A great meal or libations with friends can quickly turn from fun and festive to a night full of frustration if bloat strikes. Abdominal bloating occurs when your belly becomes swollen with fluid or gas. The causes range from benign issues like food intolerances to serious diagnoses like cancer. According to Centura Health Gastroenterologist Dr. Ariana Greenwood, “If your bloating becomes more painful or frequent, it’s time to see your doctor.” The good news, for those milder cases, you can use some simple tricks and techniques to keep the discomfort from getting to bad.
In an interview with the publication POPSUGAR, Dr. Greenwood said, “Frequently bloating results from issues in your diet and it’s FODMAP foods are particularly problematic.” FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. As reported in the magazine, these are short-chain carbohydrates that, if poorly digested, ferment in your bowels, which according to Dr. Greenwood, “Causing you to bloat. High-FODMAP foods include things such as cauliflower, mushrooms, apples, and watermelon.”
Over-the-counter treatments like Gas-X and Beano can help by breaking up gas bubbles in your stomach and intestines. Exercise is another strategy. Whether it’s a walk or run, yoga, or a bike ride, anything that gets you moving can help expel the gas that causes pain. Two other strategies include a warm, relaxing bath or abdominal massage. But the doctor stresses the key to long term success lies in knowing the cause. And for many people, that answer is rooted in food. Sticking to a well-balanced diet, high in bloat-fighting nutrients like vitamins E and D, thiamine, and magnesium, is best. As mentioned in her POPSUGAR interview, Dr. Greenwood stresses to avoid FODMAP foods if they're causing you to bloat, “And carbonated beverages are another one to cut back on or even cut out completely.”