Causes of Bloating and Gas (Flatulence)


Bloating is a sensation of ‘fullness’ and tightness within the abdomen. It may be accompanied by swelling of the abdomen (distension). Bloating due to the build up of gas within the gastrointestinal tract will often be relieved by belching or flatulence.

Bloating should be differentiated from angina pectoris and myocardial infarction which are two cardiac conditions that may not always result in pain but can be fatal.

Obesity and Pregnancy

Persistent bloating should be investigated as the cause may not be related to gas or the digestive processes. Obesity often results in lax abdominal muscles with a superficial layer of fat tissue that contributes to abdominal distension. Pregnancy causes an increased abdominal diameter as the growing fetus expands within the abdominoperineal cavity. The expanding uterus may compress the organs of digestion thereby contributing to the sensation of bloating. This form of distension is considered a medical norm and is not indicative of any underlying pathology.


Swelling is often incorrectly thought to be abdominal distension due to fluid while bloating is ascribed to gas build up. Any abdominal distension is a swelling of the abdomen. Bloating is the sensation of ‘fullness’ and tightness of the abdomen with or without abdominal distension.

Ascites is the medical term for abdominal swelling due to fluid accumulation within the abdominal and pelvic cavities. Swelling may be caused by peritoneal fluid or blood and should be investigated immediately. Ascites can often be diagnosed by physical examination where a succussion splash (sound of moving fluid) indicates fluid accumulation compared to the hollow sound of gas or dull sound of a solid mass. Further investigation is required and an ultrasound, X-ray or MRI scan could provide more definitive evidence of ascites.

Mechanism of Gas and Flatulence

Flatulence is a voluntary or involuntary expulsion of gas through the anus commonly referred to as passing gas or ‘farting’. Gas produced by the breakdown of food within the gastrointestinal tract may cause bloating and discomfort which is relieved upon passing flatus (‘fart’).

Digestion is a physical and chemical process that produces byproducts, including gas that is passed out as flatus. These processes are facilitated by the body’ physical and chemical factors as well as commensal bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. All the causative factors of belching may also contribute to flatulence and bloating if the trapped gas is not expelled through the mouth.

Flatus is primarily composed of odorless gases. The process of food decomposition and gas produced by intestinal bacteria contribute to the odor of flatus.

Splenic-Flexure Syndrome

Gas trapped within the left side of transverse colon (near the spleen) can cause splenic-flexure syndrome:

  • upper abdominal bloating, often described as an “under ribs” or gastrointestinal chest pain
  • cramping and strong left upper abdominal pain that can be confused with heart related or pancreatic pain

Sulfur Gas

Flatulence with a sulfur-like odor is mainly due to hydrogen-sulfide, a gas responsible for the ‘rotten egg’ odor. Hydrogen-sulfide is produced by the intestinal bacteria. Foreign invading bacteria, yeasts and other parasites (gut fermentation) may contribute significantly to hydrogen-sulfide production within the bowels.

Causes :

  • Foods high in sulfur including eggs, meat, cabbage and beer.
  • Gastroparesis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gut fermentation
  • Food intolerance
  • Bowel obstruction

Putrid Gas

Flatus in certain cases may have an offensive putrid odor. This may be described as a ‘dead animal’, ‘rotting garbage’ or ‘fishy’ odor.

Causes :

  • Necrosis of sections of the intestinal lining, like in Ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease
  • Food poisoning
  • Pseudomembranous colitis
  • Any prolonged infection of the gut

Causes of Bloating and Gas


1. Aerophagia

Aerophagia is the voluntary or involuntary swallowing of air.

Causes :

  • Eating or drinking
  • Chewing gum
  • Smoking
  • Nasal breathing (blockage of nasal passages)
  • Anxiety (hyperventilation)
  • Poorly fitted dentures

Air is usually trapped within the esophagus and passed out with a belch. If the gas passes lower down the gastrointestinal tract, it will remain trapped until passed out as flatus. Air swallowing is not a common cause of flatulence and bloating but in cases of severe aerophagia, it can contribute to flatulence.

2. Foods That Contribute to Bloating and Gas

Certain foods have a tendency to produce more gas due to the action of intestinal bacteria. These foods are usually carbohydrates and indigestible fiber which may not be digested or absorbed by the body.Carbonated beverages may also contribute to flatulence if gas is not passed out with a belch.

Causes :

  • Carbonated drinks and beverages like beer.
  • High fiber foods like beans, brussel sprouts, celery, cabbage and other fibrous vegetables.
  • Alcohol in excess
  • Sugary foods like sweets
  • Starchy foods: wheat (white bread, pasta), oats, potatoes, corn, and rice
  • Medications: chemotherapy, antibiotics, laxatives, or medicines for diarrhea or pain (naproxen, ibuprofen) can cause gas.

Symptoms may vary but gas and bloating is often noticed a few minutes to hours after consuming the causative foods and beverages.


3. Helicobacter Pylori Infection

Helicobacter pylori is species of bacteria that can infect the stomach cavity. Chronic H.pylori infection (1) may contribute to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis and peptic ulcers. The pathophysiology of these disease may contribute to flatulence and bloating. H.pylori survives in the stomach acid by producing ammonia which is broken down to form carbon dioxide gas.

Chronic H.pylori infection may be asymptomatic. Typical symptoms are:

  • Uper abdominal bloating
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Belching
  • Gas (rarely)

4. Dumping Syndrome

Dumping syndrome is the rapid emptying of gastric contents into the intestine.

Causes :

  • Gastric bypass surgery for weight loss
  • Damage of pylorus due to operation or disease (adhesions, cancer)
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (2)
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Metoclopramide

Acute symptoms that appear 10-60 minutes after the meal:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations

The following delayed signs and symptoms may develop 1.5-4 hours after eating :

  • Sweating
  • Weakness, fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Feelings of anxiety, nervousness
  • Heart palpitations, rapid heart rate
  • Fainting
  • Mental confusion
  • Diarrhea

With time, many patients start to lose weight because of fear of eating.

5. Slow Gut Motility

Slow gut motility increases the time span that food stays within the gut.

Causes :

  • Gastroparesis
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Disorders of the nerve supply to the gastrointestinal tract (diabetic neuropathy, atherosclerosis of intestinal artheries)
  • Disorders of the smooth muscle on the gastrointestinal tract
  • Certain drugs may affect normal gut motility (peristalsis): anx
  • Bowel obstruction due to swelling, polyps, tumors

Symptoms :

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation


6. Pancreatic Insufficiency

In pancreatic insufficiency, digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas are reduced or stopped altogether from entering the small intestine.

Causes :

  • Pancreatitis (acute or chronic)
  • Gallstones
  • Hyperlipidemia or hypercalcemia
  • Certain drugs including corticosteroids, NSAID’s, blood pressure lowering agents, antibiotics and immune-suppressants.
  • Surgery
  • Anatomical abnormalities of the pancreas
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Genetic conditions
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Viral and bacterial infections of the pancreas

Symptoms :

  • Abdominal pain in upper central or left abdomen aggravated after eating and drinking
  • Whitish diarrhea, floating, sticky, and foul smelling stools
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence


7. Biliary Stasis

Biliary stasis is the reduction or absence of bile production or secretion into the gut.

Causes :

  • Gallstones
  • Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
  • Cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder)
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Other liver disease

Symptoms :

  • Pain of the upper right quadrant of the abdomen.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (bile may be regurgitated in biliary reflux)
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Whitish lose floating sticky stools (if a common hepatic dusct is ocluded with astone)


8. Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is a disorder of the gut usually caused by food contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites or their byproducts. Food poisoning can also result from chemicals within certain foods. Food poisoning is a common cause of traveler’s diarrhea. (4)

Causes :

  • Microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, parasites
  • Intestinal worms
  • Foods, including certain types of mushrooms, plants or meat. (5)

Symptoms :

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

9. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

Small intestine bacterial overgrowth is the increased bacterial population within the small intestine. This refers to an overgrowth of the naturally occurring bacterial population within the small intestine.

Causes :

  • Diabetes (Type I or II)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Damage to nerve or muscle due to surgery or other trauma
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Pancreatitis
  • Scleroderma
  • Postviral syndromes
  • Intestinal Obstruction
  • Diverticuli
  • Slow gut motility

Symptoms :

  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Nutritional deficiencies

10. Fructose and Sorbitol Malabsorption

Fructose and sorbitol malabsorption is the body’s inability to digest and absorb these carbohydrates.

Triggers :

  • Genetic factors
  • Sweeteners as sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, found in “sugar free” gum or soda, and many “low-calorie” foods
  • Most fruits, especially pears, apples, prunes, sweet cherries, dried fruits, fruit juices
  • Vegetables, like brocolli, artichokes
  • Honey

Symptoms :

  • Belching
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea

Hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI), that usually become obvious when a baby gets its first solid food, may cause more severe symptoms if dietary changes are not implemented. An excessive intake of fructose and/or sorbitol can cause the following symptoms :

  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged liver
  • Seizures

11. Lactose Intolerance

Lactose Intolerance is the body’s inability to digest lactose due to a deficiency of the enzyme lactase. Symptoms usually appear a few minutes to hours after consuming milk and dairy products.

Causes :

  • Decrease of lactase activity with age
  • Genetic factors (rarely)
  • Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, food poisoning or other intestinal diseases can cause temporary lactose intolerance


  • Belching
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea

12. Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder commonly referred to as gluten intolerance. The inability to absorb the protein gluten within certain starchy foods, grains and legumes like wheat, barley, rye and oats.

Causes :

  • Unknown factors
  • Genetic factors (if not triggered at birth, may be triggered after pregnancy or stress)
  • Surgery
  • Physical injury
  • Infection

Symptoms :

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal cramps or pain
  • Flatulence and bloating
  • Steatorrhea (foul smelling, light colored and smelly stools that may have fatty or oily residue)

Further complications and other symptoms may include :

  • Malnutrition which may cause stunted growth in children and vitamin/mineral
  • Swelling (edema)
  • Skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • Osteoporosis due to calcium deficiency
  • Neuropathy due to vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Weakness and/or fatigue due to iron deficiency anemia

13. Intestinal Obstruction

Intestinal Obstruction is a total blockage or significant partial obstruction of the small or large intestine.

Causes :

  • Intestinal adhesions
  • Hernia
  • Tumors
  • Congenital abnormalities (like Hirschsprung’s disease)
  • Intestinal telescoping (intussusception)
  • Intestinal twisting (volvulus)
  • Hard mass of intestinal contents (meconium) which is more common in newborns and infants
  • Diverticulitis
  • Foreign bodies
  • Scar tissue or inflammation due to Crohn’s disease
  • Ischemia of intestinal tissue

Symptoms :

  • Intermittent abdominal pain and cramps
  • Fever
  • Bloating
  • Difficulty passing gas
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Anorexia
  • Abdominal distension
  • Peritonitis

14. Short Bowel Syndrome

Short bowel syndrome is a malabsorption disorder due to a functional disorder or surgical removal of a portion of the small intestine.

Causes :

  • Surgical resection
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Mesenteric ischemia
  • Recurrent intestinal obstruction
  • Trauma
  • Radiation enteritis
  • Cancer
  • Volvulus
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (in premature newborns)
  • Congenital short bowel

Symptoms :

  • Nutritional malabsorption
  • Diarrhea
  • Steatorrhea (oily/fatty residue in stool)
  • Dehydration
  • Intestinal cramping
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

15. Gut Fermentation

Gut fermentation (dysbiosis) is the increased decomposition and fermentation of food and bowel contents by naturally occurring and/or foreign micro-organisms.

Causes :

  • Chronic use of antibiotics, antiviral and antifungal oral medication
  • Chemotherapy
  • Bacterial, yeast or parasitic overgrowth within the bowels.

Symptoms :

  • Bloating
  • Flatulence with an offensive odor
  • Intestinal cramping
  • Watery diarrhea


16. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of unknown origin usually affecting bowel movements. Food either passes too fast or too slow through the gut and this affected transient time can cause a host of symptoms.

Causes :

  • Causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are unknown.
  • Nerves and muscles of the bowels affected by a range of factors.

Aggravating factors :

  • Emotional stress
  • Diet
  • Drugs
  • Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine
  • Alcohol
  • Allergenic foods like dairy, wheat and nuts.

Symptoms :

  • Flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea or both alternating
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sensation of incomplete emptying after defecation

17. Constipation

Constipation is the difficulty in passing stool or infrequent stools associated with straining and hard stools.

Causes :

  • Low fiber intake
  • Low fluid intake
  • Poor bowel habits
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Lack of activity/exercise
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Drugs

Constipation can occur as a condition itself or as a symptom of other conditions. (3)

Symptoms :

  • Infrequent stools less than 3 times a week.
  • Hard stool
  • Straining upon passing stool
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Flatulence
  • Bloating

18. Pseudomembranous Colitis

Pseudomembranous colitis (antibiotic-associated colitis) is the inflammation of the colon mainly due to an overgrowth of Clostridium difficile.

Causes :

  • Antibiotics
  • Oral antiviral and antifungal agents
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immuno-suppressants
  • Recent surgery

Symptoms usually appear within 10 days of starting antibiotic therapy, or only after weeks:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence, barnyard smell of the gas
  • Diarrhea (usually of a watery nature)
  • Blood, mucus or pus in the stool, green stools
  • Low grade fever
  • Dehydration

19. Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis

Diverticuli are small outpouchings of the gastrointestinal tract. Diverticulosis is common in people over the age of 50 years and can affect any part of the gut. If these pouches become infected or inflamed (diverticulitis), it can cause a range of symptoms.

