FIX IT FAST:
Your goal: Get out gas, a by-product of digestion and a major cause of bloating. Experts recommend doing slow bicycle crunches or climbing stairs. Exercises that contract and release abs get your bowels moving, easing out gas and waste, experts say.
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Other helpers, from Dr. Robynne Chutkan, founder of the Digestive Center for Women in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and author of Gutbliss: Sip tea made with crushed fennel seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon per cup of water), which can relax the gastrointestinal (GI) system, or down a gas-busting OTC simethicone tablet.
FIX IT FOREVER:
Eat more (yes, more) fiber: "As it moves through the GI tract, fiber absorbs water, pushes waste through and clears passageways, allowing gas to escape," Chutkan explains. Most of us get only 15 grams a day of the 25 g recommended for women, so eat your share. Space it through the day, so it doesn't hit you all at once.
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Cut back on culprits: Tackle the ingredients that could create that food-baby feeling one at a time. First up, sugar: Many people can absorb at most 12 tsp (about 50 g) a day of fructose; excess ferments in your large intestine, creating gas and bloating. Processed foods like crackers, spaghetti sauce and salad dressings often pack extra sweet stuff, so check labels; stick with no more than 5 tsp (20 g) of added sugar a day.
If easing up on sugar doesn't help, try reducing wheat -- even for people who aren't gluten-intolerant, other components in it can bring on bloating, per research from Monash University in Victoria, Australia. Give it up for a month to see how you feel, Chutkan advises. And if you love bloat-inducing cruciferous veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower, cooking them reduces gas-causing compounds.
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Got (less) milk: Lactose intolerance means your gut is short on the enzyme needed to digest the sugar found in dairy products, which may lead to bloat, diarrhea and nausea. Scale back on food containing milk to see if it helps (a little may still be OK); if so, go to your doc for tests; he may advise popping a lactase supplement with food.
Swap out your Pill: Some oral contraceptives contain a lot of estrogen; that can make kidneys retain fluids, bringing on bloat. Ask your gyno about minipills (like Ortho Micronor or Nor-QD), which use only progestin, or a low-estrogen Pill.
This article originally appeared on Self.com.