Gas and Bloating

Gas forms inside your body when you eat certain foods or swallow too much air. Bloating is the tight, full feeling you get from too much gas.

What causes gas and bloating?

  • Vegetables, such as beans, cabbage, and broccoli
  • Starches, such as potatoes, corn, wheat, and pasta
  • Dairy products
  • High-fiber cereals and breads
  • High-fat foods
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Chewing gum, smoking, and loose dentures

What are the symptoms of gas and bloating?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating that is worse during the day and better at night
  • Burping or passing gas more often than usual
  • Constipation

How is gas and bloating diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about what you eat and examine your abdomen. You may need any of the following tests to check for a medical condition that may be causing your symptoms:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give healthcare providers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.
  • Imaging tests: These tests can help healthcare providers find a blockage in your bowels.
  • Endoscopy: This test uses a scope to see the inside of your digestive system. A scope is a long, flexible tube with a light and tiny camera on the end. This test is used to check for blockage or other problems. Samples may be taken from your bowels and sent to a lab for tests.

How is gas and bloating treated?

Gas relief medicines may help decrease gas pain and bloating. These can be bought without a doctor's order.

How do I manage my symptoms?

  • Keep a log: Write down what you eat and drink and how often you pass gas each day.
  • Eat and drink slowly: Choose foods that do not cause gas, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Avoid high-fat foods and vegetables or starches that can cause gas. Do not drink carbonated drinks. Add foods back into your diet one at a time after 1 week. If the food causes symptoms, avoid it.
  • Exercise: Exercise can help relieve gas.
  • Do not smoke or chew gum: This can cause you to swallow air.
  • Make sure your dentures fit properly: Have your dentures fixed if they are loose. Loose dentures can cause you to swallow too much air.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.
  • You vomit or have diarrhea.
  • You lose weight without trying.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have severe abdominal pain.
  • You have blood in your bowel movement.