Causes :

  • Spastic colon or any condition causing spasms of the muscles of the intestinal wall
  • Prolonged increase in intestinal pressure
  • Weakening of the intestinal wall
  • Perforations of the intestinal wall
  • Bacterial infection of pouches
  • Inflammation of pouches

Symptoms :

  • Pain in the left low abdominal quadrant
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Abdominal cramps which are often painful
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Changes in bowel movement


A case history is essential to diagnose the causative factor. The following information needs to be taken into account.

Concomitant symptoms will provide a better indication for a differential diagnosis. Changes in bowel movement. Pain after eating or drinking.

Medical and family history will assist with identifying any predisposing factors. Lactose intolerance. H.pylori infection. Aggravated by certain foods.

This information should be carefully noted and provided to the consulting physician to assist with a diagnosis.

Tests :

  • An endoscopy and/or colonoscopy are the most definitive diagnostic tools.
  • Stool samples will often indicate the presence of microbial byproducts and residue of foods.
  • Stool cultures will assist with identifying causative micro-organisms.
  • X-rays and ultrasound scans will assist with identifying anatomical features / abnormalities.
  • Barium contrast X-rays are useful in identifying anatomical abnormalities within the gut.
  • Hematological studies will indicate nutritional deficiencies, infection and therapeutic drug use.
  • Paracentesis is the withdrawal of fluid from the abdominal cavity and this is a useful investigative technique to identify the cause of ascites.


Treatment should be directed at the causative factor(s).

  • Discontinue the foods or lifestyle factors that contribute to the condition.
  • Activated charcoal may be used in cases of chemical and or food poisoning.
  • Studies have indicated that activated charcoal may assist directly with flatulence and reduction of malodor. (6)
  • Fiber may assist with irritable bowel syndrome and constipation but may exacerbate flatulence.
  • Probiotic supplements containing intestinal bacterial spores may assist with restoring intestinal bacterial populations.
  • Antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents are required for infections within the gut.
  • Antidiarhheals (loperamide) and laxatives are useful for restoring bowel movements.
  • Antispasmodics (scopolamine butylbromide) are useful for intestinal cramping.
  • Surgical intervention may be necessary in cases of intestinal obstruction.
  • Bloating accompanied by dizziness, sweating and fainting should be treated as an emergency and immediate medical attention should be sought.

Related Articles:


  1. Helicobacter Pylori (
  2. Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (
  3. Constipation (
  4. Traveler’s Diarrhea (
  5. Food poisoning (
  6. Treatment of Bloating and Gas (

Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis. By using this website and the comment service you agree to abide by the comment terms and conditions as outlined on this page


    Interesting…read all of the above info as well as on gerd andbelching…which is my problem…after eating feeling like it was not going all the way down..almost as if getting stuck in my lower esaphogas…Overall healthy not overweight, just bloated in the stomach area, non smoker, very minimal alchhol, however love milk, and chocolates, potato chips, snacks…I eat a lot…my mouth sez: “feed me” and then I eat or snack, but my stomach does not feel hungry as a rule… I dont exercise enough, but some…pretty active 55 yr old…no couch potato…but the pressure and the belching is my biggest problem.
    I am scheduled for an endoscopy in a few weeks, but reading one of your other articles most of the people with these problems that did those tests found nothing. One thing I read here that concerns me is the swallowing of air thru the mouth. For some timenow(several years) I have almost a perpetually blocked sinus’s. I cannot breath clearly thru my nose. Also, (and even when I do not have a cold) if I lay down on the couch to watch TV, my sinus’s drain constantly and I am constantly swallowing the results…(nothingelse to do with it). If I blow my nose, it clears it up but within minutes I am blocked up again. Maybe this is affecting my air intake while eating…resulting in belching…and if so how do I keep my sinus’s clear? I went to an ear, nose throat doc about this sinus breathing prob, he did a camera scope up my nose down my throat and said “all looks well”. Then prescribed a nasal spray, but that only helped keep me clear right after using it for a little while. I also have a bad habit in the winter of laying in front of the heater vent or a space heater. But that actually seems to dry me out, but my wife insists it could be a cause of some problem. Just hate being cold..its a comfort thing. Any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated…

  • Jan Modric


    CLEAR NOSE discharge may be from allergy, but DENSE YELLOW/GREEN disscharge is either from recurrent common cold or chronic sinusitis that often goes with pain in cheeks, or fronthead. Bacterial sinusitis is usually treated with antibiotics.

    Swollen discharge may contribute in belching , but I doubt this could be the main cause.

    ENDOSCOPY may reveal chronic gastritis, mostly caused by H. pylori bacteria. H. pylori may be diagnosed with blood, breath or stool tests also. H. pylori can produce large amounts of gas and thus cause belching.

    Food staying in the stomach and “not going down” is a symptom in GASTROPARESIS. Diagnosis is with stomach emptying test, where you eat a specific meal with a contrast substance and then X-ray images of stomach emptying are done.

    So, tests before endoscopy may be breath/blood/stool test for H. pylori, and stomach emptying test for gastroparesis.

  • Pingback: Excessive Belching/Burping - Causes and Treatment | Current Health Articles 2008()

  • Ling

    I am 24 years old and I’ve been having burping and bloating from between the ribcage to stomach. I would swell up like a balloon after I eat and it feels horrible when I burp. It’s as though there’s a sharp pain to the stomach every time I burp. I was able to go to kaiser and the doctors don’t know what’s wrong and keep passing me to another doctor and accidently gave me the wrong medicine for heart burn for 2 years and I’m not too sure if it influence it or not. I cut back on coffee, sweets, chocolate, acidic fruits, dairy and spicy food. I can’t really avoid too much greasy food, because I have 2 jobs in the mall and work everyday. I’m not working out but I’m not overweight. Sometimes I pack a sandwich to eat for lunch, but it still comes now and then. I try to take some gas-x medicine to help relieve the pain once in awhile. I don’t really want to rely on the medicine. I was wondering if I should find a specialist or if there’s a better medicine.

  • Ling

    .. also, forgot to mention It happens every two week when it hurts badly. After I eat I would burp a lot until my body forces itself to vomit, although it feel like it helps. I don’t think its something to rely on when I feel the pain.

  • Jan Modric

    Hi, Ling.

    Upper abdominal bloating usually arises from the stomach or upper intestines. Infection with H. pylori and gastroparesis are two common causes. It’s explained here:

  • Mi

    A lot of bloating. Have been taken pacreasis supplement and had 2 kg increase in weight. Swelling stats right after the meal and lasts the whole day.

  • Jan Modric


    Gastroenterologist can perform:
    – test of pancreatic function
    – gastric emptying test (to evaluate gastroparesis or dumping syndrome
    – H. pylori test
    – ultrasound of gallbladder
    – lactose intolerance or fructose malabsorption test

    …since these are main causes of bloating

  • Jereene Cadore

    hi I’ve been suffering from gas and bloating for the pass few months and I don’t know what to do.Can you please help me.

  • Jan Modric

    Jereene, do you think bloating is associated to some type of food, like:
    – fruits
    – dairy
    – cereals
    – sugary food?

  • Pingback: FODMAP Diet - Foods to Avoid in IBS & Bowel Disorders with Bloating and Gas | Current Health Articles 2009()

  • Dee

    Hi,i v bin havin serious flatulence 4 d past 2yrs,it rily get me worried n uncomfortable arnd ppl.Every meal i eat seems 2 gv me gas, pls wat shld i do? I rily wnt 2 b normal again.( Nigeria)

  • Jan Modric

    – does gas have bad smell?
    – Is there any mucus in the stool?
    – Light-colored stool that float on the water, or sticks to the toilet?
    – Is flatulence related with dairy, or fruits?

    Can you see gastroenterologist? Some simple stool tests can show, if you have some food intolerance, or parasites, or so.

  • Pingback: What Causes Mucus in Bowel Movement? | Current Health Articles 2009()

  • Be

    I have IBS for 2mos now. Nothing seems to work for me. I am on a bland diet, eating small meals, taking probiotics, dicyclomin everyday. I am bloating all day- my stomach is always gassy & feels full. I look like a 3 month preggo. Please advice.

  • Jan Modric

    – when your symptoms started?
    – what’s bland diet – what exactly (which types of food) you eat or not eat?
    – any other symptoms?
    – is it upper or lower abdominal bloating?
    – do you also burp excesivelly?
    – age, weight?

    One approcah is to:
    1. get all appropriate testing for possible causes of bloating like listed above…that are lactose intolerance, parasites, celiac disease…
    2. start eliminating diet.

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  • Anna

    Hi, I am 28 yr old female. I have been living in the hostel for the last 3 yrs almost and have been eating out from cafeterias etc (minimum home made food). I have flatulence problem for the last couple of months. I wasnt worried initially but now the frequency has increased. It usually starts couple of hours after a meal AND my tummy bloats a bit and i feel discomfort. I should also mention that i usually have a proper meal once a day and take small bits of junk food during the day (a packet of chips, biscuits etc). . I started taking multi vitamin a few months back but I am not regular in taking it. I usually have a soft drink when i have my meal. and i spicy food gives me an epigastric discomfort now. plus i belch when im totally empty stomach.

    I hope this is enough information to cut down on the list of options. I hope you can help me in this since i was unable to narrow down on one cause for flatulence.


  • Dr. Pravith

    Hi Ann

    It is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause for your case and it would be advisable that you consult with your medical doctor.

    It seems that you may be suffering with increased gastric acid. The stomach acid can increase or become more acidic (lower pH) for a number of reasons. You may also be suffering with an H.pylori infection.

    Your poor eating habits further contributes to the problem which may now become chronic and you should seek treatment immediately to prevent further exacerbations of the condition.

    While your medical doctor will overlook your treatment, you should start adopting a healthier diet. Less junk food, refined wheat products, refined sugar and so on. More high fiber food and whole grains. Avoid the ‘gassy’ vegetables, carbonated drinks and any other foods or drinks that you find that may aggravate your condition.

    Most importantly, adopt healthy eating habits from now. Ideally we should be eating 5 meals a day. 3 medium sized meals and 2 small meals in between. Breakfast and lunch should be the bigger meals in comparison to supper. You may feel that you do not have time to incorporate this into your day but you will find that your current dietary habit can contribute to other conditions like obesity at a later stage in life.

    Proper eating should significantly improve your current gas and bloating problem.

    Hope this information is helpful.

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  • Aanya

    hello there!
    im 30 year old female having terrible bloating and gas problems which make my life really difficult. im am starting to think that i should not eat at all – i become vegetarian and i dont drink alcohol any more. still eating diary products though…please help!!!

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Aanya

      Dairy products could most likely be contributing to the gas and bloating. Even if you are NOT lactose intolerant, dairy can still aggravate gas and bloating. Try to switch to a diet without dairy for a week or so. Opt for soy milk and related non-dairy products and take note if your gas and bloating subsides. If so then you have found the causative factor. Also consider a probiotic containing Sacchromyces boulardi, an yeast that assists with regulating the intestinal bowel flora (bacteria). This product is available in pharmacies globally under different trade names and may be of use for your condition.

      Always consult with a medical practitioner if your symptoms persist to exclude moer serious pathology.

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  • skiingrl00

    I have always had stomach problems since I was a child. Gas bloating diarrhea and constipation. Recently my stomach pains have been gone but now they are coming back accompanied with a feeling of being full all of the time feeling nauseous and stomach and lower abdominal crams plus extreme bloating. What might be going on?

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Skiingrl00

      A chronic gatrointestinal problem such as the one you have been experiencing since early childhood warrants further investigation. Your symptoms can be attributed to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) but the diagnosis should be made by your doctor. Refer to our article on IBS for more information. I must stress that the appearance of lower abdominal cramps may not always be related to your gut and could signal gynacelogical disorders. It is best to leave the investigation and diagnosis to your physician or gynecologist.

  • Whitney

    I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and psoriasis… I am 24 years old and not obese but not skinny either. I have had problems with abdomen pain, gas, belching, and diarrhea since early childhood, but now that I am on Metformin and birth control (a combo to treat the polycycstic ovarian syndrome) it has doubled. I love milk and drink it constantly, it has actually started helping the pain and bloating. Due to my life long yo-yo weight issues, my worry is that I may have undiagnosed celiac or chron’s. Any suggestions would be wonderful!

    • Dr. Pravith

      Hi Whitney

      Based on the limited information provided in this sort of medium, I would say that you could be correct about your condition and celiac disease is most definitely a possibility. Given your history of other autoimmune conditions, I would advise that you consult with your doctor and express your concern about your condition. He would be best suited to make the final diagnosis. Crohn’s could also be a possibility but unlikely as it would have presented with more severe symptoms at this point which would be detected by any physician. Also consider the possibility that your current abdominal pain and bloating may be due to the medication you are currently taking but considering your polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you could also be experiencing referred pain from the ovaries/fallopian tubes. You complex medical history means that you have to seek advice and assistance from your doctor before undertaking any changes in your therapy.

      Good luck

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  • Aaron

    Hi there. I have been suffering from severe flatulence for the last 4-5 years. I get gas usually in the evenings if not all day. I pass gas all night while sleeping; i know because a horrible stench is there when i wake up! It sticks to clothes, ruined my mattress and lingers in an unbeleivable way, so airing out the room doesnt help. The smell whan i pass gas is what you’d expect but stronger; but the residual smell has seemed at times sickly sweet, sometimes musty or smoky, doesn’t seem like something that could come out of a human… I also have a very gurgly stomach, and some bloating and cramps, but they are very mild. I had a period of months where i had light colored stools and frequent/urgent needs to defecate, but lately i am more towards the constipation end of things.

    My family doctor had some blood tests and stool samples taken, could not help but referred me to a GI doctor who has a waiting list of up to a year!

