(flatus), burping, and bloating are all normal conditions. Gas is made in the
stomach and intestines as your body breaks down food into energy. Gas and
burping may sometimes be embarrassing. Bloating, which is a feeling of fullness
in the abdomen, can make you uncomfortable. Although many people think that
they pass gas too often or have too much gas, it is rare to have too much gas.
Changing what you eat and drink can sometimes cut down on gas and relieve
discomfort caused by gas.
Belching or burping (eructation) is the
voluntary or involuntary, sometimes noisy release of air from the
esophagus through the mouth. Burping 3 or 4 times
after eating a meal is normal and is usually caused by swallowing air. Other
causes of burping include nervous habits or other
medical conditions, such as an
ulcer or a
gallbladder problem. In some cultures, a person may
belch loudly after eating to show appreciation for the meal.
people pass gas, but some people produce more gas than others. It is normal to
pass gas from 6 to 20 times a day. Although this may embarrass or annoy you,
excess intestinal gas usually is not caused by a serious health condition.
Common causes of gas and bloating include:
Swallowed air. If swallowed air is not
burped up, it passes through the digestive tract and is released through the
anus as flatus. Excessive air swallowing may cause
Foods and beverages.
The amount of gas that different foods cause varies from person to
Changes in hormone
levels. It is common for women to have bloating right before their periods,
because their bodies retain fluid.
Dyspepsia is a medical term that is used to describe a vague
feeling of fullness, gnawing, or burning in the chest or upper abdomen,
especially after eating. A person may describe this feeling as "gas." Other
symptoms may occur at the same time, such as belching, rumbling noises in the
abdomen, increased flatus, poor appetite, and a change in bowel habits.
Causes of dyspepsia can vary from minor to serious.
Hiccups don't go away as expected or they return frequently.
become more severe or frequent.
You may be able to prevent
gas, bloating, burping, and hiccups.
foods that cause gas, such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, and bran. The amount
of gas that different foods cause varies from person to
Take steps to avoid swallowing air:
Eat slowly. Avoid gulping food or
beverages. When you rush through meals or eat on the run, you are more likely
to swallow air.
Chew your food thoroughly before you
Avoid talking while you chew.
Avoid drinking through a straw.
gum or eating hard candy.
Do not smoke or use other tobacco
Do not drink
Avoid sudden changes in stomach
temperature, such as drinking a hot beverage and then a cold
If you wear dentures, check with a dentist to make sure
they fit properly.
Keep calm. Tension and anxiety can cause you to
Keep a food diary if you suspect that gas is
caused by certain foods. Write down what you eat or drink and when symptoms
occur to help you identify foods or drinks that may cause gas. After these
problem foods are identified, avoid or limit them to reduce or prevent
Talk with your doctor or a
dietitian about ways to maintain a balanced diet if you want to permanently
eliminate certain foods or drinks. For more information, see the topic
If you suspect that milk or
other dairy products are causing your symptoms, try limiting or eliminating
these foods. For more information, see the topic
If you cook with dry
beans, soak them in water overnight, then pour off the water and cook the
soaked beans in fresh water. This may reduce the amount of natural sugars in
the beans after the cooling process and help prevent gas and bloating.
Do not overeat. Large meals can make you feel
bloated. Try eating 6 small meals a day rather than 3 large
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.