Gas, Bloating, and Burping - Topic Overview
(flatus), burping, and bloating are all normal conditions. Gas is made in the
stomach and intestines as your body breaks down food into energy. Gas and
burping may sometimes be embarrassing. Bloating, which is a feeling of fullness
in the abdomen, can make you uncomfortable. Although many people think that
they pass gas too often or have too much gas, it is rare to have too much gas.
Changing what you eat and drink can sometimes cut down on gas and relieve
discomfort caused by gas.
Belching or burping (eructation) is the
voluntary or involuntary, sometimes noisy release of air from the
esophagus through the mouth. Burping 3 or 4 times
after eating a meal is normal and is usually caused by swallowing air. Other
causes of burping include nervous habits or other
medical conditions, such as an
ulcer or a
gallbladder problem. In some cultures, a person may
belch loudly after eating to show appreciation for the meal.
people pass gas, but some people produce more gas than others. It is normal to
pass gas from 6 to 20 times a day. Although this may embarrass or annoy you,
excess intestinal gas usually is not caused by a serious health condition.
Common causes of gas and bloating include:
- Swallowed air. If swallowed air is not
burped up, it passes through the digestive tract and is released through the
anus as flatus. Excessive air swallowing may cause
- Foods and beverages.
The amount of gas that different foods cause varies from person to
- Lactose intolerance. A person who cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products can have both gas and bloating as well as other symptoms.
- Constipation. This can cause bloating but generally does
not increase gas. For more information, see the topic
Constipation, Age 11 and Younger or
Constipation, Age 12 and Older.
- Medicines or nutritional supplements. Both prescription and nonprescription
medicines, as well as dietary supplements, can cause bloating and gas as side
medical condition, such as a
bowel obstruction or
- Changes in hormone
levels. It is common for women to have bloating right before their periods,
because their bodies retain fluid.