3 Remedies for a Bloated Stomach

What you eat can trigger bloating. Learn the preventive measures and steps you can take to do away with the bloat.

Woman holding her abdominal area with both hands.

Are you looking forward to celebrating good times with delicious food and the company of family members and friends? It is not wrong to indulge, but your food consumption can sometimes trigger digestive issues such as a painful or bloated stomach.

It’s worth noting that bloating can also indicate underlying, more severe medical conditions. Here are a few causes of a bloated stomach and three ways to remedy the disorder effectively.

A woman putting food into her mouth using both hands
Eating too fast will inhibit the absorption of gut bacteria-digesting carbohydrates.

Gastrointestinal Flatulence 

This symptom relates to indigestion and presents with belching, hiccups, nausea, or a bloated stomach. Specifically, it involves a fermentation process of carbohydrates by gut bacteria.

However, excessive fermentation can occur if carbohydrates are not digested properly. It can be due to several reasons, such as eating too fast, intolerance towards certain foods, or a gastrointestinal (GI) disease. 

Digestive Obstruction 

Various solids, liquids, or gases can accumulate in your digestive system if there’s an obstruction in the digestive tract. In addition, damage to the muscles that move these substances can also lead to a build-up.

It usually happens for several reasons, including constipation and bowel blockages. Constipation is associated with your diet or lifestyle factors. Subsequently, backed up waste in the colon results in digested foods remaining in the intestines for a longer time, contributing to bloat.

Stenosis – a narrowing of the spaces within your spine – hernias, strictures, tumours, and scar tissue will also congest the small and large bowels, restricting bowel movement.

Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can also injure your small bowels. Consequently, this creates strictures that limit the passage of digestive substances.

Hormonal Changes 

A bloated stomach is common in women before and during menstruation as well as pregnant women. It’s also normal for women who experience hormone fluctuations during perimenopause. In both circumstances, bloating can be attributed to the role of oestrogen, which induces water retention.

When oestrogen levels spike and progesterone levels drop, bloating will transpire. These hormones can also aggravate intestinal gas production by speeding up or slowing down motility.

Spleen and Stomach Disorders 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) states that bloating results from liver qi stagnation or cold stagnancy and weakness in the spleen and stomach. Symptoms of liver qi (vital energy) stagnation include frequent sighing and flatulence on both flanks, annoyance and irritability.

Weakness in the spleen and stomach is evident through exhaustion, drowsiness after meals, a pale complexion, and soft stools during bowel movements. Cold stagnancy, meanwhile, appears as worsening of abdominal bloat after consuming a cold beverage, and partial relief of bloat after consuming a warm beverage.

A woman drinking a cup of tea as she sits in a chair
Drinking a herbal tea that’s infused with tangerine peel and hawthorn berries can address stomach bloat.

3 Steps to Do Away with a Bloated Stomach 

A three-step approach that involves switching up your dietary consumption and using herbal formulations or ingredients can be useful in relieving the post-feasting bloat. 

Change the way you eat 

It’s good for you to consume three to five portions of fruits and vegetables daily. However, it is advisable to avoid those that stimulate bloating. A study in 2017 shows that these include broccoli, cabbage, onions, and sprouts, which are high FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) known to induce gas production.

Likewise, reduce the intake of bread, carbonated beverages, and cakes. Also, steer clear of starchy foods like taro and potatoes. If you wish to consume high-fat or fried foods, eat them at separate times. These foods are harder to digest and can generate gas easily if they stay in the intestinal tract for a prolonged period. 

Take herbal medications 

Specific body constitutions will require unique formulations to prevent or alleviate bloating. According to Eu Yan Sang physician Lee Shin Wei, for people with a spleen qi deficiency causing accumulation of cold-phlegm and qi stagnation body constitution can benefit from Bu Qi Jian Zhong pills .

Those who benefit more are those with flatulence, belching, nausea, loss of appetite, loose stools and a tongue with a dense white coating on the surface. Ingesting it will help remove heat from the body and increase the stomach’s digestive capacity.

An Ji Le capsules are beneficial for people with loose excrement, diarrhoea because of weather changes, or heaviness of the head and body due to surrounding dampness. The capsules work to relieve the discomfort by removing dampness and strengthening the spleen simultaneously.

So Hup pills are recommended for mothers who are in the postpartum period. The pill helps to remove gastrointestinal dampness and increase the body’s blood and qi circulation. People with nausea, soft stools and menstruation-related diarrhoea can also use this herbal medication.

Ley Joong pills, on the other hand, are appropriate who are sensitive to cold temperatures or experience abdominal pain after consuming cold beverages. 

Drink herbal teas  

A tea that’s fused with tangerine peel and hawthorn berries is generally suitable for all physique types. “It can help increase digestive capacity and reduce the burden on gastrointestinal digestion”, says physician Lee.

“Ginger jujube tea is suitable for those who like cold drinks but have a spleen and stomach deficiency. It helps to increase stomach yang, as well as improve nutrient absorption and digestion.”  

Be mindful and pay attention to what and how much you eat can help fend off a bloated stomach. If you do let yourself go, take comfort in knowing that making dietary and lifestyle changes will ease the problem. Do speak to a TCM practitioner prior to using herbal medicine to better identify which medications are suitable for your body constitution.

References

  1. Cleveland Clinic. Bloated Stomach. [online][Accessed 24 January 2022]
  2. NHS. Beat the bloat. [online][Accessed 24 January 2022]

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