Feeling gassy and bloated isn’t just uncomfortable – it’s downright embarrassing! If you work in an office environment or you’re often in the company of others, gas can make everyday life quite unpleasant.
If your belly often feels tight and swollen after eating, it could be due to gas in your stomach. This is usually caused by excessive gas production – often from your diet – or a sluggish digestive system. Bloating can be painful and make you feel full when you haven’t eaten much.
What Causes Excessive Gas in the Stomach?
The most common way for gas to enter your digestive tract is through swallowing air. We all swallow air when we’re eating or drinking, but we tend to swallow even more when we chew gum, drink fizzy drinks or eat too fast. If you don’t burp this gas out, it will move into your intestines and through to your bowels.
Another serious cause is bacteria and yeast in your large intestine. Your large intestine is where carbohydrates such as sugars, starches and fiber are broken down. It’s also where microorganisms like bacteria and yeast reside – both good and bad. The good bacteria work to break down those undigested carbohydrates in a process called fermentation. However, some types of bacteria may lead excess gas and bloating.
When you have excess bacteria in the gut, the gas they produce can build up and lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). These bacteria also convert foods like sugars and carbohydrates in large amounts that are irritating or toxic to cells of the intestinal tract.((Clin Transl Gastroenterol.: Brain fogginess, gas and bloating: a link between SIBO, probiotics and metabolic acidosis))
Dysbiosis can also be caused by Candida yeast overgrowth in the gut. Although a small amount of Candida yeast is normal, it can grow out of control and prevent your healthy bacteria from doing their job properly.((The Candida Diet: 11 Candida Symptoms & How to Eliminate Them))
How to Reduce Gas in Stomach?
If you find that you regularly suffer from gas, it’s important to examine what you’re eating.
However, there can be other causes, such as gastrointestinal infection, dysbiosis and even psychological influences such as stress. In other cases, it may simply be that you haven’t been active enough for the gas to move through your body as it normally would. This can occur with long-distance travel or sitting at a desk all day.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to reduce that gas – naturally.
Here’re 7 home remedies to help you get rid of gas in stomach:
1. Change Your Diet
This may seem obvious, but avoiding foods that cause gas could be the easiest remedy of all. Unfortunately, many people don’t make the connection between certain foods and their symptoms.
The most common culprits are vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts, cabbage and onions. Fruits such as apples and pears also tend to cause gas, as do legumes.
Wholegrain foods such as bran and most dairy products – especially milk and cream – are also difficult to break down in the gut, so they can cause more gas.((International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders: Tips on Controlling Gas))
Take note of the foods that cause you gas and try to reduce your intake. This may be the easiest way to reduce that bloating!
2. Chew Your Food Properly
Taking your time to eat your food slowly and drink slowly will help to reduce the amount of air you swallow. An easy way to do this is to put your fork down between mouthfuls.
Some people even like to count the number of times they chew each mouthful: around 32 times is recommended for breaking down food so that it loses texture.
If that’s too bothersome, simply focus on chewing your food to a mush before swallowing. Allow plenty of time for each meal, and don’t eat on the run.
And, most importantly, close your mouth while eating!
3. Try Natural Digestive Aids
There are many kinds of natural digestive aids available now in the form of over-the-counter supplements. These contain digestive enzymes which work with your body’s own enzymes, helping to make digestion faster and more efficient.
Certain types of supplements may contain the specific enzymes useful for breaking down complex carbohydrates in beans and other ‘gas-producing’ foods. Talk to a naturopath or health practitioner about a quality supplement that contains the right blend of enzymes to suit your diet.
4. Take Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is a safe, natural remedy for treating excess gas and bloating. This special type of charcoal has been manufactured in a way that makes it suitable for human consumption.
When you swallow the charcoal, it works by drawing toxins and fluid into itself so that they can be flushed out of your body. This helps to reduce gas and bloating, and also help move any irritants out of your gut.
Be sure to take activated charcoal with plenty of water and only use under the guidance of a health practitioner.
5. Take a Probiotic
Probiotic supplements are an effective means of supplying the ‘good’ bacteria that your gut needs to break down food efficiently.
Probiotics can also help to rebalance the bacteria in your gut if you are suffering from Candida or SIBO.
In fact, clinical studies have shown that certain probiotic supplements can help reduce the symptoms of gastrointestinal dysbiosis, such as excess gas and bloating. However, this can often depend on the type of probiotic strains in the supplement.
Look for a high-quality probiotic supplement that contains multiple strains of bacteria (including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) and a high CFU count. It may also be best to choose a dairy-free probiotic, as some people can be sensitive to dairy-derived strains of bacteria.((H S Gill, F Guarner: Probiotics and human health: a clinical perspective))
When shopping for a probiotic, also be sure to choose one that uses delayed-release capsules or time-release tablets to deliver its bacteria past your stomach acid. Most probiotics use vegetable capsules that are quickly destroyed in your stomach, negating most of their positive impact.((Balance One: 5 Red Flags to Watch out for When Buying Probiotics))
It’s also worth noting that you may experience higher levels of gas during the first few days of taking the probiotic: this is caused by the new bacteria being introduced to your gut. But this will reduce as you continue taking it.
Learn more about probiotics in my other articles:
- 7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation & Reviews)
- Possible Side Effects of Probiotics (And Why They Usually Pass)
6. Quit Artificial Sweeteners
Many diet products – especially those labelled ‘sugar-free’ – will contain high amounts of artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol or aspartame.
These can cause more gas in the gut because your body is unable to break down the structures. Sorbitol is also known to cause cramping and diarrhoea if taken in large doses. It’s also a major ingredient in sugar-free gum and diet sodas, both of which also cause you to swallow air and make the gas even worse!((Gastroenterology: Sorbitol intolerance: an unappreciated cause of functional gastrointestinal complaints.))
‘Sugar-free’ products tend to contain very few nutritional benefits and can in fact harm your health long-term – so they’re best avoided altogether.
7. Try Herbs
There are many wonderful herbs that help to soothe a bloated stomach and allow trapped gas to move out of the digestive tract.
One of the best is fennel seeds. Fennel seeds contain a compound that relaxes spasms in the smooth muscle of the gut, helping gas to pass. You can chew on the seeds directly or sip on a fennel tea after eating.
Peppermint and chamomile are two very helpful carminatives, which mean they ‘calm’ the gut. Peppermint and chamomile tea are widely available and can be drunk at any time to reduce bloating.
So there you go, 7 effective home remedies you can try at home to reduce gas in stomach!