Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 5/23/2022
A tight, full, puffy-feeling belly? That’s nobody’s idea of fun. Bloating can be slightly annoying or even really uncomfortable. Regardless, it’s something you’d rather not experience.
These days, there are tons of supplements on the market that promise to do away with bloat. But do they work? And how do you know which ones to buy?
To know which supplements are right, you first need to understand what’s causing your bloating. From there, you can pick a supplement to help address your specific issue.
If your stomach is distended or feels tight and full, you’re likely dealing with bloat. Belly bloating is usually not serious, but can be pretty uncomfortable. Oh, and it’s pretty common. Between 10 and 25 percent of people say they occasionally experience it.
One of the more common causes of bloat is dietary choices. A healthy diet is always important and can even help things like hair health. But if you eat too much of certain food categories, it may cause bloat.
Dairy products and gluten (found in breads, pastas and more) are common culprits behind bloat — especially if you consume too much or have an intolerance to them.
Beans, certain veggies (like asparagus), carbonated beverages and foods with sorbitol (sugar-free candies often contain this) can also cause bloat for many.
Chewing gum and eating quickly can cause you to swallow lots of air, which can also lead to bloating. This behavior may also cause gas pains.
Constipation is another leading cause of belly bloat. One sign of constipation is having fewer bowel movements, but sometimes people have the same number and are still constipated. Other signs you’re constipated include straining to poop, stool that looks like rocks and not feeling empty after a bowel movement.
Other things that can cause a bloated stomach include:
Your menstrual cycle: Before or after your period, you may retain excess water due to hormones.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): If you’ve been bloated, constipated, cramping and experiencing abdominal pain for at least three months, you may be dealing with this condition. Typically IBS is caused by early life stressors or gut microbiome issues, illness, or antibiotic use. However, anxiety can potentially cause IBS, too.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): If your gastrointestinal tract is inflamed, you may be dealing with IBD. These digestive issues can happen with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Celiac Disease: This autoimmune disease means you have an intolerance to gluten. If you eat it, you may bloat.
Cancer is one of the more serious things that can cause bloat. If you feel constantly bloated and nothing will help it go away, it’s important to seek counsel from a medical professional.
If you’re dealing with bloating, you certainly don’t want it to stick around. One way to deal with it is by taking supplements. There are actually a number of different types of supplements that can help.
Read about them here, so you know what to look for the next time you go to the store.
Available in capsule form, peppermint oil can help your intestinal muscles relax. When this happens, gas or feces is more easily able to move through your system. In turn, this can alleviate abdominal bloating.
The active ingredient in antacids is simethicone. This ingredient helps group small gas bubbles together and pass them through your system. Antacids also relieve inflammation in the digestive tract, which can help you pass gas that is causing bloat.
This fiber supplement (which can be found in capsules or powder) can be particularly helpful for those dealing with IBS. A study found that a fiber supplement (especially psyllium) can help improve symptoms of IBS — which includes bloating.
Whether taken in powder form or capsule form, a magnesium supplement can neutralize stomach acid and reduce gastrointestinal tract inflammation. It also has a natural laxative quality, which can help ease constipation that causes bloating.
Hopefully, it’s soothing to know there are supplements that can ease bloat. But what if you want to prevent bloating altogether?
There are some things you can do to avoid that puffy belly feeling. They include:
Exercise: From preventing water retention to mitigating potential weight gain (and even encouraging weight loss) in the stomach area, working out regularly can be a helpful tool in your fight against belly bloat.
Eating plenty of fiber: Eating plenty of fiber can help keep things moving in your digestive tract. Just be careful. If you don’t eat a lot of fiber and suddenly start consuming it, it can cause more bloating. You should add a little at a time to your diet. Foods that are high in fiber include lentils, berries, pears and avocados.
Staying hydrated: Fill that cup with water! Drinking plenty of it can help things pass through your digestive tract and possibly prevent constipation so that you don’t get a bloated stomach.
When you have a bloated stomach, it feels distended, tight and puffy. You may also experience gas pains. Translation: it’s not super comfortable. And, chances are, if you’re dealing with a bloated belly, you want to reduce it as soon as possible.
Various things can cause bloating. These things include a diet that’s high in gluten, water retention, conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and your menstrual cycle.
From probiotics to antacids to magnesium, there are lots of supplements on the market that can help ease a bloated stomach. Many of them work by solving digestive issues, reducing inflammation and helping things move through your intestinal tract more easily.
If you notice you are feeling bloated often or want to learn more about supplements that can help, it would be smart to schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional.