Stopping Gas Before It Starts
Gas can be uncomfortable, painful, and embarrassing. Lifestyle changes can help stop gas from getting trapped in your intestines in the first place. Things to try include:
- Eating slowly. Eating quickly while you eat and drink can result in swallowing air, causing gas and gas pain.
- Choosing foods wisely. Eliminate foods and drinks that can cause gas. These include carbonated beverages, spicy foods, and fried food. Keep a food diary so you can determine which foods upset your system, and which are easy for you to digest.
- Eating less. Overeating can cause bloating and gas, especially if youre eating hard-to-digest foods. Reducing portion size may help.
- Reducing air intake. Increased air intake can also be caused by chewing gum, and drinking through straws.
- Not smoking. In addition to the many health hazards of smoking and vaping, these habits can cause air to enter the digestive tract, causing gas.
Get More Active Every Day
Exercise helps your body move stool and gas out of the colon and may make bowel movements more regular. Exercise also releases extra sodium from the body through sweating, which can help to relieve water retention.
It is vital to drink plenty of water before and after exercising to stay hydrated, as dehydration can make constipation worse.
What Causes Gas & Bloating
There are two main causes of gas in the digestive tract .
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What Are The Symptoms Of Functional Dyspepsia
Dyspepsia symptoms are sporadic: They come and go without clear reasons, and its hard to tell if anything in particular makes them better or worse. While functional dyspepsia is chronic ongoing over a long period of time it may disappear for a while and then return for unknown reasons. To be diagnosed, you must have had symptoms within the last three months and persistently for at least six months. Youll also have more than one of the following symptoms:
- Epigastric pain. This is pain in the upper abdomen under the ribcage. This region, called the epigastrium, is home to your stomach, small intestine, pancreas and liver.
- Bloated stomach. Feelings of uncomfortable pressure or fullness in your belly, especially after eating.
- Early satiety or loss of appetite. Feeling full very quickly after or during eating.
- Heartburn. This is a burning pain in the region between the stomach and the esophagus, usually due to acid reflux.
- Acid reflux. Stomach acid comes up from your stomach through your esophagus, leading to a burning sensation and often a sour taste in your mouth.
- Nausea and vomiting. In severe cases, fullness and loss of appetite may develop into actual nausea or vomiting.
Causes Of Bloating And Gas
In This Article
Gas and bloating arent just annoying side effects of eating too much. In some cases, they can be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome , lactose intolerance, or inflammatory bowel disease .
There are many causes of bloating and gas. Some of these causes may be obvious to you, Obvious causes include
- Being overweight
- Eating too much food at one time
- Eating foods that are difficult to digest
- Swallowing too much air when eating or drinking,
- Drinking carbonated beverages and eating foods high in fiber.
- Less obvious causes include lactose intolerance , irritable bowel syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease .
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Baking Soda And Water For Bloating
Mix a little baking soda into a glass of water, and what do you have? A TikTok phenomenon. But what do the healthcare experts say about this potential remedy for bloating? This is essentially a DIY antacid, says Dr. Dweck, explaining that baking soda is basic in terms of its pH content. This neutralizes stomach acid along with bloating and discomfort. Dr. Dweck says, It may work, and its likely safe in a pinchbut yuck!
Its harmless, Dr. Farhadi agrees. It could be helpful, but its going to be very temporary. If you respond to the combination of baking soda and water, its likely that you have acid reflux and would also respond to antacids like Tums, which may be a more effective treatment.
If you really want to try it, mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of baking soda into one cup of water and sip away. This remedy is safe for short-term use for most adults, but not for young children or women who are pregnant, says registered dietitian Nicole Lindel, RD, an advisor forEverlywell. Adults should not use baking soda for longer than two weeks at a time.
Most Common Gas Triggers
The main triggers for gas and bloating are fermentable foods, foods that are difficult to digest, and mealtime practices. Diet is the most common trigger for gas and bloating, though, and there are specific food groups that are commonly known culprits.
By a process of elimination, you can determine if any of these groups cause you to be gassy, and then you can eliminate them and enjoy being gas-free.
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Slow Down When Eating
Bloating happens when your gastrointestinal tract becomes full of air or gas.
If you eat quickly, you are more likely to take in more air, which can result in bloating, says Hardeep Singh, MD, a gastroenterologist with the Providence St. Joseph Hospital.
Here are some tips for slowing down when eating:
- Drink water between bites.
- Chew food for 10 to 15 seconds before swallowing.
- Eat small snacks if you’re going a long time between meals as it’s harder to eat slowly when very hungry.
- Put utensils down between bites.
Quick tip: Drinking out of a straw and chewing gum can also cause you to take in excess air. If bloating is a regular problem for you, try avoiding straws and chewing gum.