    I’m at the end of my rope!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Aaron

      You most definitely need to see the GI doctor (gastroenterologist). A colonoscopy, and maybe even an endoscopy, may be necessary. A number of bowel conditions can cause the host of symptoms that you are experiencing and could even be related to other diseases affecting the liver. An important point to take note of is whether your gas patterns change when you change your diet. Try a diet without refined foods, like refined wheat in bread, cakes and pastries, and even pasta. Discontinue all refined sugar and increase your daily fresh fruit and vegetable intake. If you notice a significant change in your gas problem, then report it to your gastroenterologist. If you find that you are urging, especially within 20 minutes to an hour after eating, report this to your doctor as well.

      It would not be responsible to comment on a possible diagnosis without conducting a colonoscopy.

  • nysnapdragon

    I am at the end of my rope…I am a 61 year old, relatively healthy female. Not overweight however not thin. I exercise regularly and am on high blood pressure meds. My chronic problem is blurping…constantly. I take Nexium and the razor blades go away but the belching is relief. I eat healthy foods..mainly fruit and vegetables, a little chicken and fish. My one vice is coffee. I sometimes go to bed and lie on my side to get relief from the constant feeling of fullness and having a burp caught midway!! I have had all kinds of tests in the last five years..colonoscopy, endoscope, looking at the sphinter in the esphogus. I had a lipoma removed endoscopically about five years ago in between my stomach and esphogus area..but I still have this chronic problem. I do suffer from IBS too…but the belching is sending me over the edge. Really want to feel normal. Any diagnosis ideas?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Nysnapdragon

      Given your medical history, there are quite a few factors to take into consideration. Your history of IBS could be a consideration and dependent on your presentation of IBS, slow gut motility or conversely dumping syndrome should be considered. Any invasive procedure to the gut, like surgery, can contribute to gas build up and it is important to identify if this started only after your procedure. You anti-hypertensive medication may also be responsible. Lastly, as you admitted coffee is your vice so I assume you are drinking large amounts of it in a day. My advice would be to firstly stop all coffee for at least a week and see if your symptom eases. Then consult with your doctor and mention the burping and enquire about the medication that you are currently using and if an alternative drug could be considered. Do NOT stop the anti-hypertensive drugs.

  • HD

    Hi, I am 38yo female, I don’t drink, quit smoking 3mos ago. Have awful bloating, gas, and frequently, usually in afternoon and/or when jogging, get very sharp cramp in upper right quad of abdomen, right under ribs. Usually lasts a couple of hours. I eat healthy and work out regularly. Gas is all the time, especially at night. I don’t have health ins. and can’t see doc. Wondering if I should go gluten free for awhile and see if that helps? Years ago diagnosed with GERD Duodenal ulcer and barret’s esophogus but haven’t had any acid reflux issues for a long time

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi HD

      Even if you do not suffer with heartburn, you may still have reflux that may be presenting as pain. There is no indication that a gluten free diet would be useful at this point since you have not indicated any disturbance in bowel movement. While you have quit smoking, do you use other stimulants like caffeine?

      It would be difficult to diagnose you on an online platform such as this and a consultation with a doctor is necessary. Even though you do not have insurance, public health care facilities are available. With regards to right upper quadrant abdominal pain, it is often an indication of a liver or lung problem. Any activity, like jogging, increases the breathing rate and if you have any lung disorders, this may be an indication of it. Having been a smoker who quit just 3 months ago, you are still considered a smoker as any pathology relating to long term cigarette smoking will not ease in just 3 months. Once again, I must stress that you should see a doctor.

  • SparkleM

    Hello Dr. I have chronic gas, with putrid odor, and also occasional diarheea (but more often than most others. The reason I am writing is to stop the gas and also because when I have diarheea sometimes the cramping in my stomach causes me to pass out. What is wrong with me?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sparkle

      I assume the gas that you refer to is flatulence. Severe cramping associated with IBS (spastic colon) can be painful to the point that it causes changes in the blood pressure, causing you to pass out. You definitely need to consult with a doctor if your pain is so severe that you are fainting. Do not ignore the problem as there could be more serious causes to your problem than just IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

  • Ray

    I recently started having bloating problems and when i belch it feels like rotten eggs. Diarrhea, flatulence and vomitting that tastes like fermented saccharides are by-symptoms.
    It aggravates after eating anything at all. What can i do because i am almost scared of eating.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Ray

      There could be a number of reasons for these symptoms. I would advise reading these two articles on Health Hype.

      1. Sulphur Burps
      2. What is IBS?

      Diarrhea and vomiting that are persisting should be a cause for concern and you need to consult with a gastroenterologist. You will ikely need an endoscopy for a conclusive diagnosis to be made by your doctor.

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  • Kathryn

    Dear Dr:
    My name is Kathryn and I am 63 years old and desparetly need help. I just had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy about one month ago. They removed 2 poloyps(sp?)(one rather large) from my colon and found I have sever GERD, (which I knew I have and take medication for). The biopsy was benign, but the specialist wants to see me, the soonest they can get me in is about a month away. In the meantime, the Acephex is not helping with the GERD, I end up taking Pepcid throughout the day and night. I have sever bloating, partial vomiting (I swallow and it’s awful), lots of cramping and dumping. The stools are often light to light yellowish in color and sometimes appear to have mucus or slightly darker and sticky. I’m getting to the point where I can’t eat anything without this horrible and uncomfortable bloating and dumping. Should I call the specialist office and advise them that my symptoms are getting worse? Also, could these symptoms be a gallblader problem? Even though the biopsy was benign could there still be an area they couldn’t see or could this all be precancer? To be honest, I don’t care what it is, I just want to find out so it can be treated and all this discomfort can go away. Thank you for any kind of information you can share with me.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Kathryn

      It is difficult to say if there are any other ‘cancerous’ polyps in the affected area. Yes, this is always a possibility but since you doctor has done a colonoscopy, he has excluded this for now. A regular colonoscopy, at least every 6 to 12 months, until your conditions eases (if it eases) will be necessary. It is unlikely your problem is due to a gallbladder problem although it is a possibility. A gallbladder problem in your case, should only be considered if there is no evidence of gastrointestinal disorders. You may have developed ulcerative colitis or even Crohn’s disease but considering your age, you should have seen signs and symptoms of this earlier in life. The change in medication and surgery is no guarantee that your symptoms would ease and even so, it was not going to happen overnight. If you are unsure, contact your doctor. It is important to note that age is a complicating factor at this stage and any drug therapy has to be carefully considered if you have other chronic conditions seen with age, like hypertension or diabetes. Do not try to self medicate without speaking to your doctor first. What may give you short term relief for your GERD, could be complicating other pathologies. Speak to your doctor.

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  • zgss04

    I have had a problem with 24 hour bloating for over 2 years. More burping than flatulence. Have lost 25-30 pounds over that span though this could be explained by less eating.
    Started as a change in bowel movement, previous chronic mild constipation went to going 2 times a day, with mild gas pains, and change in stool color. Stools are often smelly (though this precedes the change in bowel movement). Sometimes floating transparent stuff (is this mucus?) in stool. Couldn’t eat much without feeling full and lost weight. They did all kinds of tests: CT scans (full body, lungs, pancreas) but nothing. Colonoscopy (clean) and upper GI endoscopy (some “bulbous” areas, and white areas, biopsies were clean).
    Ultra-sound was inconclusive due to presence of gas. Blood tests for Crohn, Celiac, pancreas, prostate etc negative. One stool test for parasites negative (but I understand this is a high failure test).
    Meanwhile I took PPI (Omeprazole) for 2-3 months.
    With a low fat, bland, rice and lentil, ground turkey, cooked vegetables diet my condition improved for a few months. Went back to a more normal diet and weight stabilized for a few months. But now am continuing to lose weight as I eat less and have started playing active tennis. Bloating is more upper abdomen.
    IBS medicine (Hyomax) sometimes seems to help, but definitely does not solve the problem. Problem foods are eggs and things that contain eggs, dairy products (I once ate an ice-cream sandwich that gave me severe stomach cramps), spicy foods. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Zgss

      The stool may have mucus or fats (steatorrhea) and many of your symptoms may be related to your gallbladder. A reduction is bile production and secretion into the gut prevents proper emulsification of fats in your diet. This could also explain why you felt better with a low fat diet. This article on Gallbladder Tests may assist with more answers. IBS is also a very likely cause of the symptoms you are experiencing and any treatment for IBS has limited efficacy so management has to revolve around diet and lifestyle factors.

  • zgss04

    Should have included the fact that I am male, 56 years old. The “white patches” they found in my upper GI endoscopy were in the esophagus and duodenum (biopsy clean), also no indication of GERD, candidiasis from this same procedure.
    Many thanks for any suggestions!

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  • ghost2897

    Hi, i’m a 22 year old male and i’ve had a quite persistent flatulence problem now for like close to 7 years.
    It’s driving me up the wall. I go to my classes and my bench mate starts sniffin as if tryin to weed out a bad smell.It happens everywhere, i sit with someone and they start sniffin as in like u know try to avoid a smell to a point that they start coughing!!!
    I am not overweight. I dont think im lactose intolerant although it does induce excretion. My stool does not stick to the pot. I do chew Gum a lot coz well i had root canal and i do have a few more cavities so sorta to take that out. I workout in the gym. And basically im gettin tired of this problem, its caused ntg but ….well yeah i guess everybody here has been through that. One more thing i dunno if this is any good, but i used to be sorta of a chronic masturbator, since like i dunno 12 – 13 up until, well not so long ago.
    some help, anything please doctor!!!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Ghost

      Lactose intolerance can most definitely contribute to your flatulence and you are lactose intolerant since it triggers a bowel movement. Exclude all dairy from yoru diet, avoid spicy foods and trigger or gassy foods from your diet like cabbage and beans. If you naturally have a diet high in vegetables, consider adding the spice asafoetida to your meals. Alternatively use activated charcoal tablets on a daily basis. If a change in diet does not change your flatulence, then you need to consult with a medical doctor.

  • sad_belly

    I’ve had bloating, belching and flatulence issues after a trip to Cabo 3.5 yrs ago. Have done many GI and blood tests with no luck. Negative for Crohns, Celiac, H pylori, etc. Did test positive for SIBO and Hashimotos, but antibotics and hormone treatment has not resolved problem. Drs. think I’m swallowing air despite no physical evidence of it i.e. they observe I am not swallowing air. I don’t believe I am swallowing air (aerophagia). Are there any tests to prove it? Could it be sinus/breathing problem? I would really like to know if there are any diagnostics to prove aerophagia could be the cause. I used to work out 5-6x a week, ran 3 marathons, but after this problem popped up, I can’t work out as it’s hard to breathe when I keep belching as well as flatulate. My lifestyle has been affected. I’ve gained 10 lbs because of this. Any insight is appreciated.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sad Belly

      If you are have any form of nasal congestion, partial or complete obstruction, you will undoubtedly swallow air when eating, drinking or even talking. While there is no test that is worthwhile to even consider in aerophagia, and it is very difficult for any third part like your doctor to observe air swallowing, you have to become more conscious about whether you are doing it or not.

      Any gas related GI problem that is affecting your lifestyle to the point that you cannot partake in your regular activities is a bit unsettling and I think you need to see a gastroenterologist, or even get a second opinion. Hashmimoto’s is an autoimmune disease and with that in mind, there is obviously more going on than just a simple GI problem. Belching, bloating and flatulence are simply symptoms of a condition. I would say that you stop focusing on proving, or disproving, aerophagia but rather visit both an endocrinologist and gastroenterologist.

      The weight gain may not be entirely due to the lack of activity but could also be a result of the Hashimoto’s. The fact that you are gaining weight while on thyroid hormone drugs indicates that you condition is not being managed well. Even if you were not responsive initially, alternative prescriptions should be considered for your Hashimoto’s until the desired results have been achieved.

      A few questions :
      1. Do you keep changing doctors and clinics after a few visits?
      2. Are you consulting with medical specialists over a period of time?
      3. Have you ever been tested for human intestinal parasites?

  • sad_belly

    Forgot to mention, I even went on elemental vivonex diet for 2 weeks to see if it would cure the SIBO per Cedar Sinai GI treatment. NO luck. I don’t think diet is an issue as I’ve tried to exclude problem foods with no noticable improvement.

  • Sarah


    I am 21 years old and until last year rarely (possibly at the max once a week/fortnight) would pass gas and would only ever belch after a carbonated drink if even then. In fact I do not know how to burp by myself. I have tried for many years and just cannot do it unless I have a really, really fizzy drink. This is now causing a huge problem since for the last 12 months I have suddenly started feeling really bloated and like my lower intestine all the way to my throat is constantly filled with gas. Since I cant belch it out I dont know what to do. I can sometimes feel like I have trapped gas and bloating for ten hours at a time with no relief. I have also been feeling the constant need to pass gas but once again I struggle to do this and only pass very very small amounts of gas every 15 minutes-ish, so small that they provide no relief at all. AT times my gas can be really foul smelling, at other times it doesnt smell at all.
    I can go hours feeling like I have a stomach full of trapped gas with no where for it to go. I am very thin, and underweight but have always been this way and never previously used to pass gas. Now i feel like I could pass gas at any moment and it is making it really uncomfortable for me to go anywhere because I feel like I haver no control over it. I also get a lot of gurgling OR sloshing noises coming from my stomach. This has only started in the last year and as far as I can tell I havent changed my diet or anything in the last year so I dont know what may have caused it. Please help.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sarah

      While you do feel like you are full of trapped gas throughout your gut, this is usually impossible. The gut is divided into compartments and is not a continuous ‘canister’ that is able to contain gas under high pressure irrespective of loud burps or explosive flatus. The important part of your report is that you ‘feel full and bloated’ which I do not deny is a very real sensation to you. If it was purely gas, it would have found a way of exiting your system, even though you are unable to push it out with force.

