Natural bloating remedies are not hard to find but too much of the advice on what naturally relieves bloating is either so blindingly obvious it’s not helpful or so ridiculously complicated it’s not followable.
Lots of the advice on how to remove bloating fast naturally also fails to distinguish between different types of bloating.
This is a big problem because bloating is basically a catch all term for when our stomach feels full and distended but can actually be the result of:
- Excess gas in our gut
- Excess stomach acid
- Or fluid retention.
Natural remedies for bloating from gas may be unhelpful if our bloating is caused by fluid retention and vice versa.
The different types of bloating are also often associated with a range of other different symptoms including:
The best natural bloating remedies will therefore be different if we have for example gassy bloating with constipation or we have gassy bloating with acid reflux.
So to help you find natural bloating remedies that actually remove bloating fast for your personal bloating symptoms I have put together this practical guide to how to get rid of a bloated stomach.
Natural Bloating Relief Guide
The guide is basically everything I wish I’d known a long time ago about bloating – it would have saved me an awful lot of pain along the way – and covers different:
- Bloated stomach symptoms
- Different causes of bloating
- What foods help reduce bloating fast
- Other natural & home remedies to reduce bloating
- Anti bloat diets & why they may not work
- How to prevent bloating from coming back.
I do hope the guide helps you find the most effective natural bloating remedies for your symptoms. Please do let me know how you get on and what works best for you.
There’s lot of information in the guide – it’s all super useful stuff – but if you want to take action fast head down to the section on What Removes Bloating Fast Naturally.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor and this post does not provide qualified medical advice. Bloating can be a symptom of serious medical conditions and you should always seek medical advice if it persists or recurs frequently or you have any of the symptoms described here.
Table of Contents
What Is Bloating?
Bloating is, as mentioned above, a catch all term for when our stomach feels distended from the inside and when we have a clearly bloated belly from the outside. Bloating can make our normal clothes feel tight and can even leave others convinced – mistakenly – we are pregnant.
Now changes in the size of our stomach are a normal response to eating different foods and are a typical part of our menstrual cycle. But bloating can be extremely painful and a sign of significant problems with our digestive system and very serious diseases and so should never be ignored.
The first thing to do when we’re feeling bloated is to stop and try and break down what our actual symptoms are.
Bloated Stomach Symptoms
Bloated stomach symptoms can include :
- Strange rumbling noises in our belly
- Feeling constantly full
- Our belly being swollen and tender to touch
- Visibly increased belly size
- Our belly feeling twisted & “angry” inside
- Our belly feeling acidic and sore inside
Other symptoms that may be experienced alongside bloating include :
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen ankles and legs
- A puffy face
- Food coming up when we burp
- Acid reflux
- Frequent difficult bowel movements that don’t pass very much
- Difficulty peeing
- Burning sensation when we pee
- Itchy anus at night
- Itchy genitals
Our different combinations of symptoms can help us get to the bottom of what is causing our bloating and find the right natural remedy for fast relief.
If bloating symptoms last for more than two weeks or recur frequently or you experience a loss of appetite and weight loss or you are feverish, vomiting or passing blood, mucus or black stools or have any of the following symptoms you should see a doctor.
What Causes Bloating?
Common Causes Of Bloating
Bloating is caused by range of different problems.
It can “just” be excess gas or fluid retention. But sometimes bloating is actually a secondary symptom of the main problem e.g. constipation and tackling the primary symptom i.e. the constipation will relieve the bloating.
I’ll take you through below common conditions that cause bloating as a secondary symptom and point you to information about these conditions. Use the quick bloating symptom checker below to find information most relevant to you.
Then we’ll investigate the causes of “simple” bloating from gas and fluid retention including lifestyle habits and food before looking at quick natural remedies.
Please remember at this point I am not a doctor or medically qualified and this is just the information that helped me break down what my bloating felt like and recognise what other symptoms I had with bloating at different times. Again I cannot emphasise enough, you should seek medical advice if you have persistent or recurrent bloating symptoms.
Quick Bloating Symptom Checker
- Can’t poo, poop leakage : constipation
- Can’t pee or pain peeing : UTI
- Itchy genitals & pain peeing : yeast infection / thrush
- Itchy anus at night : pinworms
- Pre period : oestrogen imbalance
- Erratic, difficult, frequent bowel movements, poop leakage : IBS
- Acidic burping & heartburn : acid reflux
- Painfully inflamed tummy, gurgling : gastritis & ulcers
- Burping & farting : excess gas
- Swollen belly tender to touch, puffy face, swollen ankles / legs : fluid retention
Constipation is a common cause of bloating so it makes sense to relieve the constipation first. You can try the following tips for quick constipation relief naturally but the constipation may itself be a symptom of something else which needs medical attention.
