Bloating and IBS: 8 tips on how to get rid of bloated stomach


Bloating and abdominal swelling are very common symptoms of IBS. Bloating can often worsen during the day to the point that some people look pregnant and must wear stretchy clothes to get through the day. For others, it may be the feeling of being bloated that is the worst. Pain associated with bloating is common. This abdominal swelling is slightly more common in people with IBS and people with constipation.

What causes bloating?

Bloating can be caused by gas in the intestines. Most of the gas is swallowed air and the rest is due to gases produced by the intestinal bacteria when they ferment the food that we cannot absorb. Certain carbohydrates, so-called fermentable carbohydrates, are fermented by intestinal bacteria. In the fermentation process, however, the intestinal bacteria not only produce gases but also short fatty acids that strengthen the intestinal mucosa. This in turn allows the absorption of minerals and nutrients to increase and the absorption of harmful substances to decrease. Depending on the composition of the intestinal bacteria in the large intestine, abnormal fermentation of carbohydrates can sometimes occur.

IBS and bloating

It is more difficult for people with IBS to get rid of the gas. This is because the transport of gases can be less efficient, causing the gases to build up in the intestines and lead to bloating, sometimes pain, and discomfort.

Tips that can reduce bloating

1. Pay attention to how you eat

When swallowing large bites and talking while eating, more air can enter the body which can lead to bloating.

2. Limit consumption (but not completely exclude) of foods that can cause bloating

These include peas, cabbage, nuts, beans, lentils, cauliflower, and garlic, but also grapes, plums, or milk.

3. Eat less energy-dense or fatty meals

Fat takes less time to break down than protein and carbohydrates, so it stays longer in the stomach and causes symptoms to last longer time.

4. Do not drink fizzy drinks

If you already have difficulty getting rid of gas, you should not add more gas. Avoid drinks such as soda, carbonated water, sparkling wine, beer, etc.

5. Avoid products sweetened with artificial sweeteners

The most commonly found artificial sweeteners are sorbitol, mannitol, or xylitol, for example, in chewing gum.

6. Introduce daily physical activity

Even as much as just 30 minutes of physical activity (according to your own ability) can contribute to better-functioning bowel movements.

7. Try including more fiber-rich foods in your diet

Include different types of fruits and vegetables, but also bran, oatmeal, or flaxseeds.

8. Try herbal teas

Herbal teas can also help calm your digestion. You can try, for example, chamomile, lemon balm, linden flower, or mint.

Has bloating been bothering you for a long time or does it return regularly? A disease can also be the culprit. Your doctor will best determine your diagnosis. These symptoms are often associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Learn more about IBS on our website.