      Please remember that even in the past, while you felt like you were not passing gas through you mouth or as flatus, it was happening but to such a slight degree that you could not detect it. My main question here is are you constipated as well?

      There is a syndrome that occurs in young menstruating women, which causes a malabsorption syndrome, meaning that they do not absorb nutrients from the gut effectively. This contributes to being underweight, anemia (low iron) which is often solely blamed on menses and not on the fact that iron is not being absorbed from the gut, and constipation with reports of bloating although there is no clear distension of the abdomen. I mention this because it maybe the cause of your feeling of ‘gas’ which is linked to sluggish bowel movements although there is a constant urging (your perception that you feel like passing gas). As for the fluctuation in the smell of your gas, that is normal, and odor does vary.

      Do you have any other conditions, even if totally unrelated your gastrointestinal symptoms?

  • jc

    I am a male in my mid 70s. For almost four months I have had very loud intestinal noises with excessive flatulence. I feel bloated after eating, so I eat small meals. I have lost about 15 lbs. in the past 2 1/2 months, but I think this is because I have cut back on eating due to the intestinal noises, pressure and gas. I had radiation treatment for prostate cancer last year. My current symptoms started about one year after my radiation treatment ended. I had a colonoscopy, and it showed a lot of diverticulosis, mucous, and radiation proctitis. The gastroenterologist can’t help me. He said to go to the ER and have them do tests. What tests should I have done? What could be causing my symptoms? I am also lactose intolerant, so I don’t eat or drink dairy products. The doctor said the bacteria in my digestive tract could have an imbalance. I still had the symptoms after the colonoscopy, so the prep didn’t clear out the bacteria. I read about hydrogen breath tests, but they contain lactulose. Since I am lactose intolerant, wouldn’t that affect me?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi JC

      Given you previous medical history and age, I would advise that you visit the general practitioner at the day clinic, like your gastroenterologist suggested, for basic management of your symptoms. Considering further tests is quite unnecessary as there are many other possible causes, many of which you have already been diagnosed in you, contributing to your gastrointestinal problem. It is not that your gastroenterologist cannot help but given your medical history, he is making a decision of focusing on those conditions that are a priority, even though your bloating and flatulence is probably quite uncomfortable. Having survived prostate cancer, one of the most invasive of cancers, plus your age and other GI problem, I would advise conservative management, like a diet that is less likely to aggravate your bloating and flatulence, using Sacchromyces boulardi (Magifloa) capsules and even a little exercise after a meal would help reduce your symptoms to some extent.

      The obsession with diagnostic investigation often leads to unnecessary testing where patients are not prepared to accept the doctor’s decisions, when it has been made with many factors taken into consideration. Testing is just a tool, it should not be the definitive measure in managing any condition, else every person would consider self testing and making their own decisions on their medical care and disease mangement. I say this to you because your doctors were obviously competent enough to assist you during your time with prostate cancer, and so on. Let them make the decisions instead of approaching them with tests that you consider relevant. Any information provided on an online platform like this is just a portion of the information and honestly, we would need to peek into your doctor’s case file to get a full breakdown of your history and understand why they are making the decisions that they are currently.

  • Aeroguy

    Hi I am a male 26, for the last couple of years I have been having stomach problems. Firstly i am constantly cramming my stomach, as though something is not moving in there, also my stools change a lot. I can have one healthy bowel movement and the next will be stools that look they are broken (best way i can describe it is they were not compacted well)which seems like tiny food particles up along with slimy stuff floating on top…i guess mucus. Also i have high blood pressure, not sure if that’s due to the constant bloated stomach that i have. What tests should my doctor have me done? thanks

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Aeroguy

      A colonoscopy is essential given your symptoms. This should be done immediately to exclude certain conditions like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. I would advise that you speak to your doctor about this procedure as soon as possible. Only once a colonoscopy has been concluded and if there are no conclusive results, would other tests be considered.

  • CRO

    I am 58 yeasr old male. For the last few years I have been suffering from almost constant flatulence. It seems to start with grumbling of the stomach. Many times I will go to the bathroom and pass a small amount of stool but it start up agin in a few hours. This happens several time a day.

    This is very embarassing at work. It does not have an odor as far as I know but it is very explosive and noisy.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi CRO

      Age related gastrointestinal symptoms such as yours are common and apart from age or change of diet, it also occurs with chronic medication that is used later in life, although you have not mentioned any. While the symptoms seem minor from what you say, your age always makes any change in bowel movements a cause for concern due to the incidence on colon cancer globally. This is not to say that your symptoms are due to cancer, most definitely not, but you do require a colonoscopy if you notice any persistent change in habits after the age of 50 years. It could be a case of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or some lifestyle factor that may be constantly interfering with your natural intestinal flora (‘good bacteria’). Possibilities are endless but it needs to be investigated given your high risk age group.

  • Bettie

    Hoping you may have some advice or ideas on this: have excessive flatulence that just comes and I don’t seem to have any control at all. However, I do not have any stomach discomfort nor do I have any bloating. The majority of the time, there really isn’t any odor and it seems almost impossible to hold it in; it just comes out involuntarily and it is very embarrassing. Hopefully, you have some thoughts and/or advice. Thank you very much.

    • Dr. Greg

      Hi Bettie

      How long has this been occurring and do you have any other illnesses, even if unrelated?
      How many bowel movements a day?
      Are you on any medication currently?

  • rgoble

    Hi, I’m a 40 year old female. for past two years, I’ve had a periodic problem, which has now become almost constant. I gain 2-3 lbs, feel bloated, my stomach is rumbly often, and I have almost constant need to pass gass. And pass it quite frequently… sometimes with an odor, sometimes without. Then it goes away, and I’m back to normal weight and feel great.. It does get worse around the time of my period, and when I travel for work (usually once a week) when i also get constipated.

    I’ve had colonoscopy, etc. and all that was found was some large internal hemorhoids. I’m thin, exercise regularly, eat healthy food, etc. I take a stool softener (colace) and probiotics, and vitamins, magnesium, etc. Do you think this has to do with hormones and peri-menopause? I have had other symptoms (e.g. night sweats, awful mood swings, etc) or, a gut thing with bacteria. My most recent bloating even which has gone on now for 2 months started after I took antibiotics. I’m sort of at a loss. Any ideas?

    • Dr. Greg

      Hi RGoble

      Your symptoms, related to your periods, may very likely have to do with your hormone levels. In addition, do you suffer with any gynecological problems, like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) or endometriosis? Apart from hormone levels, your condition could also be psychological as it occurs during times when you are possibly stressed or anxious. Since you do have bloating after a course of antibiotics, it may be advisable to take a course of Saccahromyces boulardi. Speak to your pharmacist about this product. You need to consult with your doctor or see a gastroenterologist as more serious bowel related disorders may start around the age of 40 years.

  • Pip

    Am suffering increased flatulence over last 6-8 weeks. Gas tends to build up through the day, and is pretty bad (volume and smell) by evening. No cramping though, a little bloated in the evenings. Stopped smoking at that time, and am attributing it to slowed GIT activity. No other changes in diet, other than slightly increased fiber and increased activity – which should help! What I need advice on is – how long do I have to put up with this? and is there anything for the short term which really assists in reducing flatulence. Have tried probiotics for over a week, with no changes.
    Many thanks.

    • Dr. Greg

      Hi Pip

      Yes, you are correct about the effects of nicotine on bowel movement. Constipation is one of the common symptoms that ex-smokers suffer with, immediately after stopping. How many bowel movements do you have in a day? Fiber and increased activity assist, but you may also have to consider a change in diet. Also remember that too much of fiber can aggravate gas buildup as well. Also consider live culture yoghurt although this may increase flatulence to some degree, but try small quantities after eating.

  • lgf34


    I have problem digesting almost anything since almost 1 year.

    Steak and rice only can be OK if I don’t eat too much but it looks like the more I eat, the more “gassy” I get. I don’t have diarrhea, but it’s not solid either (depending on what I eat). Over the course of the last 2 months I’ve lost 15 pounds (I’m already really thin) because

    I feel bloated and gassy 30 min after eating, then after a couple of hours I feel fine again. I also feel “bubbles” in my gut and I also hear some sounds.

    At home I wear “loose pants” and I feel really better than when I have to go out and wear “normal” clothes. At morning I have some gas too.

    I don’t eat milk anymore or anything with milk product in it, I avoid “commercial food”… I tried not to eat gluten for 2 weeks. I make my own food and it’s still not better.

    I’ve had big diarrhea some time after eating commercial food.

    I really don’t have any other symptoms than that. no blood, no stomach pain.
    I’ve found that I have trouble digesting monosodium glutamate so I avoid anything with that too.

    Could it be parasites or IBS?

    • Dr. Greg

      Hi LGF

      IBS is quite likely due to your sensitivity to certain foods, many of which are known trigger foods in IBS (like MSG). You should visit a gastroenterologist as it appears that you may be experiencing some difficulty in adequately digesting food and/or absorbing nutrients, hence the weight loss and more fluid stool consistency. This can be confirmed by a stool analysis but should only be considered once your gastroenterologist has excluded other possible conditions.

  • rareair

    About ten years ago I got very sick. lasting about two years, seemingly related to environmental exposures including mold in my home. Symptoms included bad cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, needling pains in legs, fatigue (sleeping 15-16 hours/day), memory problems, asthma onset…After much searching for help in Western Medical settings (including lots of anti-biotics) I sought out a “natural physician” and improved thru new environment, supplements, diflucan (I believe?-little pink caplet). Still I’ve had some ongoing symptoms, and an exacerbation after mold exposure at work about two years ago. Now with gas (odor varies), bloating. burping, intermittent diarrhea and constipation. Recently I needed several courses of anti-biotics again for UTI’s. Symptoms increased and now I am more fatigued, constipated, gurgly, faltulent during sleep,fog-brained, lethargic.I used to be very active but now less inclined. Definately lactose intolerant, love dark chocolate too much, sugar sensitive-should avoid but poor control, maybe having a hard time with wheat/grains. Also long history of “acne” on face, rear, outer-upper thighs, and now back, shoulders, chest-but I’m not convinced it’s all acne. Individual blemishes often seem to appear on both sides of body symetrically, but don’t look clustered like Celiac rash images.
    Appreciate your perspective and any suggestions. Thx.

    • Dr. Greg

      Hi Rareair

      It is difficult to comment on your exact condition as your seem to be fixed upon the ‘alternative approach’ to managing your condition, where diagnosis and clinical approach to disease is lacking. Allergies or hypersensitivity to molds are possible but should have been confirmed with a blood test, not for the allergen but your immunoglobulin levels, rather than the assuming that your symptoms were related to molds. I mention this because if negative, further testing could have been done to probably diagnose an underlying chronic condition which you believed was allayed but may only be aggravating now once again.

      As is obvious from yoru list of diverse symptoms, your are looking for holistic answer to all your ailments and I cannot provide that. Consult with your medical doctor, let him or her go through one condition at a time and exclude or confirm with proper diagnostic investigation. I would advise an HIV test, IgE, GTT (glucose tolerance test) and so on. I mention these tests as they may confirm or exclude diseases that would account for many of your symptoms over time. Other tests will depend on your age, gender, family history and medical history.

      Since you have had several course of antibiotics recently and experiencing these gastrointestinal symptoms, a five day course of Sacchromyces boulardii would be useful in assisting with restoring your “good” bowel bacteria.

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  • LeeMiller

    I have been having digestive disorders for 7 years now. I have bloating and gas (sometimes putrid) after nearly every meal. I have been diagnosed with sensitivities to lactose and eggs. I stay away from Gluten as well but nothing seems to help, it does get worse when I eat dairy and gluten though. I have irregular bowel movements (constipation), cramps in my bowels and the ‘under the rib cage’ pains quite often. It has become a chore to eat and a humiliating experience to even interact socially. If you have any suggestions I would be more than grateful. I haven’t checked for colon cancer but I had a colonoscopy a few years back. They too found nothing.
    Thank you.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi LeeMiller

      Have you tried following a FODMAP diet?

  • sad_belly

    Hi Dr. Chris,

    Thanks for your reply and attention! For some reason I wasn’t notified that you replied and happen to stumble upon it while revisiting this website.

    I have seen 4-5 different GI doctors over the past 3 years as I have been referred from one to another. I have consulted with one GI doctor for 2 years and have done many tests with him including intestinal parasites. My understanding with parasites is if it hasn’t been cultured yet, you can’t be tested for it – so it’s possible I may have something unusual. Drs. have given me different antibiotics to see if that would help for parasites and SIBO -but no success.

    I will take your advice about revisiting an endocrinologist. I’m trying to understand the difference b.w natural horomone treatments vs synthetic as I hear it’s difficult to switch once you start therapy and one may be more effective than the other.

    I’ve taken a break from seeing Drs. the past 8 months as I’ve become discouraged in finding a solution – esp when I feel insulted by some Dr.s default answer that it might be mental since they can’t pinpoint the problem.

    I have been consciously monitoring if I am swallowing air and I find I don’t.

    Thanks again for your time and advice!
    I’m sure everyone on this site appreciates your insight.

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  • holly

    I have been having acid on and off for a few months now along with mild discomfort feeling in central upper abdomen. About four weeks ago the acid became really bad. Also got bloating, flatulence and general constant rumbling and griping in stomach.
    Doctor prescribed Omoprazole and said probably GERD. He felt abdomen and no sore or tender spots plus he said felt okay. But now is so bad that all day have feeling of lots of gas in stomach. From throat to low abdomen feels full and discomfort. Intermittent nausea and also not going very frequently to the toilet.

