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Bloating and Gas in Your Belly? Strategies for Relief

Bloating and Gas in Your Belly?

Strategies to Get Short-Term and Long-Term Relief from Abdominal Gas and Bloating Pain

Bloating and Gas in BellyAbdominal bloating or gas can strike at any time and for a variety of reasons. When it does, it can make your life miserable. There are, however, steps that you can take to get some immediate relief and to reduce the risk of repeated distress.

What Are the Common Causes of Abdominal Bloating?

Abdominal or intestinal gas is simply a part of life. Most of us experience it on some level virtually every day of our lives. It’s a natural by-product of the chemical process whereby our food and beverages are broken down to provide us with essential nutrients. The gas that builds up is usually “passed,” either through belching or flatulence. When you have excessive gas that gets trapped in your belly, though, it can put pressure on your insides. You can feel like an overinflated balloon, experience cramping, and even be subject to lightheadedness.

There are a number of ways that you can generate excessive gas in your stomach:

  • It can often be caused by your diet—Typically, abdominal gas is a sign of an imbalance in your diet. You may have eaten too much fiber or you may have consumed very fatty foods. When there’s a significant imbalance in your diet, it can lead to constipation, which further traps gases inside your body. The balance may come from overeating or from failing to ensure that you have a balanced diet.
  • You may be swallowing too much air—This may happen for a number of reasons, such as eating or drinking too quickly, consuming carbonated beverages, smoking or chewing gum.
  • You may have a medical condition—You may be among the many who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or lactose intolerance

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Abdominal Gas or Bloating?

Before an attack becomes debilitating, you will typically notice:

  • A tenderness or feeling of pressure in your belly
  • Discomfort or pressure on one side of your stomach or the other (known as flank pain)
  • Discomfort or pressure in your back (upper or lower)
  • A dull ache or a stabbing pain in your stomach

How Can Physical Therapy Help Bring Relief from Abdominal Gas and Bloating?

A physical therapist can perform a pelvic examination, initially to determine whether there are any adhesions (connection of fibrous tissue caused by inflammation) which may be impeding normal bowel function. A physical therapist can also do a thorough examination of your pelvic floor to determine whether there is any weakness or other physical condition that is compromising bowel function. A physical therapist can design exercises to help you strengthen muscles to facilitate bowel control and bowel movements.

How a Bowel Massage Can Alleviate Bloating and Gas

Based on the assessment, a physical therapist may recommend and/or perform an abdominal massage targeted at your bowels. This procedure typically starts with gentle strokes along your abdomen that activate the nerves in your large intestine. Next, the therapist will massage the small of your back and around the sides of your abdomen. Each massage is usually repeated about 10 times.

Other Things You Can Do on Your Own to Treat Abdominal Bloating and Gas

Pay close attention to your diet and try to get a good balance of carbs, protein and fats. Regular exercise can also improve bowel function. Something as simple as going for a walk can help alleviate your discomfort.

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