Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Gas in The Stomach

Sat 04 May 2024 | 12:09 AM
Dr. Magdy Badran talks about  Dry Mouth
Dr. Magdy Badran talks about Dry Mouth
Dr. Magdy Badran

Stomach gas is an embarrassing and very uncomfortable issue. Stomach gas is completely a normal part of digestion, and everyone experiences trapped gas from time to time. There are various reasons why a person might experience gas.

Symptoms of Stomach Gas

The most common symptoms of gas in the stomach include burping, flatulence, bloating, abdominal pain, or discomfort. Bloat is basically an accumulation of gas in the stomach.

Our bodies have two processes to remove gas: belching (or burping) and flatulence. Passing gas through the mouth is called belching or burping. It's normal for a healthy person to burp up to 30 times a day.

Passing gas through the anus is called flatulence. Flatulence is a normal physiological process, which occurs when the bacteria in the large intestine metabolize things in our diet that we can't metabolize. If we didn't pass gas, we would explode. Most of the time gas does not have an odor.

In some cases, other symptoms may accompany gas in the stomach, such as indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation.


Aerophagia happens when you swallow a lot of air -- enough to make you burp frequently or upset your stomach. People usually swallow a little bit of air while eating, and this can make the stomach or upper abdomen feel full. Burping generally helps to release the gas and reduce bloating and discomfort.

Swallowing more air occurs during eating or drinking too fast, talking while eating, chewing gum, sucking on hard candy, drinking carbonated drinks, such as soda, sparkling water, smoking, vigorously exercising, and wearing ill-fitting dentures that reduce chewing efficiency.

In one study comparing adults with aerophagia to adults with indigestion, researchers found that 19 percent of those with aerophagia had anxiety versus just 6 percent of those with indigestion. Aerophagia may be a learned behavior used by those with anxiety to cope with stress.

Swallowed air that is not released by burping passes through the digestive tract and is released as gas (flatus). Babies often swallow air during feeding. It is important to burp your baby during and after feeding.

The most common symptoms of aerophagia are frequent belching, sometimes several times a minute, bloated or swollen belly, and belly pain.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The most common symptoms of GERD are acid reflux and heartburn. Stomach gas and belching are other common symptoms of GERD. People who experience GERD-related stomach gas may notice that their burps have a foul taste or cause them to regurgitate food.

Acid reflux itself does not cause gas, but there are common underlying factors. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause both acid reflux and excess gas. People with IBS are four times more likely to have GERD than people without IBS.


Fermented foods can cause gas and bloating, even in a healthy individual. This is because you are introducing more microbes into your system, and microbes produce gas when fed the right diet.

Stomach acid helps to break down food and pass it on to the intestines. The intestines break down the food even further in a process that sometimes releases gases. These gases either make their way to the stomach and leave the body as a burp or travel through the intestines and leave the body as flatulence.

Common foods that may cause gas, include cabbage, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, dairy products, high fiber foods, such as whole grains, sugar substitutes and sweeteners.

What causes upper gut fermentation? Western lifestyles, failure to inoculate the gut at birth with the correct friendly bacteria, following antibiotics and gastroenteritis, a poor digestion, a poor diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrate, low in vegetables, pulses, nuts, and seeds.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an umbrella term for a group of digestive symptoms that can cause pain, discomfort, and changes in bowel movements.

A person with IBS may experience an excessive amount of intestinal gas. This excess gas may lead to abdominal pain, bloating, and flatulence. Other possible symptoms of IBS include constipation, diarrhea, bowel incontinence, nausea, and back pain.

Bacterial Overgrowth

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is the medical term for excess bacteria in the small intestine. The condition is due to a lack of movement in the small intestine. Excessive intestinal bacteria can cause a build-up of gas, which may lead to bloating and flatulence.

SIBO is frequently implicated as the cause of chronic diarrhea and malabsorption. Patients with SIBO may also suffer from unintentional weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, and osteoporosis.

Food Intolerances

Frequent bloating and intestinal gas can sometimes indicate a food intolerance. Food intolerances affect your digestive system. People who suffer from an intolerance, or sensitivity, can’t break down certain foods.

Common food sensitivities include:

Lactose: People who are lactose intolerant don’t make enough lactase enzyme to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. This food intolerance is the most common.

Histamine: Histamines are naturally occurring chemicals in foods like cheese, pineapples, bananas, avocados, and chocolate. People who are histamine intolerant don’t make enough diamine oxidase enzyme to break down this chemical.

Gluten: Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten sensitivity isn’t the same as having celiac disease, a type of autoimmune disease. When you have celiac disease, gluten damages the small intestines. If you have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, your body has a harder time digesting gluten.

Fructose: Fructose intolerance inability to digest the fruit sugar “fructose.” Some general symptoms of food intolerances include bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin rashes and itching.

Other Causes

Some fewer common causes of stomach gas include chronic constipation, peptic ulcers, hernias, and intestinal blockages.

Prevention Tips

Try eating smaller portions of problem foods to see if your body can handle a smaller portion without creating excess gas. Eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly and don't gulp. If you have a hard time slowing down, put down your fork between each bite.

Foods that can cause gas due to high fiber include whole wheat, bran, prunes, peaches, apples, pears, asparagus, artichokes, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, onions, and beans. You may try avoiding high-fiber foods for a week or two and gradually start to eat them again.

Foods that can reduce or relieve gas include low carb vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes, and low sugar fruits such as apricots. Eat rice instead of wheat or potatoes, as rice produces less gas.

Avoid chewing gum, sucking on hard candies, and drinking through a straw. These activities can cause you to swallow more air.

Drink more liquids. Drinking water with a squeeze of lemon or lime, rather than fruit juice or beverages with flavorings or artificial sweeteners. Drink noncarbonated liquids. Warm water or herbal tea helps some people. Try peppermint, ginger, anise, caraway, coriander, fennel, turmeric, or chamomile tea. Mix one of these ground herbs or seeds into a glass of warm water and drink.

Check your dentures. Poorly fitting dentures can cause you to swallow excess air when you eat and drink. See your dentist if they aren't fitting correctly. Don't smoke.

Walking, stretching, and moving around may help the gas pass through the digestive system. Holding a hot water bottle or heated pad on the stomach may help relieve trapped gas by relaxing the abdominal muscles and reducing pain. Gently massaging the abdomen may help the gas pass through the digestive system.