Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
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Common Question Answered: Why am I so Bloated?
Posted in GERD & Heartbur... by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Aug 21, 2012
I hear concerns about gas and bloating all the time from patients. What may freak you out is that the average adult produces about one to three pints of gas each day, which is passed from below 14 to 23 times per day. Burping before or after a meal is also normal. So how much is too much and why does it happen?
1. Where does the gas come from? There are two sources of intestinal gas: gas that is ingested (swallowed air) and gas produced by bacteria in the colon.

2. Burping vs. passing gas: Most swallowed air is eliminated by burping so that only a small amount of air passes from the stomach into the small intestine. When sitting up, most swallowed air passes back up the esophagus and out of the mouth, which will cause you to burp. When lying down, swallowed air tends to pass into the small intestine, which can cause you to pass gas.

3. Burping foods: Burping is more common with foods that relax the sphincter at the lower end of the esophagus where it joins the stomach. Peppermint, chocolate, and high fat foods will do this.

4. Passing gas: The colon contains billions of harmless bacteria. The stomach isn’t great at digesting certain carbs so the bacteria in the colon have to do the work. Those foods will cause you to have more gas because the colon bacteria are working hard. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli cause more gas and farts.

5. Why do farts smell? Though a minor component of gas, trace amounts of sulfur cause the smell.

6. Why do I get gas and bloating with dairy? Some people are not able to digest certain carbohydrates. A classic example is lactose, the major sugar in dairy products. Eating dairy (lactose) may lead to increased gas production, along with cramping and diarrhea.

7. What about bacterial overgrowth? For reasons we aren’t sure about some people tend to harbor large numbers of bacteria in their small bowel and are prone to develop excessive gas.

8. Why do I burp more than other people? Pay attention to causes of increased swallowed: eating slowly without gulping and avoiding carbonated beverages, chewing gum, and smoking.

9. What over the counter meds help for gas and bloating? Over-the-counter products that contain simethicone (Maalox, Mylanta, and Gas-X) help for gas and bloating. Also try Pepto-Bismol to reduce the odor of unpleasant smelling gas.
What did I miss?

- Dr. O

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WHY ARE ALL THESE POST AND ARTICLES SO OLD???? NOT MUCH GOING ON ON THIS SUPPORT GROUP. I WROTE AT LEAST 4 QUESTION NO ONE EVEN ANSWERED ANY OF THEM. I GUESS NOT TO MANY USE THIS SUPPORT GROUP.
By zzztop  Dec 23, 2013
5
Just2fat,

You might want to try a product like Phillip's Colon Health to restore a normal bacterial balance after a course of antibiotics. Also, constipation on top of being out of balance may complicate things further. You might need a colon "cleanse."
By ConnieB40023  Aug 24, 2012
4
I get a lot of gas issues but lately it is causing me chest pain. Sometimes I feel like a balloon is stuck in my back. I have recently suffered from stomach infection and since then I have been getting this pain. Any advise?
By Just2fat  Aug 24, 2012
3
One of the most notable reasons for gas and bloating of which I am aware is Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO), and it occurs as a result of GERD medications--acid blockers, PPI's (Proton Pump Inhibitors). The acid blocker/reducers not only block acids that kill bacteria, but they also increase constipation resulting in an enormous buildup of gas-producing bacteria and bloating. It usually must be treated periodically with antibiotics. Since my aim is to avoid antibiotic use whenever possible, I use a combination of 1000mg of vitamin C and 500-1000mg of magnesium supplement to clear my system periodically. I find doing this also lessens my GERD symptoms which were poorly controlled by the acid-reducers. Continued #2
By ConnieB40023  Aug 23, 2012
2
For me a product like Pepcid Complete was more effective than Nexium at controlling GERD symptoms, but also resulted in more flatulence (gas). I rarely have need of an acid reducer anymore, but a lifetime of antibiotic use has left me with an abnormal balance of bacteria that I control with diet and supplements. I am a healthcare provider (non-medical) and have made these observations and developed this regimen to manage my digestive problems independent of the medical field. I have been diagnosed with an underlying condition that may make my response to routine treatment different from "normal."


Another possible cause of bloating is steroid use--a condition called "ascites."
By ConnieB40023  Aug 23, 2012
1
I usually think of bloating as more than just burping and gas. Bloating, or retaining fluid in his abdomen and chest, was part of the symptoms my husband had as he went through a 6-month ordeal with doctors unable to diagnose him with Congestive Heart Failure, or to send him to a Cardiologist. Yes, shortness of breath, and fatigue were the first symptoms he discussed with his doctor but he had a normal EKG so they moved on to other possibilities including depression and anxiety. Because he seemed to have digestive issues, vomiting frequently, he was sent to a Gastroenterologist who found nothing seriously wrong. Finally, after seeing a Pulmonologist and 3 trips to the ER, he got admitted to the hospital with suspected heart disease, saw a Cardiologist and got an Echo which told the true picture.
By Fern RL  Aug 22, 2012
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