Vivante health provides virtual GI care to consumers via their employer benefits package. At this time, we are only available via employer benefits programs and do not sell directly to consumers.
As featured on Byrdie:
Uncomfortable bloating is something that most of us are all too familiar with. Whether it’s the result of a big meal, the telltale woes of PMS, or the looming possibility of a food sensitivity, one thing is for certain: The feeling of a tight, inflated belly that’s sometimes accompanied by cramping can come out of nowhere and cause some serious discomfort and frustration.
The good news is that most bloating is treatable with no prescription necessary for sweet relief. (Though we’d advise checking with a medical professional to rule out any medical conditions.) And for some, it turns out a little movement may be all you need to, well, get things moving. Try these 10 yoga-instructor-approved stretches to help with digestion and beat belly bloat.
MEET THE EXPERTS
- Simon Mathews, MD, is a gastroenterologist in Baltimore, Maryland, and an Advisory Board Member for Vivante Health, which provides virtual GI care to consumers via their employer benefits package.
- Kali Mutty is a certified yoga instructor at IM=X Pilates & Fitness in Tampa, Florida.
- Jayla Pearce is a yoga instructor and the co-founder of vstudio.
What Causes Bloating?
“Abdominal bloating includes the sensations of trapped gas, abdominal pressure, and fullness,” explains Simon Mathews, a gastroenterologist in Maryland. “There are many causes, including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, carbohydrate malabsorption, celiac disease, gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction, and constipation to name a few.”
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, certain foods are more prone to cause gas and bloating than others, including oligosaccharides (found in wheat, onions, garlic, legumes, and beans), disaccharides (found in lactose like milk, yogurt, and ice cream), monosaccharides (found in apples and pears, for example), and certain sugars found in most chewing gums and candies.1 Other common causes of bloating include gut sensitivity (also known as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS), a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), gastroparesis, which delays stomach emptying, and some gynecological conditions.2
“Treatment for bloating can include lifestyle and dietary modifications, medications, and biofeedback therapy,” says Dr. Mathews. “If you have other symptoms that accompany your bloating such as unintended weight loss, severe pain, blood in stool, fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, it may indicate a more serious condition that requires more urgent evaluation by your doctor.”
With so many causes to consider, it can be difficult to pinpoint a one-size-fits-all treatment, especially when trying to alleviate the symptoms at home. “If abdominal pain is related to recent or prior musculoskeletal injury, then stretching may provide some benefit,” notes Mathews, but it’s not always an effective strategy to relieve bloating, so it can take some trial and error along with medical guidance to figure out the strategy that best works for you.
However, a combination of deep breathing, stretches that target abdominal organs, and twists that massage and stimulate the colon (a vital organ for keeping you regular), may relieve a wide range of digestive discomfort—think gas, bloating, and constipation. And the best part? With better digestion comes more energy.3
Visit Byrdie to see 10 Satisfying Stretches that help to relieve belly bloat.
1 John Hopkins Medicine. Bloating: Causes and Prevention Tips.
2 Seo AY, Kim N, Oh DH. Abdominal bloating: pathophysiology and treatment. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2013;19(4):433-453. doi:10.5056/jnm.2013.19.4.433
3 Krajmalnik-brown R, Ilhan ZE, Kang DW, Dibaise JK. Effects of Gut Microbes on Nutrient Absorption and Energy Regulation. Nutr Clin Pract. 2012;27(2):201-14.doi:10.1177/0884533611436116