What Causes Gas After Eating
Feeling like your belly is fit to burst or experiencing bad gas after eating is unpleasant, but understanding the cause could help to prevent it.
Digestive distress is an unpleasant symptom of bloating. Picture it: youve finished eating and your stomach feels full to bursting point, or youve got so much gas after eating anything that you dont know what to do with yourself.
Although a little tooting here and there can be humorous, too much of it can be painful. In fact, severe symptoms can really take it out of us. For example, dealing with cramping and pain can lead to fatigue, greatly impacting on our personal and social lives.
If that wasnt enough, excessive gas production from your rear end can be continuous, making it pretty difficult to go to work or socialise. Alternatively, the stench could leave you feeling horrified with yourself! But there could be several explanations for its occurrence.
Does rice expand in your stomach? No. If you cook your rice before eating it, it should be soft and chewy because it has absorbed all the moisture it can.
When To Seek Relief
Most minor fluctuations in gas and bowel habits are normal, but if you experience excessive or persistent gas or bloating, its time to seek medical attention, cautions van der Linden. A little gas is probably healthy, but a lot of gas, that could be a problem, he says.
Talk to your doctor if gas symptoms change suddenly, become severe, begin to interfere with your normal activities or are accompanied by other symptoms. A physical exam, stool tests, blood tests and imaging tests, which may include an endoscopy or colonoscopy, might be performed to help rule out or diagnose an underlying health issue. Your physician will also review your symptoms and family history and may recommend keeping a food journal or eliminating certain foods from your diet.
Dietary changes, such as eating more slowly, not gulping food or drinks and avoiding or limiting certain foods or beverages, can help relieve some uncomfortable symptoms. Adding even small bouts of exercise to your day can help push gas through your system and ease bloating. Stress management techniques, like yoga or meditation, can help keep you from unintentionally swallow air when youre talking, which can happen when you’re upset or nervous.
Other Conditions That Cause Gas
Gas is sometimes a symptom of a digestive condition. These include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease. This term describes chronic inflammation in the digestive tract and includes ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease. Symptoms include diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain that can mimic gas pains.
- Irritable bowel syndrome . This is a condition that affects the large intestines and causes a variety of symptoms, such as:
- stomach pain
- indigestion that feels like gas
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How Is Intestinal Gas Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider may ask you to keep a food diary for a week or more to see if certain foods or drinks make you gassy. Because excessive gas can be a sign of a health problem, you may need one or more of these tests:
- Blood tests: These tests detect certain conditions like celiac disease that cause gas.
- Breath test: A hydrogen breath test identifies lactose intolerance or abnormal bacterial growth in the intestine.
- Colon screening: A flexible sigmoidoscopy lets your provider view the lower part of your colon and rectum . With a colonoscopy, the provider views all of the large intestine. These tests help identify digestive disorders like Crohns disease as well as colon cancer.
- Food elimination: Your healthcare provider may suggest removing certain foods to see if gas symptoms improve. For example, if youre less gassy after cutting out dairy, you might be lactose intolerant unable to break down lactose, a sugar in milk.
- Gastrointestinal tract exam: If you belch a lot, your provider may perform a gastrointestinal examcalled an upper GI test or barium swallow. You swallow a solution that coats the esophagus, stomach and part of the small intestine with barium for easier viewing on X-rays.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Could a medical condition be making me gassy?
- What tests can determine the cause of intestinal gas?
- What steps can I take to cut down on intestinal gas?
- What foods or drinks should I avoid?
- Whats the best treatment for my gas symptom?
- How can I tell the difference between gas and something more serious?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
While intestinal gas is common, the symptoms belching, flatulence, bloating and stomach discomfort can be embarrassing and even painful. Gas is sometimes a symptom of a more serious health problem. Talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns. The right treatment can ease gas symptoms so you can go about your day in confidence.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/11/2020.
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What Are The Complications Of Intestinal Gas
Extra gas can cause pain, discomfort and embarrassment, but its usually not a serious health problem. Gas buildup can sometimes feel more worrisome, though. Gas on the left side of the colon can cause chest pain that you might mistake for a heart attack. Gas buildup on the right side can mimic pain from gallstones or appendicitis. A health professional should check out these symptoms for any concerning underlying cause.
Stomach Gas Buildup Can Be Extremely Discomforting And Sometimes Embarrassing Don’t Worry Remedies Like Honey Ginger And Others Can Provide Instant Relief
Having stomach gas is normal and healthy, as it is a byproduct of the human digestive system. On average, a person can pass anywhere from a pint to 2 quarts of gas per day. Most gas, trapped in the body, is expelled via burping. The rest is absorbed by the small intestine and released through the rectum. Various problems occur when gas is not expelled properly from the body. This can result in bloating of the abdomen, nausea, abdominal pain and an acidic taste in the mouth. All these symptoms can be extremely discomforting and will need some relief. To rid yourself of stomach gas problems, the underlying cause should be understood, and appropriate medications and remedies should be used.
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Who Might Get Intestinal Gas
Excess gas can make your stomach feel swollen or bloated. You may pass flatulence . Though uncomfortable, excess gas is rarely a concern. Things that make you produce too much gas include:
- Behavioral factors, such as swallowing air while chewing, drinking and talking.
- Dietary choices, such as consuming too many gas-producing foods .
- Digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome , lactose intolerance and celiac disease.
- Intestinal infections, such as giardiasis, that cause an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria.
- Medications or motility disorders that slow the bowels, such as IBS, diabetes and scleroderma.
Get Up And Walk Around
Exercise isnt just great for your overall healthit can also help clear up painful gas and bloating. While a five-mile run probably isnt first on your to-do list when youre doubled over in pain, if you can manage a quick walk or other gentle movement, that can make a big difference.
Exercise helps exercise your intestines, too, Dr. Wakim-Fleming says. Experts dont know exactly why exercise helps move gas along, but something about physical activity helps to boost your intestines muscle activity, Ashkan Farhadi, M.D., a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Groups Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells SELF.
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Why Do I Bloat After Eating
If your stomach bloats after eating, identify your common bloating triggers so you can take steps to resolve the problem.
The first step to dealing with the issue of bloating is to establish the potential causes. And, its easier to do so than you might have imagined. Once youve found the source, you can begin to put an action plan in place and actively take steps to stop bloating and gas after eating.
Avoid Swallowing So Much Airseriously
Downing some water can be counterproductive if youre doing it in a way that will only lead to more gas. Until the pain abates, avoid habits that can lead to swallowing a ton of air, like taking big gulps of water at a time, using straws, drinking fizzy beverages, sucking your food down too quickly, talking a lot while eating, and chewing gum, Dr. Wakim-Fleming says.
Fizzy Drinks Expand Your Waistline
If you experience stomach bloating after eating very little, maybe its what you drink rather than what you eat. Fizzy or carbonated drinks cause carbon dioxide to build up in the body, inflating your stomach, resulting in gas immediately after eating.
The best drink to combat this is water. Just still water, not sparkling though. If, like many others, youre not keen on the taste, try adding a little flavour like a slice of lemon or lime. These not only enhance the flavour of water, but wont expand your tummy either.
Remedies And Treatments For Stomach Pain And Gas
Most stomach pain and gas will go away on its own, but there are steps you can take to ease discomfort and prevent future gas pain. Gas-related stomach pain remedies include:
The only way to get rid of gas is to pass it. Donât hold it in. If youâre worried about odor, try reducing foods that contain sulfur-producing compounds such as broccoli, cabbage, and beer.
Many gas-relieving products are marketed, but scientific evidence of their effectiveness is limited. Many people claim to experience relief, so they may be worth trying. The most common medications that claim to relieve immediate symptoms are activated charcoal and simethicone .
Peppermint and peppermint oil have the best record as digestive aids, but there are many other foods that may help. In one study, Chinese herbal formulae outperformed placebos in soothing IBS symptoms. Commonly included ingredients are:
- Wearing ill-fitting dentures
Enzymes Before Eating Certain Foods
Taking enzymes before you eat can help you better digest your meal. Most enzymes are only available for those with a medical condition that prevents them from producing their own. However, two widely available enzymes for problematic foods are:
- Lactase supplements can help those who are lactose intolerant.
- Alpha-galactosidase supplements can help people digest legumes.
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Bloating: Causes And Prevention Tips
How often do you hear yourself or friends complain about bloating? We often just say were bloated when we feel full, but for many women, the problem relates to a chronic underlying condition. If you feel bloated often, you may have a condition like irritable bowel syndrome , which affects up to 24 percent of women.
Linda Lee, M.D., explains common causes of bloating and what you can do to prevent this uncomfortable condition.
Gas Pain: When To See A Doctor
Veloso says to be on the lookout for abdominal pain and bloating that persists even after constipation improves.
You may have celiac disease or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth , which can cause these symptoms and can occur with either constipation or diarrhea. You may also have irritable bowel syndrome or another problem, she notes.
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What Distinguishes Your Farts
Nitrogen is the primary compound that is found in 20% to 90% of gas that generates farting. The second most prevalent culprit is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide contributes between 10% and 30% of the gas by volume followed up with an estimated 10% of each gas including hydrogen , methane and oxygen.
