Here’s Why You’re Always Bloated After Flying – and How to Fix It

Let’s just face the facts: air travel can be an absolute nightmare. From unexpected delays to the nightmarish realization that you’ve been assigned the middle seat, there are a myriad of ways that the process of getting from one place to another can go awry—and that’s before you even board the plane.

One of the most unpleasant aspects of flying, however, rarely gets talked about in public: the dreaded jet bloat. If you’ve ever de-boarded an airplane and felt ten times more uncomfortable than you did when you got on, you know the feeling. While it’s tempting to chalk travel discomfort up to dietary choices, it turns out there’s a lot more to jet bloat than what you eat before buckling up and taking off.

Luckily, the more you understand about why you feel so miserable and bloated after flying, the easier it is to counteract jet bloat and begin optimizing your travel experience.

Why do we bloat on airplanes?

Air pressure in an airplane cabin is lower than it is at sea level, so it follows that as the cabin pressure plummets while you’re flying, the gas in your body begins to expand, sort of like a balloon. This can result in feeling extra pressure on your stomach or digestive system.

So, what can you do to ease that expanding pressure?

How to Avoid Jet Bloat

Here's Why You're Always Bloated After Flying - and How to Fix It

Avoid carbonated drinks and salty foods.

Play it safe by opting to avoid carbonated drinks, such as soda, beer and even sparkling water during flights. Your digestive tract will thank you. Additionally, try to eat low-sodium foods and avoid extra fatty snacks and meals that are more difficult for your body to break down.

Bid adieu to gum.

Many people chew gum on flights to help with the unpleasant sensation of their ears popping as the air pressure in the cabin changes. However, when you chew gum, you’re also swallowing extra air, which can contribute to jet bloat.

Move as much as possible.

Wait for the seatbelt sign to blink off, and then try to move up and down the aisle at least once an hour, if not more. Movement is essential in aiding bowel function and alleviating gas problems.

Stay hydrated.

Dehydration is a major problem in airplanes, due to the low oxygen and low humidity. In fact, according to Marie Claire, a passenger could lose up to eight percent of their bodily water on an average 10 hour flight. Try to drink water or herbal teas before, during and after your flight to replenish lost fluids and keep things moving.

Say no to coffee and alcohol.

Yes, coffee and alcohol can help make an already unpleasant experience seem most manageable, but that’s all temporary. Both alcohol and coffee will ultimately dehydrate you more and could cause even worse bloating than before.

Aim for a bowel movement before boarding the plane.

If you’re someone who is prone to constipation, consult with your doctor about healthy ways to help yourself have a bowel movement before your flight in order to minimize extra bacteria in your colon which could irritate you during the flight.

Related at Care2

Images via Getty

43 comments

Anna R
Anna R2 months ago

thank you

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Caitlin L
Caitlin L2 months ago

Thanks

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Olivia M
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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hELEN h
hELEN h2 months ago

tyfs

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Frances G
Frances G2 months ago

thank you

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Anna R
Anna R2 months ago

Thank you

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