Everyone experiences gas and bloating—it’s a fact of life. Generally, the human body produces anywhere from one to four pints of gas in a day! While the production of gas is a normal part of the digestion process, excessive gas is uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing. Gas is often due to an imbalance somewhere in your body or diet. But you can reclaim the balance in your body and find relief from excessive gas and bloating!
Through the digestive process, the average human produces one to four pints of gas each day. This gas is typically released through belching, flatulence, or bowel movements. However, when the gas isn’t released through those outlets, it leads to bloating—a subjective feeling that the abdomen is enlarged (not visible to the naked eye). If the gas builds up so much that the belly is visibly enlarged, it is called distension as opposed to bloating.
The primary sensation associated with gas and bloating is http://yoffielife.com/pain-101/. The pain can be mild and resemble a dull ache, or it can be intense, sharp pain. The nature of the pain depends on the degree of bloating, the cause of the bloating, and the individual patient’s tolerance for pain.
Gas occurs naturally as part of the digestion process. As the bacteria in your gut break down the food you eat, gases—specifically hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane—are produced. These gases are typically expelled naturally through belching, flatulence, and bowel movements. However, excessive gas, which commonly comes from swallowing air or eating foods that produce extra gas when broken down, leads to the uncomfortable sensation we know as bloating. Bloating is a subjective feeling, meaning you may feel like your stomach is swollen, but no enlargement is actually visible. Sometimes, the gas buildup increases past the normal bloating stage and the belly can become distended. Typically, distension is nothing to worry about; however, if the distension is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody stool, you should call a doctor immediately.
Bloating is most commonly caused by diet imbalance, swallowing too much air while eating, musculoskeletal imbalance, or a digestion-related malady.
Certain types of food and beverages cause excessive gas to build up in the body. Some of those foods include carbonated drinks like soda, chemicals like sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol (found in sugar-free gum), vegetables like beans, broccoli, and cabbage, and fruits like apples, pears, and peaches. Foods that are high in fat also contribute to gas and bloating. Fatty foods delay stomach emptying, which causes that overstuffed feeling in the stomach. With fatty foods still in the stomach, and gas from the foods already processed, bloating is inevitable.
- Slow down. Think of a meal as a marathon, not a sprint. Cut one piece of your food and place it in your mouth, put down your utensils, chew the food until the consistency changes, and swallow. Repeat this process throughout your meal. Savor the flavors and textures. Not only will this ceremony decrease the amount of excess air you swallow, but it will also result in eating only the amount your body needs, which is almost always less than you planned!
- Stand or sit tall. After a meal, resist the urge to lie down or recline in a comfortable chair, and instead, stand or sit tall. A tall, upright posture translates to a lengthened spine with a healthy amount of space between each vertebra. For starters, standing or sitting tall will give you more space in the abdomen, which may minimize pain caused by excessive gas. Also, the tall upright posture allows the digestive system to work with gravity instead of against it. Increased efficiency in the digestive system will help you release excess gas more quickly. While standing, equalize the weight on your feet, fighting to keep your body from shifting or slumping to one side or another. While seated, equalize the weight on your sit bones.
- De-stress! Getting stressed out triggers your sympathetic nervous system into action. The sympathetic nervous system is designed to help you in life-threatening situations. Blood flow to the limbs increases, and non-essential systems (like the digestive system) temporarily pause, so all energy is going toward survival. By eliminating stress in the body, you can return to the parasympathetic nervous system, where the body can “rest and digest.” Practice stress reduction with breathing techniques, journaling, or meditation.
1. Support the hips. This is a three-part process. First, find your sit bones—those bones you can feel in the middle of your buttocks—and open them away from your tailbone. Second, empty your abdominals by drawing the belly in toward the back and up toward the ribs on each exhale. Finally, lengthen the side body—the space between the ribs and hips. Stable hips provide optimal proportioned support for the body. Lengthening the side body increases the space in the abdomen to alleviate potential pain from bloating, and proper use of your deep abdominal muscles helps you add natural compression to the abdomen. When you routinely stabilize the hips, and employ that space and stability, the digestive system can function optimally, cutting down on potential gas and bloating problems.
2. Mobilize the ribs. Place hands on either side of the ribcage with the fingers facing each other and the thumbs wrapping around the back body. Inhale; expand the ribs east and west toward the palm centers. Notice how the fingers move away from each other. Exhale; contract the ribs toward center. Notice how the fingers move toward each other. Similar to supporting the hips, mobilizing the ribs allows you to access more abdominal space. Additionally, deepening the breath helps you access your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), in which your digestive system functions most efficiently.
3. Soften the base of the skull. Find the suboccipital muscles on the base of the skull by placing fingertips on either side of the spine where the head and neck meet. Release the muscle activation by lengthening the neck, making a double chin, and setting your gaze at the horizon. Softening the base of the skull allows for better flow of cerebral spinal fluid between the brain and the spine and potentially helps relieve headaches, migraines, and sinus infections.
Lie on your left side. When you lie down on your left side, gravity helps food pass through your large intestine, speeding up the digestion process and helping you expel excess gas.
1. Kneel on the center of the mat.
2. Bring big toes together, knees hip-width apart and sit on your heels.
3. Lay your torso down between your thighs. Stretch arms out in front of you, palms down.
4. Rest your head on a block or the mat.
1. Bend knees, feet flat. Draw knees to chest. Interlace hands over your knees. Equalize weight at the sacrum, and lengthen the side body.
2. Inhale; pull knees north. Exhale; push heels south. Take 5 to 8 breaths.
3. Release your grip. Place one foot onto the mat at a time.