After lavish or fatty meals, many people suffer from bloating. This can be accompanied by pressure in the abdomen, belching or wind. If you are prone to this, sometimes you will also feel like you have these problems after ordinary meals. Read here about what causes bloating or wind and what you can do about it.
Definition and Symptoms of Bloating
Bloating refers to any unpleasant feeling of "fullness". The stomach or intestine creates pressure. A typical symptom is the "bloated stomach". The upper abdomen or lower abdomen feel firm and bloated. Sometimes there is even a clearly visible bulge and your pants feel tight.
In addition to rich food, excess wind can also be responsible for this. This is either caused by digestion or by swallowing air into the stomach and intestine. In this case, in addition to the bloating you also experience wind and/or belching. Some people, who are prone to bloating, also suffer from other digestive problems. These may include diarrhoea, nausea, heartburn or loss of appetite.
When should you go to the doctor?
Mostly, bloating is unpleasant, but harmless. However, if you often suffer from symptoms of bloating, then you should check this with the doctor for safety's sake. This is especially true when, in addition stomach pain, there is pain in the lower abdomen or cramping. The doctor can then check whether there is a disease behind it, for example, a food intolerance. You should also consult your doctor where there is frequent diarrhoea, blood in the stool, unusually coloured bowel movements and unwanted weight loss.
Causes of Wind and Bloating
The classic cause of bloating and wind is rich meals. Too much, too sweet, or too greasy: this can cause the food to be digested insufficiently. Gases then form in the intestine, which cause the bloating. Every person is individually sensitive in a different way to certain food components.
Other Possible Causes of Bloating and Wind
- Intestinal flora: if the intestinal flora is disturbed, for example, after taking antibiotics, this can affect the digestion and cause bloating.
- Stress: On-going stress often has a negative effect on the digestive system and can cause sensitive people to suffer from stomach ache, bloating and wind.
- Incorrect eating behaviour: if you eat too much at one go, chew too little or eat too fast, you often swallow more air, which can lead to a bloated stomach.
- Illnesses and intolerances: In some cases, an illness can be behind the symptoms. Possible causes include irritable stomach, irritable bowel, stomach or intestinal inflammations, food intolerances, fungal infections or metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.
- Lack of exercise: exercise boosts digestion. Lack of exercise and prolonged sitting, on the other hand, can slow down the intestinal peristalsis and cause bloating.
- Drink and tobacco: nicotine and alcohol slow the intestinal movement and can promote various gastrointestinal complaints, including wind and bloating.
- Disposition: some people are inherently more sensitive to certain foods and more likely to suffer from digestive system problems than others. If this is the case with you, then the best thing to do is to read the tips below on how to support your sensitive digestion.
- Hormones: In the female cycle (often in the days leading up to the onset of the menstrual period) and during pregnancy, hormone changes can cause a bloated abdomen, wind and bloating.
- Foods: Indigestion can sometimes also occur when you eat unfamiliar food, for example when travelling. Also, bloating foods, such as cabbage or legumes, often have a particularly unpleasant effect if you are not used to them.
Often, several of the above causes come together. You can read about how to counteract these triggers in the tips below.
Treating Wind and Bloating
Bloating usually happens when food is not sufficiently digested. That's why the treatment is aimed at gently stimulating digestion and intestinal movement. Firstly, your own behaviour contributes to this. On the other hand, certain medicinal plants can also help effectively and gently.
Prevention: adjusting eating habits and lifestyle
Eating habits, lack of exercise or stress can be responsible for bloating. Small changes often help here, so that complaints do not happen at all or, at least, not as often. Read the tips below to help your digestion and prevent yourself from feeling bloated.
Herbal Active Ingredients Against Bloating and Wind
There are several medicinal plants that have a positive effect on bloating. Especially if you suffer from flatulence, tea with anise, fennel and cumin can resolve wind and cramps. In acute bloating and flatulence various extracts from medicinal plants can also help.
Tips and Home Remedies for Wind and Bloating
In addition to taking gentle, herbal remedies to aid digestion, you can also do a great deal to help prevent these complaints. Incidentally, the well-known treatment using digestive schnapps or digestive cigarettes is not recommended. Both can even aggravate your discomfort.
Supporting Your Digestion Through Lifestyle and Behaviour
- Eat in small portions, not too hastily and chew every bite well.
- Take note: When do these complaints occur most frequently? After food that is too fatty, too rich or too sweet? Or after foods that cause flatulence? Then avoid this trigger. If you are not sure what the cause is, then a food diary can help.
- Acute pain and cramps can often be relieved by a hot water bottle or light stomach massages.
- Avoid long sitting and constricting clothes.
- Take regular exercise. Walk as many distances as you can on foot, go for a walk daily or take the stairs instead of the elevator. This is often enough to effectively support digestion.
- The intestinal flora can be supported by pre-biotic foods (pre-biotics, not to be confused with pro-biotics). These contain certain types of fibre that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The pre-biotic foods include chicory, onions, wholegrain cereals, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks and most vegetables.