If you have difficulty peeing or pain peeing in addition to bloating, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). You may be able to get relief with these natural UTI remedies but again you may need medical attention.
Yeast Infections / Thrush
If in addition to bloating you have pain peeing, irritated genitals, genital discharge or pain during intercourse you may have the yeast infection thrush caused by excess Candida yeast in our bowels. You may get relief with home remedies for thrush or may need medical treatment.
If you have an itchy anus at night there is a good chance your bloating is caused by pinworms. Pinworms – also known as threadworms – are very common in young children who generously pass them onto the rest of the family!! You can get medical treatment for pinworms but it is possible to get rid of pinworms naturally.
Bloating just before or during our period is commonly caused by a combination of constipation and fluid retention both of which are triggered by changes in oestrogen levels during our menstrual cycle.
You can use these tips to relieve constipation and the tips below to relieve fluid retention which usually comes with a tender, swollen tummy.
However, menstrual constipation, fluid retention and the resultant bloating may be caused by problems in our estrobolome, the part of our gut that manages oestrogen levels across our cycle.
There’s an excellent explanation of the estrobolome here and how poor gut health impacts oestrogen levels. The article includes useful practical tips on how to improve gut health to reduce bloating during periods.
Bloating, burping and flatulence are common symptoms of what is known as IBS.
There is not a complete medical consensus on treating IBS or its causes. Initial NHS advice is to change basic lifestyle habits – detailed below – whilst other medical researchers claim it is caused by either high FODMAP food or low gut bacteria:
- High FODMAP Food : advocates of the Low FODMAP diet claim IBS is triggered by a group of foods that generate gas in the lower intestine and that these should be avoided.
- Low Gut Bacteria : others scientists such as the British epidemiologist Professor Tim Spector focus on how low levels of gut bacteria cause digestive problems and recommend increasing food diversity rather than eliminating food groups.
This guide isn’t specifically about IBS but the lifestyle and dietary changes in the next section may help relieve bloating associated with IBS.
Bloating, gas and burping are often associated with Acid Reflux. Typically the burping brings up stomach acid that causes a burning pain – heartburn – in the chest. Frequent acid reflux and heartburn can be symptoms of GERD.
Gastritis & Ulcers
If you have excess gas and burping plus rumbling & gurgling noises and your bloated stomach feels persistently twisted, inflamed, gnawing or burning you may have gastritis which is excess gastric acid in the stomach. Gastritis can be caused by both stress and bacterial infections.
Stress can be a major cause of gastritis as high levels of adrenaline trigger gastric acid production. You may be able to relieve stress related gastritis with some of the lifestyle changes and remedies below.
We tend to think stomach infections always cause vomiting but they don’t and painful gas and bloating from gastritis can by caused by a number of bacterial infections including the common bacteria h pylori. Painful bloating caused by h pylori typically requires medical treatment such as antibiotics.
Prolonged gastritis from both stress and bacterial infection can cause ulcers which require medical attention.
For more tips on relieving gastritis check out these natural gastritis treatments.
Sometimes bloating with lots of burping and or farting is simply excess gas.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t painful but it does mean it will often respond to quick natural bloating remedies and simple changes in the food we eat and lifestyle habits that cause bloating.
This guide is full of quick natural remedies for bloating from excess gas so keep reading.
A swollen belly tender to touch, a puffy face and swollen ankles and legs are common symptoms of bloating caused by fluid retention. Fluid retention can be a symptom of serious medical conditions so as always take medical advice if it persists or recurs.
However fluid retention can also just be caused by food and lifestyle habits that can be easily changed and relieved by simple natural bloating remedies.
Lifestyle Habits That Cause Bloating
Some very common lifestyle habits – many of us are guilty of – can cause painful bloating from excess gas, gastric acid and fluid retention. These include :
- Over eating
- Bolting our food down too fast
- Not chewing our food enough
- Sitting down for long stretches of time
- Not moving around enough
- Being over weight
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Sugary carbonated drinks
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Guzzling drinks down all in one go so we pee it out rather than sipping so we can absorb it
None of us really need to be told these. We all know they are bad for us. And yes, they are dull. But if we are struggling with painful bloating and want our bloating remedies to work we have to tackle them.
There’s no point in doing complicated elimination diets if we don’t do the basics.
How Stress Causes Bloating
A bit of stress and anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. They keep us motivated and alert and can help us protect ourselves and family and achieve wonderful and exciting ambitions.
However, long term stress and anxiety can play havoc with our gut and cause painful bloating.