    Ate a good diet – lots of fresh veg, salads and organic meat. Cut out gluten and diary a couple of months ago but did like dark chocolate and red wine – about two glasses a bit less than half a bottle three times a week. Not had any chocolate or alcohol for three weeks.

    Can only really eat very well cooked brown rice, boiled to a pulp carrots and courgettes and spinach and turkey or chicken without getting gas. All other food gives awful gas. Still getting a little acid but hardly any but lower stomach now the problem. Very worried as lost about seven pounds in three weeks.


  • Avanna


    Two people in my family have the same symptoms for 4 months already (severe abdominal pain, bloating stomach, cramps, constipation/diarrhea, muscle spasm every once in a while, nausea, loss of appetite, flatulence, difficulty passing gas). Recently we found out that our neighbor has the same symptoms and several other people we know have the same problem. Imaging, Scanning is not showing any problem with any organ. It seems like there is no reason for this severe pain. Since so many people have it I would narrow it down to a bacterial infection (H. Pylori). but it doesn’t seem like antibiotics are helping these people. What else is contagious? Could it be air/water/food poisoning?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Avanna

      It could be waterborne, and may be related to your water pipes. It is unlikely to be a pathogen since it is isolated to such a small area and tap water is usually chemically treated. It is also unlikely to be airborne or foodborne or it would have spread beyond just the confines your area. You do not provide any information for where you live, who these “other people” (meaning neighbors, friends, etc) and so on. This is too vague to answer online but if you are suspecting these symptoms may be related to a contaminated water or food supply (latter unlikely), then you need to consult with your doctor and inform him accordingly so he can contact the city’s health authorities.

      As for you question. what else is contagious, let me just say that the list is endless.

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  • Jan Modric

    To holly.

    One of the first things when you can’t get rid of excessive stomach acid is having an “urea breath test for Helycobacter pyori”. This bacterium causes a common chronic gastritis posibly resulting in your symptoms.

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  • Avanna

    Dr. Chris,

    Thank you for your response.
    I am from a developing country (Armenia). I know it makes a difference: different bacteria, different illnesses, less developed health system… It just feels like we hit the wall. Sonography and endoscopy don’t show any problems and they don’t run tests for any other invisible illness. And the symptoms are always there sometimes severe, sometimes less severe. Yesterday we heard of another case that lasted almost a year and then went away without a medical intervention (with some home remedies – I am not sure whether they helped or the body’s immune system eventually worked it out). I guess it is not spread enough or is not fatal (at least in a short period of time) to raise a confusion in the country. But as I keep learning more about all the causes of these symptoms, it looks like there are a lot of possible serious conditions/sicknesses that could show these symptoms.

    I know that it is impossible to give a specific medical advice/cure without seeing the patient and having all the necessary test results. But since this is not possible I was wondering whether there are any safe generic treatments (that don’t ask for medical supervision) we can implement to somehow help these people.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Avanna

      It is difficult to say conclusively as to what course of action should be taken next due to the approach of your local health authorities and the clinical findings of he attending physician. If it was an infection, it should have shown more definitive signs and symptoms. Toxicity from metals, substances related to water purification and so on can cause these vague gastrointestinal symptoms. Blood and urine tests would usually be helpful at this point but if your local health authorities are not keen on testing, then you will have to pay for the tests yourself, which could be costly. Alternatively, consider testing your water supply. Simple tests on water to detect metals and other compounds may not be very expensive if you have access to the correct materials. Other than that, there is very little advice I can offer you beyond this point. Good luck with your investigation.

  • holly

    Hi Jan,

    Thanks for the reply. I am on my second week of Omoprazole and it is definitely getting a bit better but still not hundred percent. I am also being really careful what I eat too! I will ask my doc for the test. Thanks.

    To Avanna,
    I am not a doctor but I recently got a book by one of the US’s top gastro docs and she says that sometimes Pepto Bismol can cure some infections – if taken regularly for a couple of weeks. Obviously check with your doc or pharmacist that it is okay to do that but it may help.

  • Ed

    I went through many of the gas/bloating/stomach pain symptoms described above. Ultimately, the cause was found to be food allergy that developed as an adult.

    This was confirmed by an allergist with double blind tests and by omitting the foods from the diet. All of the problems went away and have been symptom free for 18 months now by avoiding the allergens. (I am allergic to three food items.)

    I spent over $3,500 of my own money over 11 years on health expenses for this (plus insurance too) and not a single M.D. ever suggested a food allergy. They did a great many expensive tests and put me on various medications (with their own problems too).

    After I ended up in the ER at 4 am, I researched at PubMed/MedLine/Cochrane Reviws and over several months, kept detailed food logs (I have late phase reactions occurring up to 18 hours after ingestion of the allergen), identified suspects, did my own skin prick tests, and once I identified the sources, I took photos of my SPT reactions into an allergist who then did double blind tests and confirmed my results.

    No one, in the comments above, has suggested food allergies as a possible cause.

    • Dr. Chris

      Thank you for your contribution Ed. I am sure your input will be very helpful to the readers.

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  • Peg

    I am a healthy 62 yr old female of normal weight. Beginning about 5 weeks ago, I get a sensation of being extremely full after a normal or small meal. I feel as if my sides will split, then I begin belching for hours but continue to feel full. Nothing else has changed. I have a good appetite, do not snack, have normal daily bm, no cramping or pain. I have a bit of tenderness when I press my mid left side while having the belching episodes. Also bending over causes some reflux into the esophogus.
    I have tried adding digetive enzyme before meals, but it didn’t help. It doesn’t matter what foods I eat, have the same results.
    I am miserable. Any ideas?
    Many thanks

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Peg

      Due to your age, I would recommend further investigation by a gastroenterologist as serious gastrointestinal pathologies are more likely to occur after the age of 55. For this reason, do not ignore your condition or try to treat and manage it at home. A number of conditions may cause these symptoms – including increased acidity of the stomach acid, GERD and there may even be a gastric ulcer that is developing. A hiatal hernia may also account for many of these symptoms. An x-ray and endoscopy would be recommended.

  • Michelle

    Why would a 16 yr old teenage girl (athlete who exercises every day) have an apple shape? She has a 36″ waist (with 39″ hips, so .92 hip/waist ratio). Elim diet for 3 months now – no eggs, dairy, wheat, peanuts and very little sugar based on ELISA tests, hormone levels from endocrinologist normal.

  • Michelle

    I should also mention she has always been bloated, but since she turned 13 she developed bad facial acne and chronic shoulder/neck muscle pain and tightness. Plus, her periods are light and irregular. All her athlete friends have girlish hour-glass figures, but hers is “boxy”, and it is ruining her self-esteem. SIBO and lactose were also ruled out by gastero MD. Could it be another type of infection (like h.pylori or even some other bug) that is causing the bloating, acne and muscle pain? Fructose intolerance (she eats alot of fruit)? or a gyn. problem? Please help! My daughter is so active and eats so healthy, but she still has central obesity. If pediatricians, endrocrine, naturopaths, and gastero MDs can’t figure it out, what do I do and who do I turn to next?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Michelle
      From what you say, I don’t think your daughter’s bloating is due to gas or gastrointestinal problems. It may be related to a hormonal cause and you should have her consult with a gynecologist. Fat accumulation on the lower abdomen, upper thigh, buttocks and side of the abdomen are characteristic of the female hormones. This is not gas bloating. The acne may also be an indication of a hormonal imbalance. Are her periods regular? Does she experience a heavy flow or pain during her periods? The elim diet is going to do very little in this case, if it is due to hormonal factors.

  • sandyrogers

    I have had this problems since my son was born 38 years.I had 2 stints put and it worked for 3 years,now it doesn’t matter if I eat or not farting has becoming very stress full pretty stop eatig lost a lot of weight I am stress may hair is falling and i few bald spotand very tired; I need some advice I kown its celiac My grandson was testing what i can eat weight now 96lb

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Sandyrogers

      Bottom line, you need to consult with a gastroenterologist immediately. Any significant loss of weight in this manner needs immediate specialist attention. Yes, it could be celiac but there is a host of other gastrointestinal problems. Given your son’s age, I assume that you are over 55 years and this is a high risk age for many serious gastrointestinal problems. The hair loss and weight loss is worrying and given your cardiac condition, this should not be left unattended or for self-diagnosis.

  • crystal

    i had a baby a year ago, i took alot of collidal silver (antibiotic) had headaches for a year cuz of all that still a year and half later im having really bad gas smells most of the time especially after sugar even yogurt which i heard wasnt dairy and i did a gallbladder cleanse its better now and i allways take probiotic enzymes how can i figure out what it is and cant i heal it.oh i wear cotton clothes and it feels like bugs are crawling on me i did do a parasite cleanse too ive been reasearching and asking doctors but? im confused help

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Crystal

      Firstly colloidal silver is NOT an antibiotic. Colloidal silver does have antimicrobial properties when used as a disinfectant but does not have this property when taken orally. It is marketed as an alternative health product for being a ‘cure all’. From your information, it is obvious that you are into alternative therapies and complementary health products. Crystal, you are wasting a lot of your in buying products for a ‘gallbladder cleanse’ or using colloidal silver orally. You may possibly have a liver related disorder, which could account for some of your symptoms, including the ‘bug crawling’ sensation (which is known as formication). Go for a thorough physical, discuss your condition with your doctor. Use a probiotic, not probiotic enzymes (sometimes marketed as a ‘prebiotic’). A probiotic will assist with restoring your normal intestinal flora. You can get a proper probiotic from your pharmacist, use it for 5 days and then assess your condition.

  • Michelle

    I am a 31 year old female, survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma (treated with ABVD, clear for 7 years now). I have a persistent terrible problem with gas, audible lower abdominal rumblings and cramping, general abdominal swelling, really frequent flatulence (often painful, and loud requiring bathroom visits) and mucous in stool often. I have removed dairy from my diet and do not consume caffeine. Symptoms seem generally unresponsive – positively or negatively- to dietary changes. I am a graduate student, slightly overweight but not extensively, with pretty healthy eating habits, though often irregular meals. Fatigue is often a problem as well.

    please advice. At wits end.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Michelle

      Your symptoms are obviously causing you a lot of discomfort and inconvenience but the worrying aspect here is the mucus in the stool. You need a colonoscopy as soon as possible. It could just be a problem with your intestinal bacteria, maybe even IBS, but like I said, the mucus immediately raises the flag for further investigation. Please find a gastroenterologist in your area and consult with them immediately.

  • Curls

    Hi there Jan

    I am a 33 yr old female and for the past 10yrs or so i have been experiencing periods of uncontrolled flatuence (non-smelling). My bowel movements vary, from normal to diahorrea. I have my good days and my bad days. Initially i was diagnosed with IBS but now I thinking that maybe i have a parasite. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Curls

  • Jan Modric


    parasites can be confirmed by stool test for Ova & Parasites. Symptoms may be present or not.

    Excessive gas may be also from foods high in “soluble fibers” (oats, oranges, Psyllium husk..)
    or –COMMONLY– from excessive fructose/HFCS/sorbitol intake:

    If you have fructose malabsorption, after a 2-3 day low-fructose diet trial flatulence should go away.

  • Dis_tent

    I.m a 42yo female who has been experiencing bloating and flatulence over the last year or so.
    At first, I experienced mostly distention and feelings of fullness which varied with the timing of meals. Lately, however, I have been increasingly flatulent thorough the day and seem to be experiencing night sweats at around 4-6 am. When I wake I am often drenched with a somewhat pressured and churning feeling in my lower abdomen. I then pass lots of gas and then am able to get back to sleep. I wouldn’t consider myself constipated as I often have 1 0r more BMs a day but I do sometimes feel the urge and kind of intestinal fullness. The few times of constipation has been accompanied with more bloating, nausea and migraine headaches. Once I defecate I feel better,less “toxic”.
    I think my overall diet is healthy, I prepare the majority of my meals, use very few processed items and is moderately active on most days.
    My past GP checkups were good, I am not overweight and my periods are typical. My only other issues were a reoccurring yeast infection(~5-6)that started during the onset of the GI disturbances and increased allergy symptoms and food sensitivities. Although “unsupported” by my GYN or GP somehow I felt it was linked to use of splenda sugar substitute.
    To combat the yeast infection and GI issues, in addition to the Rx of Diflucan I also eliminated sugar and dairy, minimized wheat products and started taking Culturelle probiotic. This did not change the bloating or flatulence but I felt a decrease in my allergic reactions. Thankfully the yeast infections went away but now I am having night sweats.

    My research seem to indicated perimenopause but I don’t seem to have typical symtoms and the night sweats/hot flashes do not radiate from my chest per se, they seem to be systemic and associate with flatulence. I also feel “toxic” for lack of a better word.

    Any suggestions as to how to approach this?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Dis_tent

      Firstly you need to do a full physical and have tests like a complete blood count conducted. This wil assist your doctor in identifying any infections or other underlying issues which will then require further investigation. I would also advise that you have an glucose tolerance test, HIV test and related automimmune tests like ANF conducted. Just to exclude some of the possible causes that come to mind. An endoscopy and/or colonoscopy may be useful but you need to speak to your doctor. It is important to bear in mind that night sweats are not only associated with menopause or perimenopause. There are a host of possibilities that could be contributing to this, including chronic infections, autoimmune and metabolic disorders as well as cancer. This is why a complete physical examination and appropriate testing should be conducted. However leave this to your doctor. He knows your history and has possibly excluded many of the differential diagnoses already without having mentioned it to you. Apart from the gastrointestinal symptoms, the feeling of being unwell and the night sweats does raise some flags.