The concentration of gases includes a range because every individuals lifestyle habits will affect the gases they produce. For instance, the following factors contribute to the percentage of gas any individual will generate in any single day:
- Dietary habits and quality of foods consumed
- Effect of chemical reactions which occur in the microbiome of the gut during digestion
- The quantity of air swallowed throughout the day
Which gases are present in the body will contribute to the smell of an individuals farts. Many of you who do not believe you fart at least 14 times a day, likely experience the odorless farts caused by 99% of the gases produced in your intestines. Those less fortunate experience foul smelling flatulence resulting from the 1% of gas with all too common aromas.
A combination of specific sulfur-related compounds produced in the intestines contribute to the odor of your passing gas. These sulfur containing compounds is characteristic of cruciferous vegetables. These three compounds include:
Consider If Dairy Is Actually The Culprit
If you’re currently in the fetal position dealing with gas pain, think back to how much cheese, milk, and ice cream you had recentlyeven if you don’t think you’re lactose intolerant. You can spend years having zero issues when you drink a venti latte in the A.M., followed by a grilled cheese sandwich at lunchuntil you suddenly do.
As most people age, they start making less lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, the sugar in dairy products, Dr. Staller says. This is one cause of lactase deficiency and lactose intolerance. As your digestive systems bacteria try to break down lactose without enough lactase to do the job, you may experience annoying symptoms like more painful gas than usual.
Many people in their 20s and 30s have symptoms and dont suspect that its the dairy products, Dr. Staller says. If you think dairy is behind your painful gas, try cutting it out for a few weeks and see where that gets you.
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How To Get Rid Of Gas Pain
If youve ever experienced waves of sharp pain in your belly along with the feeling that your waistline is inflating like a balloon, you might be experiencing bloating and cramps due to intestinal gas.
Everyone gets gas on occasion. Its a natural byproduct of the bacteria in your intestines doing their job and breaking down the fibers, sugars and starches in the food you eat. Though gas pain is usually nothing serious, the discomfort can be intense.
Intestinal gas and its discomfort are likely to resolve on their own. Burping or passing gas through the rectum is usually enough to ease your physical discomfort.
Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Hazel Marie Galon Veloso provides some perspective on bloating and gas cramps, including when to see a doctor.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gas
Gas symptoms vary from person to person. Common symptoms of gas in the digestive tract include belching, bloating and distention, and passing gas. Having some gas symptoms is normal, especially during or after meals.
Gas symptoms may be a problem if they occur often, bother you, or affect your daily activities.
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Foods To Limit To Reduce Flatulence
- dairy products such as milk, if lactose intolerance is present
- dried fruit raisins and prunes
- fruit apple, apricot, peach and pear
- foods high in insoluble fibre particularly seeds and husks
- legumes beans, peas, chickpeas, soybeans and nuts
- vegetables carrot, eggplant, onion, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
Check For Food Intolerances With An Elimination Diet
Food intolerances are different than food allergies. Instead of an allergic response, food intolerances cause digestive upset like diarrhea, gas, bloating, and nausea. A common food intolerance is lactose intolerance. Lactose is found in all dairy products.
An elimination diet can help you narrow in on the cause of your excess gas. Try eliminating all dairy products from your diet.
If youre still experiencing abnormal gas, try eliminating the gas-producing foods listed above. Then, slowly begin to add foods back in one at a time. Keep detailed records of your meals and any symptoms that arise.
While many people feel they may have a gluten intolerance, its important to see your gastroenterologist to rule out celiac disease before starting a gluten-free diet. Gluten is found in all wheat products, like bread and pasta.
Being gluten-free will affect the accuracy of any testing that needs to be done to evaluate for celiac disease, so wait until you hear back from your doctor before removing gluten from your diet.
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Rule Out Food Allergies And Intolerances To Common Foods
Food allergies and intolerances are relatively common.
When you eat foods that you are intolerant to, it can cause excess gas production, bloating and other symptoms.
Here are some common foods and ingredients to consider:
- Lactose: Lactose intolerance is associated with many digestive symptoms, including bloating. Lactose is the main carbohydrate in milk (
- 14 ).
Both lactose and fructose are a part of a larger group of indigestible carbs or fiber known as FODMAPs. FODMAP intolerance is one of the most common causes of bloating and abdominal pain.
If you strongly suspect that you have a food allergy or intolerance, see a doctor.
Food allergies and intolerances are common causes of bloating. Common offenders include lactose, fructose, wheat, gluten and eggs.