Causes & Treatment for Gas and Bloating
What is gas and bloating?
Passing gas is a normal function of the body, which is simply caused by swallowed air and certain foods that we consume. Gas is usually expelled from the body through the mouth or rectum. Some people experience excessive gas that is not able to move out of the body easily. This can cause an uncomfortable bloated feeling. Even when small amounts of gas build up in the body it can bother those who are sensitive to the pressure. For many, making small changes to their diet can control gas and prevent bloating. Usually, it is not the sign of a medical condition, but in some cases might indicate another health problem, such as gastritis.
What causes gas?
Usually, small amounts of gas are passed through our system each day, due to swallowing air or the food we eat. Other things that contribute to gas in the stomach and can cause excessive gassiness include:
- Frequent swallowing, caused by stress, smoking, or post-nasal drip
- Consuming beverages with large amounts of carbon dioxide
- Eating too quickly
- Poorly-fitting dentures
- A condition called “sluggish bowel” that causes the body to get rid of gas slower than others
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
What causes excessive belching?
Some people experience excessive belching, which can occur due to any of the following:
- Swallowing too much air due to stress or eating quickly
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Gastritis (swelling of the stomach lining)
- Bacterial infection
How can I prevent gas and bloating?
Things you can do to improve your digestive health and limit your gassiness and bloating include:
- Exercise regularly
- Drink plenty of water
- Relax (tension can lead to increased air swallowing)
To reduce gas, avoid the following:
- Chewing gum
- Hard candies
- Milk products (if you are lactose-intolerant)
- Brussel sprouts
Can I see a doctor for excessive gas?
A physician who specializes in gastroenterology at Gotham Medical Associates can offer additional treatment options for excessive gas, bloating, or belching, including:
- Activated charcoal (for odor)
- Miralax or other stool softeners (for those who are also constipated)
- Simethicone (Gas-X)
- Amitiza (prescription medication)
- Supplements, such as Beano
When excessive gas is a symptom of another underlying disorder, such as GERD, our physicians can offer additional treatment options depending on the particular health issue.