  • puffer fish

    I’m a 41 y.o. female with slight family history (mother diverticulitis) and brother (gallbladder removed)Over the last year or so I’ve been experiencing significant heartburn and now upper abdominal bloating to the point where frequently I can’t sleep (like now). I feel full most of the time even prior to eating but I know I need to eat so I do. Frequently eating makes it worse. Tonight all I had was approx 1cup of rice and about 5oz of meat and here I am unable to sleep because I feel like a puffer fish – not kidding. I have excessive gas and abdominal noise which can be so loud people think I’ve passed gas! Sometimes pantaloc helps with the heartburn but other times it doesn’t even touch it. Muddying the water a little is that I think I may a few food intolerances. Pineapple, shrimp, bannanas and now it looks like avacado now too as I had some dip the other day and ended up with my typical intense but dull upper abdominal pain and ended up vomitting. Thankfully the pain subsides quickly after doing so. I am so tired of feeling like I’m going to pop – please help!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Puffer Fish

      You need to consult with your doctor and have an endoscopy done. This could be due to a number of causes – hiatal hernia, GERD and so on. Given your family history of GI problems, you should not ignore it. While many of these conditions are not genetic, there is at times a tendency for certain conditions to develop in families. Speak to you doctor as soon as possible.

  • KC

    Hi I am a 17 year old female. I have had a terrible problem with bloating recently (within the last few months). All of a sudden I noticed that my lower stomach, after eating especially, would be extremely bloating, causing me to look a few months pregnant (which i am not). I have a naturally very flat stomach and when i bloat, the top part of my stomach under my chest is still flat but the bottom part is digustingly bloated. I also occasionally get gas badly, which has never happened like this before. I am underweight and very fit. I exercise daily and eat reasonably healthy. A ct scan did find a mass on my lower left abdomen but the doctor said he found it harmless or now but wants to check on it later. I don’t know if this actually is something and is the cause of my distended stomach. If not, what could it be?? Please help. It is driving me insane!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi KC

      It is important to first differentiate between what is gas bloating and fat accumulation in the area. The lower abdomen is a ‘hotspot’ for fat accumulation in a young women who is maturing. So while the gas bloating in your gastrointestinal tract may account for the bloating after eating and the gas that you pass out, some fat accumulation could also be responsible for the appearance of a ‘larger’ tummy. It is hard to identify gas bloating solely by appearance. You do not mention any other gastrointestinal symptoms like passing out gas, or discomfort and cramping so this may not be related to the gastrointestinal symptom. It is important to find out what mass your doctor found and which organ was affected. You should visit a gynecologist as well and have a full gynecological examination. You need to discuss this abdominal distension with your doctor who may be able to help identify whether this is gas bloating in the gastrointestinal tract or just fat accumulation or a combination of both.

  • dc

    In 2004 I had a bowel obstuction caused by adhesions from appendectomy. 60cm of ileum were removed. After that I experienced severe bouts of pain on upper left side. Gallbladder removal was recommended, with no relief. In 2008 a hydrogen breath test proved I had lactose intolerance. I have severe and uncontrolled gas frequently. I have cut out beer, for which the symptoms are severe. I take omaprozole for reflux. I have not yet tried fructose free and have consumed sugar free drinks. I take a probiotic and b12 and am careful to take calcium citrate(instead of carbonate) Could I need an antibiotic? I cannot tolerate high fiber foods, but try to get a little fiber each day. I have a good GI doctor and had a colonoscopy 6 months ago. I need advice on how to overcome this condition.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi DC

      I assume that since you were diagnosed as lactose intolerant you are keeping away from the relevant foods. Gallbladder removal makes digestion of any fatty foods difficult and you have to also be on a low fat or no fat diet. There is no indication that antibiotics would be necessary. Since you have a gastroenterologist, you have to discuss these symptoms with him/her. A dietary change may be necessary but you need to know what foods to avoid specific to your condition. Your gastroenterologist will be able to assist you accordingly along with the advice of a dietitian. Your doctor is well aware of your medical history or even any drugs that may be contributing to these symptoms so discuss it with him/her.

  • KC

    Well, it could be fat but in the mornings I have a completely flat stomach and the bloating gets better and worse throughout the day. This doesn’t sound like fat. Also, I have not gained any weight but this never used to be a problem. I also should mention that I only eat the recommended amount of calories for someone who is completely sedentary. I, however, am very active. I don’t know if this makes a difference towards the bloating and its cause or not…

    • Jan Modric


      bloating can be food related. You might want to make few diet trials:
      1. 2-3 days low-fructose diet trial
      2. 2-3 day lactose-free diet trial
      3. Removing some soluble fiber (legumes, oat bran..) from your diet for few days.

  • Kathryn

    I have been experiencing burping and some flatulence for the past 3-4 weeks. No bloating, no other symptoms other than stomach pain that comes and goes. I’m at a loss as to what could be causing this, since it seems that most causes of constant burping have other symptoms as well that I’m not experiencing. I’m a vegetarian, don’t drink carbonated beverages, and my diet hasn’t changed significantly in the time I’ve been having this problem. I was prescribed Nexium by a doctor, but that hasn’t caused the problem to go away. Any ideas on what could be causing this?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Kathryn

      This could possibly be related to air swallowing therefore you are not experiencing any other symptoms. It could also be related to your normal intestinal flora or ‘good bowel bacteria’. Since you are a vegetarian, you are obviously getting a good fiber intake which cannot be digested by the human gut. This allows residual nutrients to be consumed by your normal bowel bacteria contributing to gas production. These are two of the possibilities but you should speak to your doctor.

  • dgarner

    I just had my gallbladder removed and thought this would help. I belch all the time. It use to be more at night and now it is in the day. Can someone please tell me what this is? I have taken Nexium and Kapidex and this does not stop the belching.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Dgarner

      Your gallbladder removal was most likely proposed for other reasons, not just your symptoms of belching or any indigestion. Have you moved onto a low fat diet after the surgery?
      It is difficult to say what may be causing your belching with so little details. Have you consulted with the gastroenterologist who handled your gallbladder removal about this belching? Have any other tests been conducted? What were the results?

  • adelezervos

    My name is Adele and I have a acute pain in the upper left side of my stomach. My stomach bloates so bad that by back aches. I sweat and are tired. It makes me depressed. I loose my appetite and I struggle to get stool for as long as 3 weeks then I have to take something. I also have insulin resistance. I hardly ever burp.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Adele

      Do you have any history of problems with your gallbladder? Is there any history of excessive alcohol use which could be causing problems with your pancreas? What is your age, how long has this been going on for?

  • Mara

    I have been burping extremely much last days. It started around a week ago after swimming pool when I noticed the constant burping and feeling nausea. It seemed like it passed cause I noticed the burping start again only a couple of days ago. They don’t have any smell, they tend to come out more when I’m moving not sitting. And a couple of nights ago the burping became extreme when I went to sleep and a nausea appeared, I vomited. No nausea anymore but the burping continues, in the morning it’s almost not there, but it rises very much in the evening and I can’t stop it. I’m eating normal home-made food (everything) but I have to admit that lately the meals were very irregular and sometimes I tend to overeat…

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Mara

      It is common where the swallowing of chlorinated water (from the swimming pool) causes a range of gastrointestinal problems. like burping and nausea. However these symptoms should have passed by now.

      Take note of whether you are ‘forcing’ out the burp which may be causing the vomiting. It is also advisable to try a probiotic to restore your ‘good’ bowel bacteria. You need to eat regular small meals. A large meal at one go can cause spikes in the blood glucose level, especially if you have impaired glucose tolerance and do not know it. This will cause nausea.

      If this does not settle your symptoms, consult with a doctor to ensure that you do not have an H.pylori infection or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

  • Chris32

    I have had a swollen upper abdomen for many yrs,when i eat (Anything it seems)my gut swells,gets hard and painfull. I have horrible gas that at times is so foul it stays in the room/area for hours.It has a strong sulfer/burning gun powder smell,my stool is light colored,sticky. i have hypothyroid,hypertension,high BP HELP!!!!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Chris

      There are a number of possible causes of your symptoms so more information would have been helpful.

      Constipation is common in hypothyroidism and the slow movement of food and waste through your bowels can cause a major build up on gas in your gut. If your symptoms are persisting despite normal bowel movements then you should consider more serious pathology. A number of pancreas, liver and gallbladder conditions can account for your pale sticky stool and gas. Due to incomplete digestion, the bowel bacteria has more nutrients to consume especially in you are constipated. More undigested nutrients = more bacteria gas production (byproduct).

      Bacterial overgrowth within the bowels are more likely to cause the foul smelling gas if you are not constipated or eat large amounts of ‘gassy’ foods like eggs. The hard painful swelling in the upper abdomen could also be due to splenic flexure syndrome where gas gets trapped at the bends of the colon. The possibilities are numerous but given that you have hypertension, please DO NOT try to self medicate yourself. Many antacids, other indigestion medication and laxatives can raise your blood pressure. You need to see a doctor and undergo proper medical investigation before treating this condition. Avoid special diets and so on, you may exacerbate the problem.

  • Matt

    Hi. For the last few days I have been very bloated. I have not eaten anything different except I had a gas x pill the night before it started. But the bloating still has not gone away. My stomach is very swollen and I feel like I have indigestin as well. I have not had a good bowl movement at all and I do feel a bit constapated too. I have a hard time eating because the bloating gets worst after and it does hurt a bit. Any Idea whats going on?? Thanks



    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Gassedup

      Yes, this could be IBS but do not confuse it with inflammatory bowel disease. IBS is a functional disorder meaning that it is related to changes in the movements of the bowel which can be triggered by a number of factors. In inflammatory bowel disease, there is inflammation of the large intestine. The bleeding could be related to the hard stool especially since it is bright red blood meaning that it is more likely to have come from the rectum or anus. However most of your symptoms can be explained to constipation which could be a result of IBS or other factors. I would advise that you consult with a doctor and seek treatment for your constipation first.

  • Tummy Trouble

    Hi, I’m a 33 yo female and I have had a chronically bloated stomach and abdomen for months. Often I feel nauseous, sometimes have sharp pain and cramps and I can never seem to tell if I am hungry or not – one moment my stomach will be grumbling and I’ll feel really hungry, then minutes later, whether I have a bite of food or even don’t eat at all, I will feel really full and the thought of food makes me feel nauseous. Also each time immediately after a meal, I develop a mucous type cough which lasts about 15mins. It doesn’t seem to matter what I eat or don’t eat – I haven’t been able to figure out any correlation with any specific foods. I also feel fatigued and low in energy all the time. And now and then have bouts of flatulence / burping. I’m a healthy weight (54kg/160cm) and have a reasonably healthy diet – I almost never eat junk or processed food and rarely eat meat (but eat fish regularly). I have put on a little weight recently, about 1-2kg. I do have a history of depression and anxiety – not sure if this could be relevant?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Tummy Trouble

      From all the information you provided, the history of depression and anxiety is the most pertinent. These are common symptoms associated with depression or mental/emotional stress. Nevertheless you do have a gastrointestinal problem that is being aggravated by your mental-emotional state. Firstly you should see a doctor about GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), acid reflux or heartburn. Medication will relieve some of the symptoms you are experiencing after eating including the ‘phlegmy’ cough. Secondly you need to have a colonoscopy to exclude any serious bowel disorders but it is possible that you have irritable bowel syndrome. Yes, probiotics and fiber may help but this is not a lasting solution and you may find that your condition will aggravate after stressful episodes in life, certain foods and so on.
      The fact that you are young, have no serious changes in bowel movements or other severe signs and symptoms and have GI conditions that are often associated or triggered with stress may indicate that conservative management could be effective here. Even if your life is balanced at the moment and all seems well, seek some counseling or a stress management program. Stress can trigger both your upper and lower gastrointestinal problems provided there are no serious underlying disorders. First see a doctor and let him/her conduct the necessary investigation, make a diagnosis and decide on the next course of treatment.

  • Tummy Trouble

    I forgot to add that I experience slight improvement when I take digestive enzymes, and very slight improvement when taking probiotics. But often my nausea prevents me from trying to swallow a pill (which I’m not very good at and sometimes that makes me vomit). I don’t smoke or take drugs, I haven’t had any antibiotics for many years but I do drink wine on a regular basis (usually red – a couple of glasses with dinner, and I hardly ever drink any other type of alcohol).

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  • catjrow

    I am a 39 year old female, I have been dieting and exercising now for about 14 months. I have lost about 90 pounds and now have a BMI of about 23-24, so almost there in terms of weight loss. Most of my life, I had constipation and then when I started eating healthy foods, and some diet foods, it got worse, and I started taking Ex-Lax. I eat a lot of salad food, frozen veges, fruit. I run almost every day for about 9+ miles, so very athletic and eating right, although as I said some diet meals, etc.. I have severe bloating, and severe gas. I notice it after lunch, particularly the gas, but after dinner, the bloating is very severe, hard stomach, which leads to severe gas, odorous (sometimes sulfury) and painful cramping before the gas occurs. I look like I am pregnant too during these episodes. It continues most of the night and then eases a bit by morning and then we start again. I take acidophilus, eat lots of yogurt, multivitamin, glucosamine. I have tried simethecone and dont think that works at all either. I dont have health insurance and pretty sure I could not afford all those tests. Is there anything I can do to help this? I have been reading about candida and colon cleanses, etc. I am not sure what to do anymore to help this. Its been going on for about 4 months or more now..

