Over-the-counter medications that contain alpha-D-galactosidase can reduce bloating, according to WebMD. Alpha-D-galactosidase is a natural enzyme that dissolves carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. Medications that contain simethicone can also reduce excess gas, which, in turn, reduces bloating.
Natural ways to prevent or relieve symptoms of bloating and gas include minimizing intake of carbonated beverages, avoiding dairy products that contain lactose, quitting smoking and avoiding sugar-free gums and candies that contain sugar alcohols, according to Mayo Clinic. Eating too fast can introduce excess air into the stomach, which can lead to bloating. Chewing food slowly can reduce air intake and prevent uncomfortable symptoms.
Bloating is sometimes due to the foods a person eats. Mayo Clinic indicates foods from the cabbage family, onions, beans and whole-grain foods are more likely to cause gas and bloating. Sugar alcohols, which provide artificial sweetening, are other likely causes, as are dairy products and fruits. Because smokers inhale air with tobacco smoke, they are more likely to experience bloating.
MedlinePlus indicates that individuals who suffer gastroesophageal reflux sometimes experience bloating as a side effect. Individuals with GERD find relief with treatment of the underlying cause. Prescription medications also have the potential to increase bloating symptoms. If they are experienced after taking a new medication, the patient should speak with his doctor.
While most bloating does not indicate a serious health issue, MedlinePlus recommends sufferers see their doctor if they experience additional symptoms, including abdominal pain, blood in their stool or weight loss. In rare cases, bloating signifies serious conditions, including celiac disease, tumors or ovarian cancer.