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Easy Ways to Reduce Bloating

By Vikas Chandra Das
22 November 2022, 11:56 AM

Bloating has been experienced by all of us at some point or the other. Some of us experience it more frequently than others. In some cases, only the stomach region feels bloated. In other cases, other areas of the body such as the face, hands and legs also feel puffy and bloated. Though not exactly debilitating, it does cause some amount of discomfort. However, if tackled in time, you need not worry about doctors, hospitalisation and the subsequent usage of your health insurance!

The immediate reason for bloating is either excessive gas in your stomach or water/fluid retention in the body, usually due to some particular food and diet issues. Bloating also occurs during the time of menstruation as well, due to hormonal changes in the body. There are some short-term remedial actions that one may take to get relatively immediate relief from bloating. However, if it is a fairly recurrent occurrence, it is also important to pinpoint the cause of bloating.

Ways to Get Quick Relief

Physical Exercise 

Physical exercises such as a walk (the brisker the better), light aerobic exercises and yoga give substantial relief to the bloated feeling. There are several yoga exercises that help relieve excessive gas build-up inside the abdomen. Yoga exercises such as the Pawanmuktasana are especially recommended. However, one should not undertake any brisk exercise or yoga immediately after eating.

Herbal Remedies

Commonly found items in the Indian kitchen such as pudina (mint) or ajwain (carom seed) also provide quick and temporary relief when taken orally. Be sure you do not have any allergies to them though before consuming it.

Over the Counter (OTC) Medicines

There are several over the counter medications, such as Eno, available at local pharmacies. However, it is best to consult a doctor before taking this.

Have a Warm Bath

This also helps as it relaxes the body, as a result of which the gastric system will begin to function more efficiently.

Gentle Massaging

When faced with bloating or flatulence, a gentle massage of the abdominal region can also help.

The More Permanent Solutions

While doing any of the above will provide rather quick relief from bloating, there are chances that it is something one faces regularly. If this is the case, one needs to try and ascertain the cause of it and make dietary and lifestyle changes in line with the causes.

Determine the Cause 

Bloating is very often caused by diet related issues – food allergies, lactose intolerance, too much salt or sugar in the diet, or excessive consumption of carbonated drinks. The process of determining the cause/s may be time consuming but worth it. One needs to maintain a food diary and eliminate those foods that were consumed on the day you felt bloated, one at a time. 

Avoid Carbonated Drinks

If carbonated drinks are the cause of your bloating, replace it with water, lemon juice or fresh fruit juice. The artificial sweeteners and sugar often present in carbonated drinks can lead to gas formation and bloating.

Drink Enough Water

Drinking enough water is the key to maintaining a healthy digestive system. In general, a normal healthy adult should consume at least 2 litres of water a day.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly is also equally important for good digestion and regular bowel movement. If you have been having a bloated abdomen on a regular basis, add an exercise routine to your day.  At the very least, one needs 30 minutes of exercise for your digestive enzymes to work efficiently. Increase this time gradually to 45 minutes to an hour.

Increase Fibre in Your Diet 

Very often the bloated sensation is due to a poor and sluggish digestion. Ensure there is enough fibre in your diet, such as salads, fruit and green vegetables. Use whole wheat products instead of refined wheat products. Switch to brown rice or unpolished rice. Baked potatoes with skin are also a good source of fibre. However, increase the fibre intake gradually as a sudden increase can also interfere with your digestion.

Eat Small Quantities and at Regular Intervals

Very often the bloated sensation is after taking a very heavy meal, which puts excessive pressure on the abdominal system, slowing down its natural working speed. Try eating smaller quantities and keeping the intervals between the meals smaller as well. Often a big gap between meals also contributes to formation of gas inside the stomach.

Eat Fruits and Salads Before Meals, Not After

This helps in two ways. Eating fruits and salads before your meal may help control the quantity of food intake. Fibres in the fruit and salad also aid the digestion process. This thus reduces the temporary bloating as well as the long-term accumulation of fat around the abdomen. Most health experts now advise keeping a 30- minute gap between fruit intake and the main meal.

Control Your Salt Intake

Excessive salt consumption often makes the body retain water, leading to bloating.

Consume Probiotics

These especially help if you are on antibiotic medication or eat a lot of processed foods. Common sources of probiotics in the Indian kitchen include curd, buttermilk, idlis, dosas, cheese, paneer, kalmegh and turmeric. However, if starting on these, begin with small quantities at first and gradually increase the intake. If you are lactose intolerant, and this intolerance includes cheese and paneer, avoid these as well.

Retraining of Abdominal Muscles

Sometimes the cause of bloating may be due to abnormal muscle movement in the abdomen, where the diaphragm descends while eating instead of the other way around. Sessions of retraining through biofeedback are known to help in this case.


Temporary relief from bloating can be obtained through light exercise, consumption of pudina or ajwain or OTC medication. However, if it is a frequent recurrence, one should ascertain the cause or the foods that aggravate the issue. Avoiding specific foods, eating small quantities at regular intervals, adequate water intake and a high fibre diet are some of the easily manageable remedies that one has recourse to.


1. What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose is a type of carbohydrate naturally occurring in milk. Inability to digest this lactose, is known as lactose intolerance. Inadequate production of the lactase enzyme by our digestive system leads to lactose intolerance.

2. What are carbonated drinks?

These are drinks that contain dissolved carbon-dioxide. Most soft drinks, energy drinks as well as soda fall under the category of carbonated drinks

3. What is the abdominal system?

The abdominal system forms a part of the digestive tract that consists of the liver, gallbladder, spleen, large intestine, small intestine and stomach.

4. What are over the counter drugs?

These are medicines you can purchase from a pharmacy, without a prescription from a registered medical practitioner.

5. What are probiotics?

These are live microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast that are beneficial to humans when consumed, or applied to the body as beauty products.

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