Stomach bloating is typically the result of a build up of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. This channel breaks down food as it is transported through the body, helping the body to absorb nutrients and flush out excess matter.
When this channel is obstructed by a buildup of gas, the digestive process is disrupted.
This produces symptoms such as an uncomfortable swelling in the stomach, otherwise known as bloating and cramps.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to ease gastrointestinal distress brought by a gassy buildup.
According to a study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, physical activity can help expel gas and ease the associated symptoms.
READ MORE: Best supplements for bloating: Three of the best supplements according to expert
Stomach bloating: Study found ten minutes of daily yoga eased gastrointestinal distress
The researchers noted that anyone trying to ease gas and bloating should learn about the benefits of regular exercise.
They also found that for gas relief, people should limit the amount of time they spend lying back in a recumbent or horizontal position.
Relaxation exercises have also been shown to relieve bloating.
One study, published in the journal Pain Research & Management, followed 25 teens with gastrointestinal distress and found that a one-hour instructional yoga session followed by four weeks of home practice with a video reduced their symptoms and pain.
The researchers noted that participants experienced this benefit with just 10 minutes of yoga daily over the course of the study.
The link between yoga and bloating relief may lie in the former’s ability to tackle stress.
Stress can interfere with the digestive process.
Speaking to NetDoctor, gut health specialist Dr Ashton Harper explained: “There’s evidence that the brain and the gut communicate with each other via numerous systems (neural, hormonal and immunological) and do not function independently.”
Dr Harper continued: “Because of this interconnected relationship it means that if one system is disturbed it will result in the other system being disturbed.”
Stomach bloating: Yoga helps alleviate stress, which can interfere with the digestive process
Other tips to alleviate bloating
Bloating can also be caused by an intolerance to eating certain foods.
According to the NHS, food intolerance can lead to bloating when:
Your bowel does not empty properlythe food causes gas to be trappedToo much gas is produced as a reaction to the food
“The most common foods to cause problems are wheat or gluten and dairy products,” explains the NHS.
What can be done to address it?
The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the problem food or cut it out completely, says the health site.
You should also keep a food diary for a couple of weeks, noting everything that you eat and drink and when bloating troubles you most, says the health body.
“Once you have an idea of which foods may be causing your symptoms, you can try excluding them from your diet one at a time and observing the effect this has,” advises the heath site.
Try cutting out the suspected food from your diet for two to six weeks and see if symptoms improve, it says.
“But do not get rid of food groups long-term without advice from your GP,” it warns.