Stress and anxiety can trigger release of adrenaline which in turn triggers release of gastric acid in our gut. Constant adrenaline hits can result in excess gastric acid that causes painful bloating from gahttps://sloely.com/natural-gastritis-treatments/stritis.
Prolonged stress also raises our heart rate. A raised heart rate causes our muscles to tighten and our blood vessels to narrow. These can both contribute to bloating from constipation.
Poor Hygiene Habits That Cause Bloating
Painful bloating can be caused by gastritis from every day bacterial infections. This is especially true if we don’t eat enough of the good gut bacteria that fight off infection or we’ve been stuffing ourselves with sugar which undermines good bacteria.
So do make sure these poor hygiene habits are not contributing to your bloating:
- Not washing our hands properly
- Poor home hygiene – e.g. fridge, toilets, work tops
- Not washing out properly our zero waste water bottles or emptying them properly before refilling
- Poor pet hygiene
Social Media & Bloating
There is one other big habit that causes bloating and that is watching Rachel Maddow or Tucker Carlson!!
You think I am joking but I am not.
Many news channels and Twitter in particular are based upon addictive outrage. We keep going back for more because every time we get wound up by Trump or Biden or Boris Johnson we get an adrenalin hit.
The adrenalin hit is addictive. So we go back for another. And another. And another.
But as we’ve seen, adrenalin hits trigger the release of gastric acid in our stomach.
So obsessively checking Twitter or watching outrage TV may actually cause painful bloating. Who knew?!
So ditch them now. Your stomach will thank you – mine did – and your sanity.
Foods That Cause Bloating
Certain foods can without question cause bloating and lots of advice for relieving bloating involves eliminating or cutting right down on a wide range of food with for example a GERD diet or the low FODMAP diet.
But there are big downsides to eliminating whole food groups that all have nutritional benefits.
And for many of us there is one major type of food that causes bloating and we need to concentrate on that first and that is highly processed food.
Highly processed food is full of stuff our gut hasn’t evolved to digest easily including high levels of :
- Chemical flavourings
- Chemical preservatives
- Synthetic fats
Cutting down on these is always a major first step in reducing bloating from excess gas, gastric acid or fluid retention. We can then address some simple food habits that cause bloating without diving down the rabbit warren of complicated GERD or FODMAP diets.
Foods That Cause Gas
We are often told to cut down on “gassy foods” like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beans & onions that “cause gas” or food groups we are “intolerant” of like gluten and dairy.
But these foods are all packed with nutritional benefits so the last thing most of us need to do is cut them out.
And some scientists like epidemiologist Tim Spector argue it isn’t these foods themselves that cause painful gas. It is actually all the food we are missing that is the problem and specifically all the food rich in healthy gut bacteria.
We need friendly gut bacteria to digest our other food easily and without it our digestive system struggles.
Painful bloating from excess gas can be a big red flag that we are low on friendly gut bacteria.
So before we cut out “gassy food” the best natural remedy for bloating can be to feed our gut and there are simple tips on how to do this below.
However, some healthy food including high fibre vegetables and beans can cause painful gas and bloating if we do not eat them as part of a balanced diet. The problem again is not the high fibre food itself, it’s the protein, fat and carbohydrates we are missing. So if you are experiencing painful gas and bloating on a high fibre e.g. vegan diet do try to rebalance your diet and don’t:
- Have sudden increases of fibre intake
- Eat lots of high fibre food on its own
- Eat big bowls of bran.
Lots of us end up eating big bowls of truly disgusting bran for our breakfast because we are told we need more fibre to prevent constipation. But a big bowl of boring bran is not a healthy way to get it and can cause incredibly painful bloating. So skip the bran and eat a good range of different fruit and veg instead.
Foods That Cause Fluid Retention
A common cause of bloating from fluid retention is too much salt in our diet.
As so much salt is pre-added to processed food most of us aren’t aware just how much salt we’re already eating before we chuck yet more on at the table.
Lower salt levels can still cause bloating if we don’t have enough potassium in our diet because potassium helps regulate our sodium levels. There is a list of potassium rich food below.
Surprisingly, dehydration can also be a cause of fluid retention. So do make sure you are sipping plenty of fluids – but not guzzling them all in one go – throughout the day.
What Naturally Relieves Bloating Fast?
We do have to tackle the underlying causes of bloating to get rid of it properly but there are also quick things we can do to naturally relieve bloating pain fast. These include quick home remedies, soothing & healing foods, smoothies and herbs and spices.
