Do Probiotics Help With Bloating? The Truth & What to Do Instead

Do you feel like you’re constantly bloated, even after eating relatively small meals? You’re not alone. Bloating is a common problem that affects many people. There are many different causes of bloating, but thankfully, there are also many holistic methods for relieving it. In order to solve your bloating woes, let’s first talk about what causes bloating, and when choosing a probiotic is a good idea…and when they can actually make bloating worse. 

If probiotics aren’t the answer for you, we’re going to get to the bottom of healthy digestion, foods that can worsen bloating, such as FODMAPs, and give you some simple herbs and digestive supplements that can help you banish bloating fast.

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What causes stomach bloating

Bloating is one of the most common digestive complaints, and even though sometimes it’s normal—like during your menstrual cycle, or after eating a big meal—it’s still uncomfortable and frustrating. Abdominal bloating can also cause stomach pain. 

Bloating is most often a temporary issue that will resolve in a few hours, and usually caused by things like:

  • Eating too fast
  • Stress
  • Carbonated drinks
  • High fiber foods (especially if you don’t eat a lot of fiber normally)
  • Hormone changes
  • Food sensitivities or intolerance

Sometimes, there’s an underlying health issue to blame, like SIBO or Candida overgrowth. If this is the case, you’ll likely notice other symptoms as well, like fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, or irregular bowel movement.

You may need to work with a holistic provider to solve these issues.

Watch: How to Treat Candida with Food

Are probiotics good for a bloated stomach?

Some kinds of probiotics can help relieve bloating. These good bacteria support a healthy digestive system, which can reduce bloating in your belly. Beneficial bacteria also help with the digestion of food and breakdown of nutrients, leading to less bloating and more regular bowel movements (1).

If your gas and bloating are due to a lack of good bacteria, probiotics may be able to help reduce bloating. Some probiotic strains may be more helpful. Look for a probiotic supplement that contains one or more of the following:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Bifidobacterium lactis

It’s likely these good bacteria won’t cause noticeable changes right away when you begin taking a probiotic supplement, but after a few weeks, you may notice better digestion, less belly bloat, or a trimmer waistline.

Related: How to Choose the Right Probiotic for Your Goals

Times when a probiotic isn’t likely to help

If your bloating isn’t a result of unhealthy digestive bacteria, you may not notice much improvement with a probiotic. And in some cases, a probiotic can actually worsen the issue. Yikes!

A probiotic won’t be helpful for the following issues:

Bloating is a broad symptom that’s associated with dozens of different issues—most harmless—but some require the attention and expertise of a qualified holistic physician. If you think you have any of the above issues, you should contact your doctor before trying a probiotic to reduce bloating.

7 Bloating remedies to try at home

Bloat happens. But with these simple tricks up your sleeve you’ll be able to step in and resolve it quickly, plus take steps to avoid gas and bloating in the future.

Eat slowly

During mealtimes, slow down and focus on your food. This primes your gut to properly digest and absorb nutrients. And, eating slower will decrease the likelihood of swallowing air while you eat (more air swallowed equals more air in your belly).

You actually have a nervous system within your gut, and eating too fast can interfere with the complex digestive process. When this happens, your gut can’t properly do its job and you may experience bloating symptoms (2). Being more mindful about your eating habits is one long-term strategy to reduce bloating. 

Read more: 5 Rules to Rebuild a Healthy Gut

Be aware of gas-causing foods

Some common healthy foods are notorious for causing gas and bloating. If you experience bloating on a regular basis, you may want to reduce eating foods containing:

  • Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale)
  • Beans
  • Sugar alcohols (common in snacks and sweets)
  • Carbonated beverages (yes, even sparkling water)

If you’ve recently added more fiber to your diet, this could also be a culprit for excess gas. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, and increase fiber foods slowly.

Watch: 5 Quick Ways to Get More Fiber

Get moving

Movement can aid digestion and improve digestive symptoms. So if your bloat is due to slow digestion, a little physical activity is a great help to facilitate natural movement in your digestive tract.

You can stimulate digestion to relieve bloating in a few ways:

  • Do an abdominal massage: Starting from your right hip bone, lightly press your fingers to your abdomen and massage in a sweeping fashion, moving counterclockwise around your torso. While you do this, you can also focus on breathing deeply.
  • Go for a walk: The movement of your legs back and forth during walking can help relieve minor bloating.

Drink ginger tea in the morning

Ginger is a staple in Ayurvedic digestive remedies. It’s been used for centuries to calm an upset stomach, and facilitate healthier digestion (3). You can add a few small slices to boiling water, let steep for about 7 minutes, and add a squeeze of lemon or honey if you like.

In Ayurveda, practitioners recommend digestion-soothing herbs and spices like ginger, fennel, turmeric, and clove to relieve symptoms and settle your stomach (4).

Try CCF tea, which stands for its ingredients—coriander, cumin, and fennel. Studies show these herbs aid gut health, fight inflammation, and may even help you lose weight (5,6).  

Try this: Simple & Easy Debloat Smoothie

Soothe your gut

Certain herbs, foods, or supplements can help get rid of bloating and decrease inflammation in the digestive system. Some of my favorites are:

  • Papaya enzymes – Naturally occurring papaya enzymes help your gut break down and absorb foods, and can be found in most health food stores in chewable tablet form (7). 
  • Triphala or “three fruits” is a widely used Ayurvedic digestive remedy made up of trikatu, amla, and bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) and is naturally anti-inflammatory to help relieve bloating (8).  
  • Peppermint can help soothe an irritated stomach to relieve causes of bloating.
  • Belly Fix contains fermented greens, Ayurvedic superfoods, and other gut-healing ingredients to soothe inflammation and reduce bloating.

Learn more about natural digestive support in Belly Fix, free from fillers and artificial flavors.

Cut down on FODMAPs

Some people struggle to digest FODMAPs, which stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols.” That sounds very confusing, I know, but don’t worry.

FODMAPs are actually just different types of fiber that your gut bacteria ferment, producing gas that causes bloating.

How you react to FODMAPs depends on your gut bacteria. If you notice that you’re especially bloated after carbohydrate foods (or certain vegetables), such as garlic, onion, bread, pasta, or whole grains, you may be better off avoiding FODMAPs.

Watch: How to Beat Belly Bloat

Increase your stomach acid

You’ve probably heard a lot about too much stomach acid, but what about when you don’t have enough? Surprisingly, one common culprit for bloating and indigestion after meals is low stomach acid. If your stomach doesn’t have the acidity it needs to break down food, you can end up bloated as the food moves through your digestive tract.

A lot of people take antacids to relieve indigestion and heartburn, but they actually neutralize your stomach’s acidity, which provides short-term relief but makes matters worse long-term.

Instead, if you have bloating or heartburn, start your mornings with a glass of water that has a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice added. The extra acidity will help you digest better throughout the day, which can be a quick and simple fix for belly bloat.

Try these: 7 Ayurvedic Herbs to Improve Digestion

Reduce bloating naturally

So, if you’re looking for natural relief from bloating, probiotics may be a good option for you, but they’re not the only sheriff in town. There are plenty of other ways to get your gut health on track and start feeling better. Try some of these tips to see if they work for you: eat slowly, avoid bloat-causing foods like sugar alcohols and FODMAPs, and make sure you have enough stomach acid. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water! These simple changes can go a long way in helping reduce bloating and improving your overall digestion.