8 Ways to Reduce Bloating Fast, According to These GI Doctors
The discomfort of a bloated belly is a feeling that most of us are far too familiar with. For some of us, we eat one meal and bloat fast, like a puffer fish. And for others, bloating happens as the day goes on. But why do we even bloat in the first place?
According to gastroenterologists Lisa Ganjhu, DO, of NYU Langone Health and Mohamad Erfani, MD of Essen Health Care, bloating can be triggered by a number of things, including chronic constipation, food intolerances, IBS, stress, and menstruation. Occasionally gynecological disorders (like ovarian cancer or fibroids) can "give a fullness feeling within the lower abdomen that feels like bloating," Dr Ganjhu says. That's why she encourages patients who experience significant change in digestive functioning to see a gastroenterologist or even gynecologist.
But for the most part, occasional bloating is normal. It can happen after sex, upon completing an intense workout, or first thing in the morning. Water retention — like when a person is on their period or consumes too much salt — is also a common reason for bloat, Dr. Ganjhu tells POPSUGAR.
But one of the most common causes of bloating is simply gas buildup, Dr. Erfani says. "This could occur when certain components in food (like grains, sugar in fruits, and dairy products) don't completely break down and get digested."
If you're looking to debloat fast, keep reading for tips to get rid of the belly bloat from Dr. Erfani and Dr. Ganjhu.
Note: If you're bloating regularly and/or have pain when you're bloated, be sure to speak with your medical provider for a checkup and proper course of treatment.
— Additional reporting by Leta Shy
How to Debloat: Drink Warm Water
Drinking warm water "may stimulate GI tract motion to help kind of move the gas out," Dr.Ganjhu says. Whether you choose to reach for a cup of tea or a cup of hot water with lemon, Dr.Ganjhu says to drink a form of warm water that suits your taste buds.
How to Debloat: Reduce or Eliminate Dairy
Many people feel belly discomfort after eating dairy — especially lactose-intolerant folks. The best way to avoid dairy-based bloating? Stay away from it, Dr. Ganjhu notes. "Probably good to skip the cheese, the tres leches, the cheese plate" to avoid excess gas, Dr. Ganjhu says.
How to Debloat: Move Your Body
Moving your body, whether it's a short walk or a brief yoga practice, can be helpful to move things along and get the gas out, according to Dr. Ganju. Here's a piece all about yoga postures to help, including squats, twists, and folds.
How to Debloat: Slow Down
Eating too quickly can cause air to be trapped in your system, Dr. Ganjhu says. So, chew slowly to minimize this effect. Along with eating too quickly, Dr. Erfani notes that drinking through a straw, chewing gum, and sucking candies can also contribute to extra air entering the digestive system.
How to Debloat: Drink More Water
Good old H2O helps flush out toxins and extra salt (which can be responsible for that puffy feeling) from your system, so remember to drink water consistently throughout the day. Keeping a water bottle with you at all times is a great way to ensure you're always filling up — check out a few of our favorite water bottles.
How to Debloat: Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol can make you bloated, and so can the happy-hour snacks. The extra salt load or extra carb loads may contribute to some of your bloating symptoms, Dr. Ganjhu explains.
How to Debloat Overnight: Focus on Quality Sleep
Sleep helps regulate your metabolism, so lack of sleep can make you feel sluggish in more ways than one. Dr. Ganjhu confirms, "Poor sleep leads to poor digestion because you're not really resting and the resting allows your body to heal and recover." Keep your body working at its best by ensuring you get seven to nine hours of sleep at night.
How to Debloat: "Avoid" Gas-Producing Foods
Reminder: this is only a list of foods that can cause gas. You can still eat them if and whenever you'd like — just be mindful that if they're a regular part of your diet, they could be responsible for some of your bloating.
Dr. Ganjhu says that a helpful trick to try is to chop and cook the veggies on this list to "help break down the cell wall" within these foods, which can help with digestion and therefore produce less gas.
- Brussels sprouts
- Carbonated drinks
- Fruits, such as apples, peaches, apricots, bananas, and pears
- Milk, milk products
- Artificial sweeteners found in sugar-free foods and products (sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol)
- Whole-grain foods