How Long Should I Stay On A Low
Phase 1: Healthcare providers recommend at least two weeks and no more than six weeks for the elimination phase. It can take time for this phase to work and your symptoms to subside. If you have SIBO, the process of starving your overgrown gut bacteria may produce detox symptoms, making you feel worse before you feel better. But even if you feel great on the elimination phase, its not meant to be permanent. Its important to find out which foods you may be able to reintroduce and tolerate. A more moderate diet will be easier to maintain over time, and in nutrition, variety is always the best policy for getting all of your micronutrients.
Phases 2 & 3: The length of the reintroduction phase can vary depending on the individual, but the average time is about eight weeks. During this phase, youll stay on the low-FODMAP diet while reintroducing a high FODMAP food from each FODMAP category, one at a time. Youll spend a few days testing each food in increasing quantities to find your tolerance threshold. Between each test, youll spend a few days back on the strict elimination diet to avoid any crossover effects. Once you find out what works for you and what doesnt, you and your healthcare provider can put together a sustainable, nutritious diet plan that you can keep indefinitely, or until you want to retest.
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Take A Warm Bath Soaking And Relaxing
The heat of the bath can provide relief for a sore abdomen. Relaxation can reduce stress levels, which may allow the GI tract to function more effectively and help reduce bloating.
Quick fixes are not always effective for some causes of bloating. However, people who have frequent bloating may find that certain lifestyle changes can tackle the causes and reduce bloating over time.
People can use these simple steps to try to prevent bloating in the long-term:
How Common Is Ascites
Fluid buildup rarely occurs in otherwise healthy people. It develops as a result of other diseases, most often cirrhosis. Ascites is the most common complication of cirrhosis. About half of people with decompensated cirrhosis will develop ascites. Cirrhosis accounts for about 80% of the cases of ascites.
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Eat At Regular Intervals
Many people experience bloating directly after a big meal. It is possible to avoid this by eating several smaller meals each day, which can help to keep the digestive system moving.
Swallowing food quickly can introduce air into the digestive tract. Drinking from a straw can also lead to people swallowing more air, which in turn leads to gas and bloating. People who have bloating should avoid using straws if possible and try eating slowly to avoid swallowing air during meals.
Try A Low Fermentation Diet
Low fermentation eating could help reduce the symptoms of SIBO, Rezaie said, but more research is needed, according to consultant gastroenterology dietitian Kirsten Jackson.
Highly fermentable foods, such as artificial sweeteners, beans, cauliflower, and broccoli, produce gas, so reducing them could help.
However, its worth remembering that beans, cauliflower, and broccoli have lots of other health benefits, including providing fiber which is important for gut health, so you shouldnt cut them out if you dont have to.
As a rule of thumb, diets that have less carbohydrates and more protein lead to less bloating, Rezaie said.
Protein powder, however, can lead to bloating and digestion issues for some people, personal trainer Stephanie Sanzo previously explained to Insider.
If youre unsure or regularly bloated to the point of pain, see a doctor who may prescribe medication, an elimination diet, or other treatment.
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Diagnosing Gas Gas Pains And Bloating
Even though gas and bloating are common, a medical evaluation may sometimes be necessary. If you experience blood in the stool, diarrhea, fevers, anemia, or weight loss, you should talk to a doctor.
Medical History & Physical Exam
First, your doctor will review your medical history and ask questions about your symptoms and dietary habits.
The doctor may also examine your abdomen for tenderness or anything that feels abnormal. A stethoscope may be used to help the doctor determine how well the digestive tract is working.
The results of these preliminary tests will help determine the next level of diagnosis if necessary.
Additional Tests for Gas, Gas Pains, and Bloating
- Breath tests Breath tests can help determine problems of malabsorption or intestinal bacteria overgrowth.
- Colonoscopy In patients 50 or older, or who have a family history of colorectal cancer, the possibility of colon cancer may be considered.
- Imaging If chronic belching is a problem, x-rays may be used to inspect the small intestine, stomach, and esophagus. This is known as an upper GI series
Remove Artificial Sweeteners From Your Diet
Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols are hiding in many new-age healthy foods. These include sugar-free foods, chewing gum, energy bars, cereal and keto snacks.
Heres a quick story.
I found a delicious, low-sugar chocolate bar at costco. I couldnt believe how delicious it tasted without any sugar.
The issue was, this chocolate bar gave me tremendous gas and bloating. I checked the label, and it was filled with artificial sweeteners.
As soon as I stopped eating the bar, the symptoms went away like magic.
Sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners are generally recognized as safe sugar replacements.
However, many of them cause serious gas and other digestive issues.
This is because your gut bacteria produces excess gas to try and digest them .
Here are some common artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols to test.
You dont necessarily need to avoid them if they dont cause issues.
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Can Caffeine Cause Bloating
Weve already discussed how coffee can cause bloating, but what about other forms of caffeine?
If youre a tea drinker, its worth knowing that drinking an excessive amount of tea could also lead to bloating.
