Bloating 

Man wring denim shirt lounging on a sofa, suffering from bloating

What is bloating? 

Bloating is one of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms in the world.

A bloated tummy is not a condition that is easily defined. When you're bloated, your abdomen is likely to feel stretched, puffy and uncomfortable. You might feel gassy too. It can be a very uncomfortable feeling. When a person describes the feeling of bloating, they may or may not be aware of an increase in abdominal girth. This visible change in the waistline is what is described as distention.

We can also differentiate a third symptom, with similar complaints – flatulence. This is frequent discharge of intestinal gases (more than 24 times a day). It is usually perceived as particularly unpleasant when accompanied by symptoms such as bloating and distension.

Gray haired physician, smiling kindly to blond hair woman, who sits in front of him and talks.

What causes bloating?

Bloating is usually caused by a disturbance in the intestinal motility or hypersensitive gastrointestinal nerves. Gases are naturally present in the intestines. Most often they come from air swallowed when eating too fast or speaking whilst eating, chewing gum or eating gas-forming foods. Secondly from the fermentation of food by bacteria in the intestines. Excess fermentation may also be facilitated by lactose intolerance, fructose or excessive consumption of sorbitol or insoluble fibre. 

Swallowed air contains mainly nitrogen and oxygen while gases from bacterial metabolism have a more varied composition including carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen and/or sulphur derivatives. The amount and type of gases from fermentation depend on the type of food consumed and the composition of the intestinal microbiota (the number and variety of species and strains of bacteria living in the intestines).

Some intestinal gases are absorbed into the blood and excreted when breathing out, while the rest is removed by the passing of wind. The volume of gas in the intestines is usually about 200 ml, and the total daily volume of excreted gases can reach 600 ml. A healthy person passes gas from a dozen to 24 times a day.

Abdominal symptoms may also be a part of larger functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. These are disorders that are not based on any organic cause (structural or biochemical) and include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia (FD). If your bloating is too bothersome, painful or accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation; please consult your health professional.

Deliciously looking green apples.

Can diet help with bloating?

If you suffer from bloating, taking a look at your diet and lifestyle is recommended. How and what we eat can increase gas production and cause more gas to accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract.

Most gases are generated by the intestinal bacteria fermenting certain complex carbohydrates and sugars. Fat and proteins are less gas-forming. It is also worth noting the way of eating and lifestyle. The formation of gases may be favoured by increased swallowing of air, for example during:

  • Eating in a hurry,
  • Speaking while eating,
  • Smoking cigarettes,
  • Chewing gum.

In the case of flatulence and gases, it is worth trying a diet based on food products that do not cause excessive gas production. The following list of foods is only a very general recommendation, as each person reacts differently to certain dietary components. The best thing is to listen to your body and avoid foods that cause unwanted symptoms such as bloating, distension and/or flatulence.

Mostly well tolerated foods include:

  • Meat, poultry and fish,
  • Eggs,
  • Vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes,
  • Zucchini,
  • Fruits such as grapes, berries, cherries,
  • Avocados,
  • Olives,
  • Rice,
  • Yogurt, kefir, buttermilk.

Introduce changes in the diet gradually, observing the reactions of your body so as to be able to exclude products that exacerbate your ailments.

In general, it helps promote your well-being to eat fresh, unprocessed food, without artificial additives such as dyes or preservatives.

How can Iberogast® help?

Bloating is often not diagnosed alone, as there are no precise methods of evaluating this symptom. The same amount of gas may not cause any symptoms in some people, while others experience it as a significant discomfort. Very often bloating is an element of so-called functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, such as irritable bowel syndrome or functional dyspepsia.

Iberogast® is a herbal medicine that can be used to relieve functional gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, gases, feeling of fullness, abdominal pain and cramps. It also has indications for the treatment of gastric discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia, which can often manifest themselves as chronic bloating and gases. Iberogast® targets intestinal dysmotility and calms hypersensitive gastrointestinal nerves in order to help relieve the symptoms of bloating and fullness.

Tips to relieve bloating

  • The volume of gases may increase by increased swallowing of air. Avoiding eating in a hurry, speaking while eating, smoking cigarettes and chewing gum could help ease bloating.
  • Eat right: If you suffer from bloating, revisiting your diet is recommended. How we eat and what we eat can increase gas production and cause more gas to accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract. Most gases are generated by the intestinal bacteria fermenting certain complex carbohydrates and sugars. Fat and proteins are less gas-forming. Having smaller more regular meals can also help.
A bottle of Iberogast on green background, surrounded by herbs

Iberogast® harnesses the power of herbs to relieve multiple functional digestive symptoms

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.