What causes gas, bloating, and belching?

    Most people have had excess gas, bloating, or belching. Sometimes these symptoms can cause problems or pain.

    Bloating is a sensation of belly fullness. Sometimes your belly looks bigger, but not always. People with bloating do not necessarily have too much gas in their stomach, but they are often much more sensitive to stomach symptoms.

    Belching (or burping) is usually caused by swallowing too much air, eating or drinking too fast, drinking carbonated or caffeinated drinks, smoking, or a nervous habit.

    Flatulence [FLAA-chu-lentz] is the release of excess gas in the colon. It is usually related to your diet.

    Most of the time, one or more of these disorders—irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, or chronic constipation—are the cause of gas, bloating, and belching.

    Gas, bloating, and belching are not typical symptoms of cancer or other dangerous conditions, even if you also have abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation. However, you should let your doctor know if you are losing weight, having fevers, or bleeding. These symptoms can be more serious.

    Although anxiety, depression, and stressful life events do not cause these conditions, they may make the symptoms worse and harder to treat.

    How are these symptoms treated?

    Even severe symptoms usually improve over time with diet and lifestyle changes. Your doctor can help you decide which treatments are best for you.

    Diet: Eat and drink more slowly to swallow less air. Limit fatty and spicy foods. Avoid caffeine, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners. Avoid common gas-causing foods, such as beans, peas, lentils, cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and whole grains. Try removing one food at a time from your diet to see if your gas improves.

    Fiber: Fiber has many benefits, although too much fiber may increase the amount of gas in your intestines.

    Exercise: Regular daily exercise often reduces symptoms in the stomach and intestines.

    Laxatives: Over-the-counter laxatives, such as polyethylene glycol (one brand: Miralax), may help with constipation but probably not with stomach pain.

    Antidiarrheal medicines: Over-the-counter loperamide may help with diarrhea but probably not with stomach pain.

    Probiotics: Probiotics are found in some over-the-counter supplements and yogurts. Common probiotics areLactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.


    American Family Physician, 2019-03-01, Volume 99, Issue 5, Pages 309C-309C, 309D-309D, Copyright © 2019

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    Bloating is the sense of abdominal fullness after meals. It is largely related to the amount of gas produced in the digestive system. We all have gastrointestinal gases. Gases are being produced by the activity of the gut bacteria that break down the food. Normal gas production by the digestive system is  around 0.5-1.5 liters of gas per day, released slowly during the day. This gas is usually odorless and include carbon monoxide, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen. However, there are situations in which the amount of gas produced by bacteria increases significantly and can reach a few liters of gas per day. This condition leads to discomfort and swelling of the belly, feeling pressure and pain, changes in the bowel habits, and so on.
    One of the reasons for this over production of gas is a deficiency of the digestive enzymes whose function is to break down the food that reaches our gut. In these conditions, the food that goes through the intestine is not being digested enough. In the large intestine, he meets the "good" bacteria that live there, dislodging the food and releasing gas residues simultaneously. This process occurs within a few hours of eating and gradually increases during the day.
    So what are the foods that make it difficult to break apart and cause gases? It turns out that these foods are mostly types of carbohydrates and fiber not digested properly, such as lactose (milk sugar), which up to 75% of the population cannot digest properly. Fructose (fruit sugar), which is found in many fruits, vegetables and honey. Fiber found in legumes (beans / peas / chickpeas / lentils), cabbage and cauliflower, onion and garlic.
    To treat this condition, it is recommended to keep a "food diary" for about a week and to examine the amount of carbohydrates listed in the menu. Mark all dairy products (including milk chocolate, butter, cheese), check for vegetables, fruits and legumes eaten during the week, and then know whether or not to reduce their consumption. Then, eat low carbohydrate and fiber foods for 2 weeks and check if your condition improves. good luck!