Everyone has experienced a bloated and distended belly at one point or another, whether because of illness or diet or something else. It's always uncomfortable and often painful. If the problem is temporary, there are a few quick fixes you can try to relieve the discomfort. If the problem is persistent, you might need to try some more drastic changes to your overall diet and eating habits. If you make the changes and the problem persists for longer than a few days, you should be seen by a stomach physician, especially if you're experiencing nausea or vomiting, blood in the stool, diarrhea, or constipation in addition to bloating. But let's start with the quick fixes first.
Sometimes a bloated belly is a result of trapped gases and stool in the bowels. One of the best ways to get things moving in your intestines is to participate in some kind of physical activity. Walking and yoga are both great ways to get the bowels moving and relieve trapped gas. Certain yoga poses can help position muscles in the abdomen in ways that promote gas release. Doing squats may also have a similar effect.
Like physical activity, abdominal self-massage can help promote the movement of the muscles responsible for gas release. Start down near the bone of your pelvis on the right side of your stomach. In a circular motion, rub all the way up to your ribs and then move across to the left side of your stomach and back down to the pelvic bone on the left, then move back up to the belly button. Continue the belly button rub for two or three minutes. Continue this self-massage pattern for ten minutes, always rubbing clockwise.
Adding more fiber to your diet can help you avoid bloating and the resulting discomfort. The American Heart Association recommends 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily, but most adults in the U.S. only get half that amount. The best source of fiber is soluble fiber, available in foods like oats; certain vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and avocado; certain fruits like pears, figs, and nectarines; and legumes like black beans, lima beans, and kidney beans. You might also want to consider a fiber supplement.
Foods to Avoid
Sometimes bloating is caused by certain foods. A diet high in salt can result in bloating, so avoid things like deli meats, cured meats, and canned foods, which often use a lot of salt for preservation. Also on the list of bloating culprits are foods with high acid content, such as pickles, coffee, and tomatoes. Also avoid foods with a high fat content, like butter and milk.
For more information, reach out to a stomach physician.
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