Quick Home Remedies To Relieve Bloating
These quick home remedies to relieve bloating can all reduce bloating symptoms fast for bloating from gas, fluid retention and gastric acid. These are my go to remedies when I have bloating :
- Drink kefir
- A cup DIY herbal tea with anti-bloat herbs like ginger or chamomile
- A quick anti-bloat smoothie
- Go for a mile long walk daily
- Give yourself an abdominal massage
- Practice breathing exercises for stress
- Practice these very simple anti bloat yoga poses
These home remedies for bloating will start healing your gut instantly, shift gas itself and help break the stress cycle in our gut in which we tense up because of the bloating which in turn makes our bloating worse.
Another handy quick home remedy to relieve bloating from gas is bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). Simply drink a tea spoonful in a glass of tepid to cool but not cold water.
What Foods Instantly Reduce Bloating
One big difficulty we have when we are bloated is that eating aggravates bloating but so does NOT eating!!
So when we are painfully bloated we do need to try and keep eating a balanced diet even if in the very short term it’s based on a smaller number of very gentle foods.
The following gentle foods can help instantly ease the pain of bloating from excess gas, gastric acid and fluid retention :
- Natural yoghurt : without added sugar.
- Kefir : this fermented milk may sound like a fancy fad but I have found it incredibly helpful. My milkman delivers this kefir in glass bottles with our other milk and it goes in porridge and smoothies for fast relief.
- Apple cider vinegar : another fad I know but many people find sipping a glass of tepid water with 2 dessert spoons of ACV first thing every morning eases and reduces bloating fast.
- Bone broth : again it sounds like a fad but is instantly calming and healing and can be drunk on its own or in a simple soup.
- Green vegetables : lettuce, fennel, cucumber, spinach, zucchini, kale, bok choy, rocket, collard greens, green beans. I find them kinder gently cooked rather than raw.
- Other vegetables : aubergine, carrot, parsnip, radish, rutabaga & spaghetti squash can all be gently roasted. They’ll keep everything moving but aren’t gassy.
- Fruit : berries, melon, grapes, pineapple.
- Meat : white meat cooked simply and plainly without sauces.
- Fish : plain white fish cooked plainly in the oven.
- Nuts & seeds : a small handful of almonds, peanuts or macadamia nuts can be soothing as a snack and can be blended up in a quick green soup.
Foods To Reduce Water Retention
If you have bloating from fluid retention you can also get relief fast from foods that are:
- Natural diuretics
- Or potassium rich.
Good natural diuretics include : asparagus, fennel, cucumber, celery, zucchini, spinach, lemon, water melon, peaches, beetroot (beets), pineapple, pumpkin seeds, figs, watercress, cherry, pistachio, garlic, onion, tomato.
Potassium rich foods include : avocado, bananas, potatoes, pumpkin, beetroot, mushrooms, pears.
Now some of these foods are typically believed to aggravate gas e.g. garlic & onions or gastritis e.g. tomatoes and so they are suggested specifically for relieving bloating from fluid retention and not if you’re burping and farting excessively or your stomach feels angry and twisted.
Foods To Ease Gastritis
Bloating from gastritis can make eating painful and uncomfortable especially if you have ongoing stomach inflammation that your doctors can’t explain or treat with antibiotics.
In this situation it can be tempting to eat very little but this can obviously create other problems such as tiredness and fatigue and more pain because our stomach has nothing to digest.
Alternatively, we may be tempted to jump straight into a gastritis diet but these diets are often focused on a long term healthy, high fibre diet rather than what to eat in the short term if you have an attack of painful gastritis. Some people find lots of fibre actually aggravates the pain.
I found the best food to ease a gastritis attack are the gentle foods listed above in what food Instantly reduces bloating and especially the kefir PLUS some very simple starchy carbohydrates including white bread (yes white bread!!!), baked potatoes and bananas.
Carbohydrates and white bread in particular obviously have a bad name right now and generally – as my family is at high risk of diabetes – we tend to eat a lower carb diet.
BUT there is white bread and there is white bread.
Simple, slow risen bread made from flour, yeast, olive oil and salt will not have the same impact on our digestive system as sliced white “bread” with all these weird and wonderful ingredients :
“Fortified British Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Water, Yeast, Salt, Rapeseed Oil, Spirit Vinegar, Preservative: Calcium Propionate; Soya Flour, Emulsifiers: Mono- and Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids; Palm Oil, Flour Treatment Agent: Ascorbic Acid“
So if you have non-specific gastritis – i.e. your doctor can’t find a specific infection like h-pylori to treat – do give the kefir a go. It is full of bacteria that can help our gut heal itself but is very gentle.
