Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) commonly report bloating and gas symptoms. Bloating is often described as a distressing symptom associated with IBS. Gas and bloating can have a considerable impact on normal daily function and self-esteem. To live a comfortable and pain-free life, it’s important to look at some of the best ways to get rid of bloating.
IBS bloating happens when there is a buildup of excess gas, trapped in the intestines, causing abdominal pressure and fullness. It can develop for multiple reasons such as high FODMAP foods, a previous infection that upset the intestinal microbiome, and constipation. Bloating can be extremely unpleasant and can limit the ability to perform normal daily activities and can make clothing feel tight and uncomfortable. The distended intestinal wall can also trigger pain receptors in the abdomen, adding to the discomfort. Bloating related to IBS can be treated and future instances prevented. Remedies to get rid of a bloated tummy include simple lifestyle modifications and/ or medications. Bloating may also occur as a temporary side effect of IBS treatments — it is important to communicate any aggravation of symptoms to your IBS care provider.
Why Are People with IBS Often Bloated?
IBS is one of the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal disorders, although the exact cause of IBS is unknown. It is a chronic condition and the symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, and sometimes both. Those with IBS constipation tend to suffer from bloating more often than others. This constipation results in the stool staying longer in the colon, which gives the bacteria more time to ferment. This can cause excess gas, that can become trapped and contribute to bloating.
Another cause of IBS bloating is an imbalance in the gut microbiome. Generally, a group of beneficial bacteria live in our intestines. They help to digest food and build immunity. This is known as our gut microbiome. Sometimes an imbalance can occur due to antibiotic use, dietary patterns, stress, and anxiety. In addition, consuming certain high FODMAP foods eaten by our gut microbiome can also cause IBS bloating and gas.
Bloating is seen to result from increased gas production due to bacterial fermentation of undigested short chain carbohydrates, delayed gas transit, and heightened sensitivity of the gut to normal luminal gas volumes, or dysfunctional abdominal wall musculature.
What Foods Trigger IBS Bloating?
When treating IBS symptoms, it’s important to remember that various foods can increase IBS bloating. Feelings of bloating and gas are best avoided managing our diet. A managed diet is the best way to get rid of bloating.
Foods to Avoid:
Dietary fibre is one of the foods that get rid of bloating and can help treat certain symptoms of IBS. However, if it is consumed in large amounts, especially if the patient has not been it eating it previously, it can also cause IBS bloating and gas. Dietary fibre is considered one of the top offenders when it comes to IBS bloating and gas. High-fibre foods such as beans, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables can create excess gas production. Hence, it is important to slowly increase our consumption of dietary fibre. This will allow our digestive system to get used to it. Soluble fibre supplements are also an option, as they may not have as many undesirable symptoms as the high-fibre FODMAP foods. It is advisable to take the supplements with plenty of water. Fibre with psyllium is recommended for those with IBS over fibre with bran.
Dairy products and wheat
If you are lactose intolerant, dairy products can cause bloating. If you are sensitive to the fructans in wheat, it can also cause bloating. It is recommended that patients eliminate these foods and see if there is an improvement in their symptoms.
Many who have IBS notice bloating and gas if they consume artificial sweeteners such as fructose and sorbitol. Artificially sweetened foods and carbonated drinks are best avoided as they can increase the gas in our intestines.
Here’s a quick list of some foods that can make IBS-related constipation worse, and are best avoided:
- Breads and cereals made with refined (not whole) grains
- Processed foods such as chips and cookies
- Coffee, carbonated drinks, and alcohol
- High-protein diets
- Dairy products, especially cheese
How to Reduce IBS Bloating or Get Rid of It?
First and foremost, through proper diet. Here are some other recommended options:
- Probiotics – Probiotics are a mixture of live bacteria and/or yeast that confer a health benefit. They are considered good bacteria and help us to stay healthy. Probiotics and fermented foods are believed to improve health. In the gut, these probiotics are thought to help restore the balance of “good,” healthy microbiome and give some IBS bloating relief. Your IBS care provider can recommend a probiotic supplement or yogurt with live, active cultures, and the target amount to be consumed each day.
- Antibiotics – Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) indicates the presence of excessive bacteria in the small intestine. SIBO, although rare, is believed to be one of the factors that causes IBS bloating. In order to rid the system of certain bacteria, your medical doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics. This would help provide IBS bloating relief.
- Peppermint oil – Peppermint oil has been used for hundreds of years as an herbal remedy for various problems. Recent studies have shown that peppermint oil can help with common IBS symptoms like constipation, bloating, and gas. In fact, some research shows that it can be more effective than fibre to get rid of bloating. A course of enteric coated peppermint oil can provide some IBS bloating relief. Peppermint is also known to cause heartburn. It is always advisable that you speak to your IBS care provider regarding any herbal supplement.
Bloating along with gas are often experienced by those suffering from IBS. This is due to the build-up of trapped, excess gas in the intestines. The good news is that you can get rid of bloating to a large extent by consuming carefully chosen higher fibre foods and by taking supplements such as probiotics and peppermint oil. Foods that get rid of bloating however can also lead to temporary bloating as a side effect, so it is important to seek guidance. An IBS health care provider can assist in guiding the patient on the proper way forward and to find the best way to get rid their bloating.
Sources: Healthline, WebMD, Cleveland Clinic