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  • shellyblossom

    I have bloating, gas sometimes, pain in the lower part of my stomach area on both sides, nausea, acid. I did have some dizziness but that has gone. My diet has changed I am on low calorie diet and I use sweeteners and drink diet drinks.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Shelleyblossom

      I am not sure what exactly you are asking but there is no way of conclusively identifying possible causes of your symptoms based on the limited information. You may have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or there may be more acute causes. You do not state how long these symptoms have persisted for so it is difficult to make any assessment. See a doctor, preferably a gastroenterologist, and you will most likely need further tests and investigations like a coloncoscopy, stool culture and blood tests for your doctor to make a conclusive diagnosis. While the exact cause cannot be identified as yet, I would suggest staying away from sweeteners, and diet drinks and seeing if the symptoms settle a bit. Many IBS sufferers, as well as those suffering from other bowel disorders, experience an aggravation of their symptoms when on sweeteners and diet drinks and since you have mentioned it, it is obviously a cause for concern for you. You can give this a try but you do need to see a doctor.

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  • blue


    i have been suffering from pain under my stomach around intestine area more than a year now.. when i push with my hand it hurts very bad… i have seen my doctor and we did cat scan, colonoscopy but nothing found… they told me to not to worry but at 33 years old, i cant live with this pain…
    i dont know what else i can do…

    second problem just started 3 days ago.. left side of lover abdomen started hurt and its been 3 days doesnt stop.. especially it hurts when i touch or push on it.. if i sit long time and try to stand up pain get worse… my doctor told me it might be kidney stone but he said he is guessing.. last 2 days i also get a lot of gas around my intestine… and sometimes its give me pain..

    any help? please.. thnk you

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Blue

      Your doctor should consider doing a number of investigations to identify if it is a kidney stone or not. This can be done with an IV pyelogram, ultrasound and even just a normal x-ray might reveal the presence of the stone. There is no guessing and I am surprised that your doctor did not advise this. The reality is that non-specific pain can be just about anything – no diagnosis should be made without complete medical history, clinical evaluations and other tests. What I mean by this is that a pain without any other signs and symptoms could be due to so many causes that it would be dangerous to “guess”. There is a possiblity of splenic flexure syndrome where intestnal gas is trapped at the bend of the colon and would explain some of what you have described. However, further investigation is necessary. At this point you will need to see a specialist like a gastroenterologist. Usually a doctor would not pass off such extreme pain unless there is some evident cause, possibly related to your lifestyle, which you are not revealing or it may be due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which can cause a multitude of symptoms yet there is no effective treatment for it. You need a second opinion ASAP.

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  • danny s

    I had a robotic prostatectomy May 2009 due to cancer. Now, I feel bloated all the time. I have gained 30 pounds in the last year. My right side hurts all the time. I take one bite of food or one sip of water and my stomach feels like it’s going to burst. yet I’ve gained weight, I eat all the time. what’s up?

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Danny S

      The symptoms you are experiencing are common immediately after or up to a week or more after the surgery. If you have noticed these symptoms have started up recently, it may not be related to the prostatectomy and could be due to another unrelated gastrointestinal condition. A lot depends on your bowel movements as well and whether these symptoms were present ever since the prostatectomy or suddenly started up. The question arises as to whether this weight gain may be associated with fluid accumulation in the abdomen or is due to a greater body fat percentage. I would advise that you see your physician and report these symptoms.

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  • Jewellette

    I am suffering from a sharp pain in my left abdominal area, front to back pain. It is also in my left shsoulder and down my arm. Difficult to lift my arm as it feels weak and hurts. Doc did urine test; found no blood but found white blood cells. I also have a lot of gas – both ways. I am always constipated (have seen numerous doctors for this with no explaination). I had my gall bladder removed a few months ago, but the gas and constipation has been the norm for me for years. Please – if you can give me advise for relief of all this discomfort, it will be so greatly appreciated!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Jewellete

      There is a range of conditions that may causes these symptoms but what is a concern here is the weakness of the arm. You don’t mention your age, past medical history and so on, so it is difficult to offer an specific advice. Gas trapped in the colon (splenic flexure) may account for many of the symptoms you are experiencing it terms of the pain, however, the exact cause for this increased gas needs to be investigated.

      Your history of constipation is another issue as well. Apart from IBS, a possible cause of partial bowel obstruction need to be excluded. You should see a gastroenterologist and have a colonoscopy as well. Speak to your doctor about this.

  • john c

    I have suffered from ibs for several years and it has recently taken a turn for the worst. I have had upper/lower gi, gall bladder removed, ct scan, camera pill, ultra sound, all results have been normal except for a slight case of diverticulitis. I was reading your article about sticky poop (which I have) and wondered what this condition means? My Dr. wants to do ordinary tests which all come back normal, but I am EXTREMELY bloated and dizzy at times and cannot find a solution or any relief. Any information you could give me would be appreciated.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi John C

      Sticky stool can occur for a number of reasons and is most likely related to mucus content within your stool. Of course the consistency and composition of the feces may also be related to the water content, foods you ate and bacterial byproducts, all of which could give it a more sticky form.

      Given your history of IBS, it most likely related to mucus. I would advise that you speak to your doctor again as this may be the start of inflammatory bowel disease. Dizziness is never a good sign. If you are not seeing a gastroenterologist at this point, it is important to consult with one now. Seek a second opinion if your symptoms persist and there is no conclusive diagnosis to explain your symptoms.

  • Jackie

    Female 54 yrs old Problem started several years ago with significant weight loss. Symptoms… stomach always feels full ,food gets stuck somewhere, severe headache pulses at temples, then nausea and vomiting. Vomit is always yellow. The headache lasts for days. Also abdominal swelling. Splashing of liquid in my left abdominal area. I have a small hernia that Dr’s do not think would cause this problem. So…based on barium x-rays and a ct scan (findings normal) I was diagnosed with possible Gastroparesis with Pseudo-obstruction. The medicines prescribed do not help! Prokinetics, laxatives only make matters worse. What other tests should they do to confirm this diagnosis. Thanks for your input. Desperate…

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Jackie

      There are various causes of delayed gastric emptying that have to be considered. All your symptoms accompanied by the bright yellow vomit (likely bile) is indicative of an obstruction distal to the pylorus though. An endoscopy should have been considered at this point. The problem is more likely related to a intestinal motility disorder (dysmotility) if any mass can be conclusively ruled out.

  • cathy

    I am a 29 yr old female who was otherwise healthy (aside from ups and downs in weight) up until a few months ago. I always had perfect regular bowel movements and a healthy diet. Several months ago I started having constipation with no change in diet, which after about a week was accompanied by nausea, bitter taste in mouth even when not eating, poor appetite. I used to regularly exercise and started getting reflux when running or jumping so have had to stop running which pains me. About 2 weeks after that happened I woke up in the middle of the night with horrible pain middle of my abdomen right under my rib cage – couldn’t breathe, lay or anything and nothing would relieve the pain. Went to the ER and they did some tests, told me it was gastritis and to follow-up with a GI doc.
    I went to see the GI doc, he told me my ultrasound showed a contracted gallbladder but no stones or wall thickening. (I hadn’t eaten anything for about 6-7 hours when i got the US). I do have occasional nausea and acidy stomach so he did an endoscopy and said I have gastroparesis because they found food still in my stomach 10-11 hrs after eating. I also had recurring sinus infections (or so I thought they were) over the months while this happened – saw an ENT and he told me I have LPR. Both docs told me to take Prilosec 20 mg twice a day. Have been doing this for 3 months now and symptoms have gotten worse. I now have bouts of constipation where I am unable to have a BM for 4-5 days, doc told me to take MOM and when that didn’t work Senokot. All this does for me is gives me horrible diarrhea and I can see undigested foods in my stool – romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, all things that I never saw before up until now. Many of these days I have had horrible foul smelling gas, which will last for sometimes days and doesn’t seem to change with diet. I have tried cutting out fiber, cutting out milk, eating bland foods and no raw fruits and veggies. Then I just get constipated again and need to use laxatives to go. My stomach has bouts of burning ever few weeks or so – no matter what antacids I take it burns. It is worse on an empty stomach because sometimes I will just not eat thinking that will help the problem but it doesn’t. Eating something will relieve the burning for maybe 15-20 minutes then it starts up again. I have had other strange symptoms like new onset middle back muscle spasms (not really pain), strange pulsating pain near my ovaries (told I had an ovarian cyst via US). I have been losing weight because I am unable to eat much. No vomiting has ever happened in all this which I am grateful for but I miss eating healthy and working out and feeling like a normal person. I have been given no remedy and no explanation for why all this suddenly happened and I’m very frustrated. I hate to be that person that goes from doctor to doctor but my GI doc is not able to explain or help relieve any of this. I might also add I have been on thyroid med in the past for several years but was taken off of it around 22 when I lost a lot of weight. Since then my thyroid tests keep coming back normal but I am overweight again, 5’4″ 183lbs (though I lost about 25 lbs in past year). Also have bouts of skin problems – chronic rashes mostly elbows and on butt/hip area, had chronic hives for a year and was given hydroxyzine daily but that has gone away now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I’m sorry this is so long but I have been keeping track of my symptoms so that I can get this under control.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Cathy

      This is quite a complex situation. Your initial symptoms were a clear indication of some bowel obstruction or impaired gut motility. The fact that you have been diagnosed with gastroparesis is not sufficient. The exact cause has to be ascertained. It is quite surprising that none of the practitioners you have consulted with have seen fit to investigate further. This is highly unlikely and I hope that you have not been jumping from doctor to doctor. Until the cause is identified, any treatment will only provide moderate, if any, relief. Hypothyroidism can affect gut motility but would no cause gastroparesis per se. Considering that you have been reported euthyroid, your conditionS need to be looked at holistically, as part of a syndrome that has as yet been unidentified. An endocrinologist should be where you should start at. I assume that you have excluded any chronic infections like EBV, CMV or HIV. If it was just a straightforward case of gastroparesis where the cause is known then treatment could be directed at the cause. An autoimmune screen may be a consideration which could account for many of the symptoms you are experiencing. You need to stay with a single practitioner until he/she has concluded all tests and investigations. This may be long and cumbersome but it is the only way to get to the bottom of this problem. Management or treatment without specialist medical attention is going to be very unlikely.

  • cathy

    Oh also wanted to add when I went to the ER they said my blood cell count was high (14.9) and my liver enzymes a little elevated, ionized calcium low. Liver enzymes were retested and came back normal at GI docs office. US said liver, pancreas were normal.


  • Please help

    My most pressing issue is the different types of noises (gurgling, popping and others) that begin without warning usually below the belly button and on both sides. In addition, I have low-grade, diffuse bloating that never goes away and is compounded with tenderness/pressure in the abdominal region below the navel. Related to all this is a constant gassiness that fluctuates in magnitude but never goes away completely. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Please Help

      It is difficult to say without conducting necessary investigations like a stool test, endoscopy and/or colonoscopy. It could be related to hypermotility or even on the other end of the spectrum, a minor obstruction within the gut. Refer to these articles for more information :
      Stomach noises
      Abdominal bloating

  • lucy

    I’m 16 years old and for as long as I can remember I’ve always had some type of stomach “problems”
    For the past year and a half I’ve had constant heart burn everyday and acid reflux. I’ve gone to the doctor once and have been tested for h-pylori but it came back negative.
    I also have bloating and constant all day burping. From the time I wake up until I go to sleep I burp all day. The doctor didn’t give me a clear diagnosis,but she said that I could be swallowing air involuntarily, but I don’t feel like that is the problem because I also have other symptoms.
    I also suffer from abdominal pain, which is most noticable in the early mornings, it is usually in my lower abdomen and sometime the pain is so severe that it begins to radiate onto my back, sometimes when this occurs I feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I wake up and immediatly feel the urge to burp and after breakfast sometime I feel naseous but it usually helps to burp and the feeling will subside.
    Lately I’ve been feeling full really fast when eating a meal, even if its only a couple bites.
    Please help..thank you

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Lucy

      Your doctor is correct about the burping. One of the most common causes of excessive belching is air swallowing. H.pylori is a common cause of gastritis and peptic ulcers. It is not always an issue in GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or simply acid reflux which causes your symptom of heartburn. There are various causes for your symptoms and it can only be isolated if you undergo further investigations like an endoscopy and/or colonoscopy.Unfortunately these ailments in your age group does not often prompt immediate and further investigation by many practitioners. You should speak to your doctor about other investigations and ask to see a gastroenterologist. It could be related to inflammatory bowel disease, IBS, small intestine bacterial overgowth, food intolerances or malabsorption syndromes. A stool sample may be considered as a starting point before other investigations are scheduled. You can only treat this condition once you know the exact cause. It may be two separate conditions, for example GERD in the upper gut and IBS of the lower gut, which may be unrelated. Speak to your doctor.

