(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
Lactose intolerance. A person who cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products can have both gas and bloating as well as other symptoms.
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.
Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
Nausea or vomiting.
Pain, pressure, or a
strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both
shoulders or arms.
Lightheadedness or sudden
A fast or irregular heartbeat.
The more of these symptoms you have, the more likely it is that
you're having a heart attack. Chest pain or pressure is the most common
symptom, but some people, especially women, may not notice it as much as other
symptoms. You may not have chest pain at all but instead have shortness of breath, nausea, numbness,
tingling, or a strange feeling in your chest or other areas.
Many nonprescription and prescription medicines and
supplements can cause gas and bloating. A few examples are:
medicines, such as Imodium, Kaopectate, and Lomotil.
Fiber supplements and bulking agents, such as Citrucel,
Fiberall, and Metamucil.
Multivitamins and iron pills.
Gas, bloating, and burping
Gas, bloating, and
burping are usually harmless and go away without any treatment. If gas,
bloating, or burping is making you uncomfortable, take the following steps to
help manage your symptoms:
Increase the amount of fluid you drink,
especially water. Avoid carbonated drinks and alcoholic
Take a medicine that you can buy without a
prescription. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.
Activated charcoal tablets, such as
CharcoCaps, may decrease odor from gas. Charcoal is usually taken after meals
or at the first sign of gas discomfort.
Antacids, such as Maalox Anti-Gas and Mylanta Gas, allow gas to be belched away more easily.
But these medicines often have no effect on gas that is already in the
Food enzymes, such as Beano, which help break down the
sugars found in vegetables and grains, can be added to foods that cause you to
usually harmless and go away without any treatment. But if hiccups are making
you uncomfortable, the following safe and easy home remedies may help you
manage your symptoms.
Swallow a teaspoon of dry granulated sugar. Do
not use this remedy if you have been diagnosed with
Hold your breath, and count
slowly to 10.
Breathe repeatedly into a paper bag for a limited
period of time.
Hiccups don't go away as expected or they return frequently.
Swallowing problems are not
You continue to lose weight for no
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.