to take as supplements, too.
According to some evidence, people believe that OTC digestive enzymes can help with:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
A few examples of digestive enzymes include:
8. Consider probiotics for bloating
Probiotics live in the intestines and are considered “good” bacteria. Taking probiotic supplements may help keep your gut bacteria in check, which could help reduce bloating.
Probiotics can be found naturally in foods like:
There are some studies that say that probiotics can help with digestive issues, including bloating, by increasing the “good” bacteria in the gut.
Other studies say that probiotics don’t seem to help or are overwhelmingly focused on specific digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome.
What causes bloating?
What you eat is likely to be the biggest cause of bloating, says Singh. Other causes of bloating include:
- Food intolerances like lactose intolerance or celiac disease
- Eating too fast, which can cause you to swallow air
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) due to hormonal changes
- Gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying
- Gallbladder disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that affects the large intestine
- Certain types of cancer, like stomach, intestinal, or ovarian cancer
Quick tip: You may want to try an elimination diet to pinpoint what food and drinks could be causing your bloating.
When to see a doctor
In most cases, bloating will pass with time and doesn’t require medical attention. However, over time, frequent bloating could be an indication of an underlying medical issue.
You should consider talking to a physician if:
- OTC medications aren’t working
- Diet and lifestyle changes aren’t working
- You have mucus or blood in your stools
- You have significant changes to your bowels
- You have frequent diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation
- You have no appetite or unexplained weight loss
You may need to get immediate treatment if you’re experiencing:
- A high fever
- Chest pain
- Severe abdominal pain
- Severe diarrhea
How can I get unbloated in five minutes?
Getting rid of bloating this quickly may not be possible for everyone. However, you could try an over-the-counter medication for quick relief. Just make sure to check with your physician before taking any new medication.
What naturally reduces bloating?
You may be able to naturally reduce bloating by eating more slowly, avoiding certain foods and drinks, and exercising more. Peppermint or ginger tea, which have been said to help with digestive issues, could help too. Eating foods with probiotics, like kimchi, kefir, yogurt, and kombucha may help naturally prevent bloating.
Does drinking water help with bloating?
Drinking water can help with bloating by flushing excess salt out of your system. Sometimes, too much salt can cause bloating.
Bloating is an uncomfortable feeling of tightness in your abdomen that can have many causes, including eating too quickly or an underlying medical condition.
Avoiding foods that cause bloating, if medically advised and properly supervised, and exercising regularly can help prevent or reduce symptoms.
Bloating is a common occurrence and is usually short-lived, but if your bloating is persistent or is accompanied by bleeding, a fever, or vomiting, seek medical attention.