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What causes bloating?

Individuals may experience bloating or gas when the stomach feels distended, swollen or uncomfortable.

This article explores what bloated is, why we get it and why it can be persistent. It also shares ways to prevent bloating and remedies to soothe the stomach and help us get on with our daily lives.

What is bloating?

Bloating occurs when air is trapped in the colon or small bowel. This trapped gas can arise from swallowed air or from the fermentation of certain food. Gas in the intestine can be made up of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane.

Why do I get bloated?

Eating behaviours

Swallowed air that can lead to bloating can be caused by a number of factors, mainly revolving around eating behaviours; for example, eating too quickly and gulping food and drink, eating and talking at the same time, overeating, eating when hunched over or chewing gum with your mouth open.

Foods choices

Certain types of food are also known to cause bloating. Beans and onions are big culprits. Carbonated beverages, spicy food, cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, onions and dried fruits are also potential foods to monitor if you regularly suffer from bloating and wind.

In some cases, bloating is a symptom of food intolerance. However, it is important to note that there may be key nutritional benefits in many of the foods listed above and cutting them out should be done with caution.


Many women regularly experience bloating during premenstrual syndrome (PMS), caused by a change in the hormones, progesterone and estrogen. A fall in the levels of these hormones has been found to cause the body to retain water and salt, leaving the body feeling bloated. These symptoms often occur one or two days before the start of women’s periods, but they can be present up to five days before.

How can I reduce bloating?

There are a number of remedies and strategies that can be used to tackle bloating:

Eating behaviours

Chewing your food more will help you slow down and reduce the amount of air you swallow.

Be aware of behaviours that cause air and gas to be swallowed; for example, eating quickly, talking and eating at the same time and chewing gum. Avoid carbonated drinks to avoid adding additional carbon dioxide to your stomach.

Look for alternative foods that are more easily digested

Being prone to bloating from certain food groups doesn’t mean you have to give them up completely. Instead, look for alternatives and use strategies to make them more digestible.

  • Beans – Beans are well-known for their tendency to cause bloating. However, soaking them before cooking and adding a pinch of cumin or a bay leaf to the cooking water can reduce the amount of gas they create. Options, such as black-eyed peas, adzuki and mung beans, are also more digestible than some other varieties.
  • Wheat – Coeliac disease, which makes individuals highly sensitive to wheat and gluten, is often suspected. However, it is only experienced by 1% of the UK population. Eating wheat may just leave you with an uncomfortable bloated feeling. If so, try replacing it with oats, buckwheat, rice, quinoa or wheat-free flours. However, be aware that wheat might offer nutritional benefits, thus eliminating it should be considered carefully.
  • Green vegetables – If you find that leafy green vegetables lead to bloating, avoid eating them raw. Also, look for lighter vegetables that can offer similar nutritional benefits.
  • Dairy – Studies have shown that 75% of the world’s population will lose the ability to digest lactose at some point in their adult life. If dairy is causing you symptoms of bloating, look for dairy-free or lactose-free alternatives, such as soy, almond or rice milk. Be careful to check the sugar content in these products.

Natural remedies to ease bloating

There are a variety of natural remedies that have been suggested to ease bloating. Peppermint oil has a history of usage against digestive disorders. Recent evidence suggests that enteric-coated peppermint oil may be effective in relieving some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Do you experience bloating after CoolSculpting®

Coolsculpting® is the leading non-invasive treatment for targeted fat removal. It works by exposing fat cells in a localised area to freezing temperatures. This procedure destroys the cells, which are then naturally removed by the body’s own processes.

Patients can expect some mild redness or swelling in the area treated. Sometimes, this is also reported as a feeling of bloating. This bloated sensation can continue for up to three weeks after the treatment.

If you are exploring methods of fat removal, you can contact one of the numerous CoolSculpting® local clinics across the UK and book a free one-to-one consultation with a medical professional. They will explain how the CoolSculpting® procedure works and explore how it can help you with your fat loss goals.

Based on HCP tracking market research in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Brazil, China and Australia (n=526), and global market research of the overall body shaping and skin tightening market

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