And then to try stick to regular small balanced meals from the what food Instantly reduces bloating list plus small amounts of the very simple carbohydrates to help you fill up as not eating enough, skipping meals and fasting can make the pain worse.
Herbs To Reduce Bloating
We are often told to avoid spicy food to reduce painful bloating but in fact many herbs and spices have traditionally been used as quick natural bloating remedies for bloating from gas, water retention and gastritis.
Simply add these herbs and spices as garnishes to food that reduces bloating or to smoothies or make simple tea by seeping them in boiled water for a few minutes.
Again I have split up the remedies between the all rounders for easing bloating and then the specific remedies that relieve gas, water retention or gastritis.
Herbs & Spices To Relieve Bloating
- Fennel seeds
- Mint (avoid mint if you have acid reflux)
Herbs & Spices To Relieve Gas
- Cayenne pepper
Herbs & Spices To Reduce Water Retention
- Cilantro (coriander)
Herbs & Spices To Ease Gastritis
Smoothies To Reduce Bloating
Smoothies can be a wonderful way to reduce bloating fast naturally as we can pack in all sorts of nutritious stuff and you can even make them with gut nourishing kefir.
Anti Bloat Smoothie
This anti-bloat smoothie is one of my absolute favourite quick natural bloating remedies especially post Christmas if my angry gut is struggling with gas, water retention and inflammation!!
I have also found it helpful if I’ve not neglected my gut biome a bit and I have got a big of a bug I’m not handling that is making my belly boat feel uncomfortable.
Do give it a go …
Smoothies To Relieve Gas
This digestive smoothie does involve some ingredients you won’t have in your cupboard but it can be a nourishing way to feed your gut and relieve gas …
Smoothies To Reduce Water Retention
These diuretic smoothies to reduce water retention can all help with bloating. They include different fruit and vegetables so you can use them to get a good mixture that feed your gut and help it look after itself better whilst you are getting rid of your bloating …
Smoothies To Ease Stomach Inflammation
This is a wonderfully simple smoothie to ease stomach inflammation when your gut is feeling angry and twisted …
How To Prevent Bloating Naturally
If you struggle with recurrent bloating, you should definitely seek medical advice to ensure it isn’t a symptom of a serious disease or condition that requires medical treatment.
But if there isn’t an underlying medical problem causing bloating there are lifestyles changes we can make to help prevent painful bloating naturally and these changes are actually very simple anti bloat habits rather than incredibly complicated anti bloat diets.
Why Anti Bloat Diets May Not Work
Some people do believe they have relieved bloating through anti-bloat diets such as FODMAP that eliminate all sorts of natural food including a range of fruit and vegetables.
But many of us trying to relieve bloating are also juggling all sorts of other issues from diabetes and high blood pressure to headaches and psoriasis at the same time as wanting to reduce our weight.
And elimination diets have snowballed so much in recent years, that there are now different elimination diets for all of these from Keto and GERD to Paleo and Gluten Free to name but a few. They are often totally contradictory so a food group or vegetable you’re encouraged to eat in one is totally forbidden in another.
But all of these diets do have something in common : they encourage obsessive behaviour about food that can actually feed anxiety and stress. And they encourage us to dive into the detail in a way that really does stop us seeing the wood for the trees.
One might even think they were a deliberate distraction because the five big issues that cause most digestive and weight problems for most of us today are :
- Eating highly processed food we’re not evolved to digest rather than simple home cooked balanced meals rich in a wide range of fruit and vegetables
- Lack of activity & movement
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Low levels of gut bacteria
- Living in a state of constant stress with poor sleep habits.
Adopting just 12 very simple anti-bloat habits can help address these.
Simple Anti Bloat Habits
Our digestive systems and our body chemistries do not all work in exactly the same way but these 12 simple anti bloat habits really can help prevent bloating naturally :
- Go for a walk every day.
- Get up and move round for 5 minutes every 40 minutes.
- Cook your own unprocessed food as much as possible.
- Enjoy a wide range of fruit & veg …
- … but balance meals with a wide range of carbs, protein & fat.
- Drink kefir & eat fermented food.
- Take time to eat slowly, chew properly and value meal times.
- Flavour food with herbs & spices that help digestion e.g. ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, parsley, turmeric, mint rather than salt.
- Sip digestive herb teas to help stay hydrated.
- Build simple stress relief activities into every day.
- Practice relaxation exercise for 5 minutes daily.
- Learn how to slow down.
I really do hope these natural bloating remedies help you reduce painful bloating quickly and prevent it recurring.
Please do let me know how you get on and what works best for you.
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Original image sources : rawpixel.com, Raspberry berry and mint leaves, close-up on white