Stomach bloating is a widespread complaint in the UK and is most commonly characterised as a puffy stomach, but symptoms can also include heartburn, nausea and vomiting. It is primarily caused by overindulging in gassy foods, such as beans and onions, so cutting down on these culprits can help to beat the bloat. Stomach bloating can also be caused by constipation, a condition characterised by not passing stools regularly or you’re unable to completely empty your bowel.
How does bloating cause constipation?
If you’re not emptying your gut, there’s no room in your abdomen, and you’ll have excess bloating, according to Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
If you are experiencing bloating as a result of constipation, a seed-based remedy has shown to be effective.
A review investigating the uses of fennel for medicinal purposes has found that it has traditionally been used for digestive disorders, including abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and constipation.
Taken as an herbal tea blend has been shown to provide particular relief for constipation.
READ MORE: Stomach cancer symptoms: A burning sensation in this body part could signal the disease
Stomach bloating: Fennel tea has been shown to alleviate constipation, an underlying trigger
When nursing-home residents with chronic constipation drank one daily serving of an herbal tea blend made with fennel seeds, they had an average of four more bowel movements over 28 days than those drinking a placebo.
In addition, an animal study found that treatment with fennel extract helped protect rats against ulcers.
Evidence suggests that preventing ulcers may reduce your risk of bloating.
Other ways to tackle constipation
If you get constipation, a fibre-rich diet can help to fend off the condition, according to the NHS.
Coronavirus named: What does COVID-19 stand for? Coronavirus name meaning [INSIGHT]
How to get rid of visceral fat: Why this popular food may reduce the dangerous belly fat [TIPS]
Samia Ghadie health: ‘It’s like a daily battle’ Star’s crippling health issue [INSIGHT]
It’s important to get fibre from a variety of sources, as eating too much of one type of food may not provide you with a healthy balanced diet, says the health body.
Fibre rich foods include:
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats, barley and rye
- Fruit such as berries, pears, melons and oranges
- Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn
- Peas, beans and pulses
- Nuts and seeds
- Potatoes with skin
Drinking lots of fluids and exercising regularly can also help to beat bloating caused by constipation.
In fact, even a 20 to 30 minute brisk walk four times a week can improve your bowel function.
Stomach bloating: Exercise helps to strengthen abdominal muscles, encouraging bowel movements
How does exercise help to ease constipation?
Exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles, as Harvard Health explains: “Good muscle tone in general is important for regular bowel movements.
“The abdominal wall muscles and the diaphragm all play a crucial role in the process of defecation.”
The health site continues: “If these muscles are weak, they’re not going to be able to do the job as well.”
Research has also drawn an indirect but beneficial link between regular exercise and a reduced risk of constipation.
One study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology examined whether a lack of physical exercise increased an individual’s risk for constipation.
The researchers asked about a thousand professionals to answer questions about constipation, physical activity, and quality of life.
The results showed no correlation between physical activity and risk for constipation, but they did show that physical activity correlated with an increase in quality of life scores.
Since constipation is associated with a lowered quality of life, exercise may be beneficial even if it does not directly improve constipation symptoms.