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Why Am I Bloated? --- Causes and Top
10 Natural Remedies

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May 3, 2012, last updated April 30, 2013


By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist








Bloated, full and fed up of food? Feeling bloated is a curse, and
an uncomfortable condition many of us experience. You feel
bloated when your belly, or abdomen, is swollen, tight or
distended. Your belly may stick out like a balloon and feel
uncomfortably full.

You usually feel bloated if you overindulge over the festive
season, eat too much Thanksgiving dinner or have one too
many sodas. But for some people bloating can be a problem all
year round, causing embarrassment, discomfort and distress.

Bloating can be a chronic issue and result in significant
digestive distress. Many women feel bloated every month when
they have their period. Bloating can strike even if you’re
faithfully sticking to a diet and losing weight – when your
extended stomach puts a real downer on your weight-loss
progress. How can you get a flat stomach and cure your
uncomfortable bloating? What medical conditions cause
bloating and is it ever a sign of a serious problem? Which
natural remedies help beat the bloat?

What Are the Causes of Bloating?

Bloating is most commonly caused by gas in our bowel.
Surprisingly, we produce up to four pints of gas every day but
it is mostly released when we go to the bathroom, burp or pass
wind. Depending on what you eat, how much air you swallow
and what kinds of bacteria you have in your gut, you may
produce more or less gas. If you’re bloated, you’re probably
producing more gas than usual.

Or, your belly may be reacting to
constipation or irritable bowel
syndrome. Food intolerances and Celiac disease can also cause
uncomfortable bloating. As can overeating and weight gain.

Many medicines cause bloating as a side effect, including  
prednisone, clomid, Premarin, Nexium and any medicine that
contains lactulose or sorbitol.

Your bloating is highly likely to pass with treatment and no
further side effects. If you have no other bowel disturbances,
such as diarrhea, blood in your stools or weight loss, the
chances of an underlying disease are low according to
gastroenterologists at the Royal Free Hospital, London.
However, there are more serious disorders that can cause
bloating including ovarian cancer, pancreatic disorders, tumors,
laxative abuse and dumping syndrome.

What’s the key to a flat, un-bloated belly? We’ve checked out
the latest scientific research to find out which remedies help
combat that full feeling. Beat the bloat with the following Top
10 tips for healthy digestion.




























1.
Make Diet Changes to Reduce Bloating

Not surprisingly, what we put in our mouths affects how our
belly feels. Make a few changes to your diet and see if your
bloating subsides. For example, cut down on “windy” foods
that cause gases, like onions, broccoli, cabbage, beans,
Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Make sure you don’t cut out
all fruit and vegetables, however. Drink lots of water and stick
to a regular exercise routine.

Perhaps your bloating is caused by
Celiac disease, an
autoimmune condition affecting your digestive system. With
Celiac disease you can’t eat foods containing gluten because
gluten damages your small intestines and prevents you from
fully absorbing your food. One out of 133 people in America
have Celiac disease, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation.
A gluten-free diet means you can't eat anything with wheat,
barley or rye including pasta, malt extract, bread, semolina and
beer.

2.
Probiotics for Bloating

Probiotics are bacteria and yeast that are “pro” life and more
likely to benefit your body than cause it harm. Probiotics help
your digestive tract and can increase the balance of friendly
bacteria in your favor, reducing bloating. People who take
probiotics are less likely to suffer discomfort caused by gas,
such as bloating, according to a 2000 study from Lund
University Hospital, Sweden.

3.
Peppermint Oil Helps Beat Bloating

Peppermint has long been used as a remedy for digestive
discomfort and you can find relief from stomach ache,
constipation and nausea by drinking peppermint tea.
Peppermint oil is also useful for reducing bloating and
abdominal pain in
Celiac disease sufferers, according to a 1997
study from Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan. In
addition, fresh-smelling peppermint oil after C-section surgery
reduced bloating and discomfort due to gas, according to 2004
research from the Sabzevar Faculty of Medical Sciences,
Sabzevar, Iran.

4.
Cayenne Pepper Can Ease Bloating Discomfort

Spicy pepper may be something you steer clear of when you
suffer bloating. But it seems cayenne pepper, the red pepper
than gives your dishes a kick, can help reduce bloating,
abdominal pain, and nausea when compared to a placebo.
According to 2002 research from the Department of Internal
Medicine, University of Bologna, Italy 2.5g of red pepper
powder a day produced results.

5.
Stop Swallowing Air to Prevent Bloating

Too much air in your gut can cause problems with bloating and
gas. Try not to swallow too much air when you’re eating and
talking – sit down to eat and don’t slump, don’t talk and eat at
the same time, chew slowly and chew with your mouth shut.
You want to avoid taking in excess air, so cut down on the fizzy
sodas you drink.

Similarly, chewing gum causes a lot of air to enter the stomach
so you should avoid it when you’re feeling bloated. (Read more
about
bowel gas caused by swallowing air.)

6.
Treat Bloating Caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic problem with your colon
that causes bloating as well as alternating constipation and
diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and discomfort during
bowel movements. Many people with irritable bowel syndrome
report bloating to be worse in the evening. Bloating isn’t due to
excessive gas but more to do with the erratic way food passes
through the bowel.

Try peppermint oil capsules, cut down on fatty foods, and see if
alternative remedies can help. One remedy is Chinese herbal
medicine. Chinese herbal medicine significantly reduced the
symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, more than placebo,
according to a 1998 study from the Research Unit for
Complementary Medicine, University of Western Sydney
Macarthur, Campbelltown, New South Wales, Australia. (Read
more about
why IBS is on the rise.)

7.
Use Flaxseed to Beat the Bloat

Constipation can cause bloating. Reduce uncomfortable
constipation with flaxseed, according to 1997 research from
the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Tampere,
Helsinki, Finland. Ground flaxseed given daily for three months
meant fewer problems with constipation and bloating for the
55 research participants in the trial.

8.
Does Candytuft Cure Bloating?

Candytuft, or clown’s mustard, is a flowering plant from Spain
that is traditionally used to treat gout and arthritis. Today
candytuft is reported to be a remedy for gas, stomach
discomfort, bloating and belching. A 2007 study from Otto-von-
Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany showed
a candytuft treatment was effective in combating distressing
digestive system symptoms such as bloating and belching.

9.
Treat Premenstrual Bloating with Calcium

Bloating can arrive on clockwork every month, as a symptom of
premenstrual syndrome (PMS). One way of treating
premenstrual bloating, according to a 1998 study by St. Luke's-
Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University, New York, is
with calcium supplements. According to the results of the
research, 1,200mg of calcium a day reduced PMS symptoms like
bloating, mood swings, headaches and food cravings.

10.
Turmeric as Remedy for Bloating

Turmeric, the yellow-tinged spice commonly added to curries,
has a number of health benefits according to experts. One
health benefit is its reported ability to reduce the effects of
dyspepsia – a digestive condition characterized by bloating,
belching and abdominal pain. 500mg of curcumin, the active
ingredient in turmeric, four times a day gave full or partial relief
from these symptoms according to 1989 research from Siriraj
Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.







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Bloating can be relieved by several natural
herbs and spices, according to studies.