  • Rich

    I’m 26 years old and as of late have been dealing with a wide array of GI symptoms. It started a couple of months ago with a couple of instances of diarrhea and almost daily burping fits. Shortly thereafter I began to experience difficulty sleeping. I would wake up after only a few hours sleep and have to attempt to go back to sleep. Eventually, abdominal rumbling and urge to use the bathroom would develop and remain for as long as I remained lying down in bed. Once I got up and began to walk around, things subsided. I first went to my primary physician who felt it might be IBS. I began a program of Prilosec to treat the IBS and trazadone to help sleep. My condition only improved by a little bit, so I was referred to a gastroenterologist. I was tested for H. Pylori (negative) and told to stop the Prilosec since it was doing little. Soon after, I began to have attacks of bloating and gas. I initially had two strong attacks which resulted in having a bowel movement that was mostly air. I was instructed to try a probiotic on a regular basis as well as Maalox for attacks. The bloating attacks continued, but to a lesser degree, though now with regular abdominal pain and aches. The next step was to check for lactose intolerance or Celiac’s. The blood work is still being done for Celiac’s, while I have spent the last week sans dairy. So far, nothing has gone away, in fact the bloating seems to be occurring on a more regular basis, but everything seems to be less intense. If it was lactose, shouldn’t the symptoms have ceased completely after a near week off dairy? Is there any way the sleeping problem is connected to a GI issue? If not, why all the rumbling in the morning while in bed? Can this all be IBS or GERD despite no regular disruption to bowel habits (only two disruptions in past three months)? I know I should wait on results and my physicians for exact diagnosis, but any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Rich

      Yes, this could definitely be linked to IBS but should only be diagnosed as such if all tests and investigations, including and endoscopy ad colonoscopy (which you do not mention) and stool test, shows no abnormalities. GERD is also another possibility. If it was lactose intolerance then the symptoms should have improved substantially, if not resolved, at this point in time provided that you followed an appropriate diet religiously.

      There are a number of other possibilities as well like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, pancreatic exocrine insufficiency and possibly even the early stages of inflammatory bowel. You will have to wait for the test results and if the an endoscopy, colonoscopy and stool test has not been done as yet, then it should be considered if the current round of tests are inconclusive.

      If you are currently on an elimination diet and considering different foods and factors that may causing this, try to also remove all stimulants (caffeine and nicotine if you are a smoker). It would be irresponsible of me to try to “diagnose” you prior to receiving the test results. Follow through with your doctors and go through each test until certain conditions can be excluded and the final diagnosis can be made.

      Your sleeping problem may be related to your gastrointestinal condition. If you are undergoing any stress, then it is also likely that the stress is causing or aggravating both conditions.

  • I am writing for my husband. He is 67 not an active person-would get an award for being a couch potato Have have excessive belching and dry heives. 5’9″ weight is 162 and have had lots of surgery, recently (3 yrs ago) cancer of the kidney, did not have to remove kidney but did cut a small amount of it. In his youth (40yrs old) have spline removed, 17 inches of colon removed due to gangreen, apex. removed and am badly scared from the above surgerys.
    This belching had started 3 weeks ago along with dry heives. Have an appointment next week but want to see what you can come up with

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Emily

      Firstly this platform is here to guide you to the appropriate medical professional who can assist you further with your complaint. We cannot make a diagnosis. Given your husband’s history, I would not like to “guess” what could be wrong since he has had so many conditions and no tests have been done as yet. The information you have provided here is also subjective and there may also be points that you are missing or not aware of. It would be difficult to say much at this point. Rather just go through with the appointment and allow the doctor to come up with the diagnosis.

  • jen

    hi my bro has been excessively burping for the last 8 months and its getting worse. Everytime he eat he has to wait a good 1-2 minutes before taking another bite of food so he can burp. I want to know what is causing the problem. Bcuz this happens whether he has liquids or solids.

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Jen

      This may be related to an obstruction in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. Its not the burp that allows him to eat another but but rather waiting for a few minutes allows the previous bite to pass through. If this is the case, it is very serious and needs to be investigated by a doctor immediately. The other possibility here is that if it is a gas problem, then he may be swallowing a lot of air when eating. This could be due to various reasons but mainly with nasal congestion. This too needs to be treated for the symptoms to settle.

  • tonsoffun1001


    I have been experiencing bloating and a lot of gas movement over the past few weeks. I also find it VERY difficult to pass the gas, even when I strain or put my self in positions that would typically expedite the passing of gas.

    I have some constipation and find it uncomfortable to “push” when trying to expel feces, if I “push” too hard I feel as though something is going to burst in my lower left abdomen near the waistline.

    My lower left quadrant of my abdomen has a lot of gas-like sounds coming from it and makes noise almost constantly.

    My lower left quadrant seems slightly bloated and is where my main problem lies.

    Notes: I have a varicocele on my left testicle and it causes some pain sometimes extending down my left thigh, I have had a sonogram and CT looking for a hernia (or other issues) but my doctor told me nothing gave him reason to believe that. I feel the description of a hernia correlates to my discomfort. I also consider the idea of an enlarged prostate being involved. Also, sometime my left side feels itchy in the area of concern, but it may just be me subconsciously “tending” to the discomfort I think. I’m 22yrs, fairly active, and eat mostly natural foods. I am scheduled to see the GI in 12 days to hopefully resolve my issues.

    Please provide me with any ideas or suggestions I can attempt/discuss with my GI. I feel my abdominal area is often out of proper operation.

    Thank you!

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Tonsoffun1001

      Most of your symptoms can be attributed to the constipation. Only if your constipation resolves and you are having regular bowel movements but these symptoms persist, then there may be some cause of concern. It is possible that this is a diverticulum which is an outpouching of the colon wall. You should report your symptoms to the gastroenterologist and conduct the relevant tests that he/she deems necessary. The gastroenterologist will come to the final diagnosis.

  • tonsoffun1001


    I’m experiencing trouble passing gas. I feel like I have a lot of gas inside and it’s constantly working around. However, when it acts as if it wants to expel, it get very close and 90% retracts back up and begins the cycle again. I feel bloated and I eat very healthy foods. I don’t know how to relieve this discomfort. It keeps me up for hours sometimes.

    I have a vericocele on my left testicle and I don’t know if that could be causing any problems.

    I am also constipated a lot of the time and my poop comes out in small chunks. I feel as though it might be a blockage or something.

    Any suggestions on what I can take to help clear me out? I’m open to natural remedies, pharmaceuticals, or even an operation if necessary. Some days are extremely uncomfortable. Thanks!

  • Marshall Iverson

    hi Dr.

    I read most of the comments on here. I have hep C. I did the interferon treatment over 6 years ago and there was no sign of the virus. It’s back now and I am on a strict regiment. Since I started eating for Liver Health ( no salt, no sugar, no dairy, no animal fats, only organic and homemade juices and teas, etc) I have developed very smelly farts. Today my stomach is in pain from the gas. Is it safe for me to take anti gas meds? Should I do a colon cleanse? I eat lots of beans, greens, fruit, sometimes a little chicken or fish ( organic of course) .

    • Dr. Chris

      Hi Marshall

      Given your history it is best that you speak to your doctor before starting any medication for the gas. “Cleansing” and “detox” and so are not really helpful and often just a marketing ploy to sell health products. Remember that your body is constantly cleansing itself. If you are constipated, then it is a good idea to speak to your doctor about meds to ease this. Also speak to your doctor about a reputable probiotic containing Saccharomyces boulardii and possibly Lactobacillus casei. This will help with restoring your good bowel bacteria which could be part of the reason for your abnormally smelly flatulence as well but constipation if present has to be treated.

  • Meezie

    I’m an obese woman – 5′ 2″ and 19 stone

    I tend to get acid reflux, especially at night……and have noticed that I’m getting up to wee several times per night. Since March I have gone from 16 stone (I stayed at that weight for at least 5 years) to 19 stone with no obvious lifestyle changes. My abdomen from just below my braline to my navel is very very bloated all the time, and feels rock hard when I’m standing up, with a little bit of give to it if I’m lying down. A number 2 or passing wind makes no difference to the bloating. Previously the biggest part of my gut was the area below the naval, but now it’s the area between braline and naval and I look as though I’m about to give birth to twins (literally).

    I’ve been mentioning this to the GP on numerous occassions since about June……

    Initially noticed no change with BM, but recently finding it harder to pass BM’s, though the stool is soft and not a ‘constipated’ stool….often a sensation of ‘not having finished the job’ afterwards….

    GP seems unconcerned but is sending me for a scan…..I’m wondering what this might be and if it is something other people experience at a large weight?

    Could it be food sensitivities? eg gluten or lactose?? Maybe I should be asking for a referral to a dietician? Diabetes and underactive thyroid have already been ruled out.

    • Hi Meezie. There could be many possible causes here. The question now is whether this is a single condition or several conditions that are presenting simultaneously. Contrary to popular belief, an underactive thyroid will not cause such a rapid or significant weight gain. Other hormonal conditions like an adrenal gland dysfunction could also be a possibility. Some of your symptoms are indicative of gallbladder disease, a hiatal hernia and so on but it is difficult to say for sure without further investigations. There are also other more serious conditions that also need to be excluded. Food intolerances could be a possibility but first it is important to exclude various conditions that may only be spotted with further diagnostic investigation like a scan or scope. Wait and see what the scan reveals.

      • Meezie

        Thanks very much, will wait for the scan.

        Could you give me a rough idea of what ‘serious’ and less serious conditions could cause this?

        With thanks if you can advise,


  • susan Swim

    Hi, I have had gas pain just under the rib cage since Thursday night and it is now Saturday. I feel blotted and have pain when resting it hurts under my rib cage . when standing and moving around it gets worse and goes down to my belly button. or sneeze while setting setting makes it hurt. How do I make it better , don’t know how to burp and I’ve tried extra strength gas x. I’m 57.

    • Hi Susan. Your symptoms may not necessarily be due to a gas buildup. Many conditions can present with this type of pain and bloating. You have not mentioned that belching relieves the discomfort so it is quite likely not gas. You may be looking at conditions like a hiatal hernia, gastritis or even peptic ulcers. The medication you are using will not help for any of these conditions. You need to consult with your doctor who most likely will have to conduct further investigations before a diagnosis is reached.

  • Karrah

    Hi. I’m a 35 year old woman who is struggling with excessive bloating and painful gas over the last year. This last week it got way worse and it’s embarassing. I don’t want to eat anymore because I don’t know what’s causing it. I cut out dairy products already thinking it had to do with lactose intoloerance. I eat pretty healthy, steel cut oats in the morning, banana or orange for snack, whole grain sandwich with spinich leaves, turkey, avacodo, cucumber, dinner is generally baked chicken, brown rice, and veggies. I drink a lot of water and work out 3-4 times a week pretty aggressively (boot camp style). I will have medical benefits the beginning of May. In the meantime, what should I change about my diet? I also sometimes have trail mix. Could it be the nuts that cause gas? Any advice would help. I wake up skinny and go to bed looking like I’m 10 months pregnant. Please help.

    • Hi Karrah. It’s worth having it checked up because you can’t be sure that it really is gas. Assuming that it is intestinal gas for now, you may want to look at a good probiotic supplement preferably one containing Lactobacilli and Saccharomyces boulardii. This will help restore your normal intestinal bacteria, which could be excessive in number or there may be other microbes which may be contributing to gas formation. Of course this is just one possibility and it is important to have it checked up in case there is some other underlying problem that may be causing your symptom and not just intestinal gas.

  • Sue

    Hi my name is Sue I have been having problems with my stomach it feels bloated and I get gas bubbles moving around all the time and pain under my left rib when I burp it helps just a little bit not much what should I do for it

    • Hi Sue. There are many possible causes for your symptoms as you can see from the article above. This could simply be indigestion, that in come cases occurs frequently, or it can be a more serious condition like a hiatal hernia. It is difficult to say for sure based on the symptoms you are experiencing as so many stomach conditions presents with these symptoms. You will need to speak to a doctor and further tests may be necessary for a diagnosis.

  • Joe

    I hope someone sees this and gives me some good advice. recently I have changed my diet, less bread/grains/soda more fruits and veggies (especially apples).

    When I first started I found I was always hungry so I started consuming 2 apples a day and cheese/yogurt…well lately I have had a lot of burps…okay it makes sense but I also feel a bit of shortness of breath, not like heart attack but more like I feel I’m not taking enough air in….and the burps keep coming (the other way too).

    My yearly physical comes around in February I was fine last year less food poisoning (thank you IHOP) and while I am a bit heavy I live a clean life, no smoking no drugs no alcohol….I feel fine, in fact since I changed my diet (2 months now) I’ve lost about 10 pounds without exercise (That will start in January). So is this just all that gas coming out of me? Is this all the discomfort?

    I have read that apples clean out the liver and with the change (less sugars/starch consumption) I keep thinking this is all about that, the releasing of gas and/or air leaving and how this is abnormal for me.

    Any ideas?

    • Hi Joe. Most of the gas passed out from the gut is air that is swallowed. It is main reason for belching and also contributes to flatulence. You mention less of many of the foods that can contribute to excessive gas but sometimes reducing your intake is not enough. You need to stop it altogether, like the sodas which contributes to carbon dioxide in the gut.

      Furthermore it is difficult to say whether you excessive gas is due to any disease (you don’t mention any other digestive symptoms) or just due to mouth breathing and so on which contributes to air swallowing (hence more gas).

      In addition, you do mention experiencing shortness of breath. Whatever the reason is for that shortness of breath, it will naturally lead to you breathing through your mouth and then possibly swallowing more air. You need to immediately have the shortness of breath assessed and treated as this could be serious. This may also contribute to a reduction in the gas and only thereafter should the gas problem be looked into further.

  • Sandra Holland

    I take lactose for my liver, I have bridging fibrosis (NASH). After taking the lactose, I have gas like you will not believe. It sounds like thunder, rumbling, bubbling, popping, etc. All I can do is stay on the toilet but it is mostly gas. Today has been awful I have strained until blood started dripping into toilet and onto tissue bright red blood. The lower part of my back is killing me. I have swollen around my rectum and hurt terribly. I am extremely bloated and stay that way most of the time. I look 9 months pregnant. I don’t have much of a life since I take the lactose but must take it because my ammonia level stays very high. Noone can help. What should I do. No doctor in my home town can help me. I stay home most of the time, ashamed to get out with such a big abdomen and I am extremely short breathe. Please give me some answers, will the bleeding stop? Why am I blotted all the time. My abdomen feels like little lumps everywhere. I will be waiting for your answer soon maybe. thank you,