This is because it contains tannins, which are antioxidants, but they can cause gas build up.14
Try Medication For Bloating
If you’re looking for quick relief from gas and bloating, an over-the-counter medication could help. Keep in mind that the cause of your bloating can determine which medication would work best.
A few OTC options for bloating include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome , a condition that affects the large intestine
- Certain types of cancer, like stomach, intestinal, or ovarian cancer
Quick tip: You may want to try an elimination diet to pinpoint what food and drinks could be causing your bloating.
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How Is Ascites Treated
Limiting sodium in your diet is crucial for treating ascites. For people with ascites, recommended sodium intake is less than 2,000 to 4,000 milligrams a day.
A dietitian can help create a healthy eating plan for you. You may also need to take diuretics . These water pills help fluid and sodium leave your body.
Turmeric And Ginger Tea
You can also get a relief from gas and abdominal cramps by using turmeric. This can work especially well for gas if you combine it with ginger.
Turmeric contains curcumin which is anti-inflammatory. It can also be an effective remedy for treating dyspepsia . In a study on the effect of curcumin on indigestion, it found that curcumin helped to alleviate the symptoms of indigestion, including excess gas, in 87% of the patients.6
To make an herbal tea from turmeric and ginger to cure gas problems, you should take 1 teaspoon of fresh grated turmeric root and 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger root. Put in a cup of boiling water, cover and let it infuse for 10 minutes. Add a little raw honey once the infusion has cooled down and a slice of lemon. Then add a teaspoon of coconut oil or a pinch of black pepper as this helps the turmeric to be absorbed into the body. Drink the herbal tea to get relief from a gassy stomach and bloating.
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Medical Conditions That Cause Gas
Some medical conditions can increase intestinal gas, gas pains, or bloating including:
- Intestinal diseases chronic intestinal diseases like Crohnâs disease, ulcerative colitis, and diverticulitis can cause excess gas.
- Overgrowth of bacteria A change or increase in small intestine bacteria may cause excess gas, weight loss, or diarrhea.
- Food intolerance some food intolerances can cause excess intestinal gas. This is caused by an inability to properly break down the sugar in dairy products or gluten .
- Constipation It may be difficult to pass gas when experiencing constipation.
When Should I Be Worried About Abdominal Bloating
See your healthcare provider if your bloated stomach:
- Gets progressively worse.
- Comes with symptoms of illness, such as fever, vomiting or bleeding.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A bloated stomach is not a pleasant feeling. While its a common experience and usually temporary, you may become weary of the cycle. Spending a little focused attention on the problem to identify the cause can be well worthwhile. Try recording your symptoms and possible triggers in a journal. Note diet, hormonal and stress factors. When in doubt bring your notes to a specialist for professional guidance. The different factors that contribute to bloating can be complex and difficult to parse, but medical testing can help. As always, seek medical attention if your symptoms are persistent or severe.
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Probiotics For Gas And Bloating
Probiotics may also help aid digestion and reduce excessive gas. Probiotics are live microorganisms, mostly “good” bacteria, similar to the bacteria found in the human gut. They’re available as dietary supplements, but Lemond notes that a number of foods also have natural probiotics, including:
And according to a review published in March 2015 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, patients with irritable bowel syndrome have experienced improvement in bloating and flatulence when taking probiotics.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Seek medical attention if:
- You haven’t been tested for gastrointestinal diseases.
- Your symptoms change or get noticeably worse.
- You are unintentionally losing weight.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Functional dyspepsia can be a frustrating diagnosis for people who experience it and are looking for solutions. On one hand, its a benign condition that wont endanger your life. But on the other hand, there is no definitive cause or cure. Even so, medical testing can help put you on the path to relief. It can identify or rule out certain contributing factors and give your healthcare provider important information about your condition. Your provider will use the evidence they find to prescribe the best medication they can to help you. And if the first prescription doesnt work, that will tell them what to suggest next.
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Otc Products That Provide Relief
Gas has multiple causes, including the foods and beverages you eat and drink. In some instances, the root cause of gas may determine the treatments that will be most beneficial.
For example, if you are lactose intolerant, treating the underlying cause with lactose restrictions and taking an OTC medication that contains lactase may help. Lactase is a natural enzyme that reduces gas and bloating by making milk sugars easier to digest.
If you have trouble digesting complex carbohydrates such as grains, nuts, legumes, and cruciferous vegetables, alpha-galactosidase may help.
Alpha-galactosidase is a digestiveenzyme commonly sold under the brand name Beano. It works by breaking down hard-to-digest carbohydrates into simple sugars.
Other products that may help alleviate gas and bloating include OTC products containing simethicone. These include Mylanta Gas and Gas-X.
You can also try activated charcoal supplements. Activated charcoal is a porous substance that traps and absorbs gas, eliminating it. You can buy activated charcoal in powder form or as a supplement in capsule form.