stomach gas icon, gas pains, gastritis


Gas is completely normal, and we all suffer from time to time. Excess stomach gas in the upper intestines can be a result of many different factors, like swallowing excess air, overeating, smoking, or even chewing gum. Excess stomach gas in the lower intestines may be caused by too much of a certain type of food, not fully digesting certain foods, or a disruption of the bacteria that lives in your colon.

For more information from Charleston GI board certified gastroenterologist, keep reading!



Gas typically enters your digestive tract one of two ways: swallowing air or undigested foods in your large intestine. The amount of gas symptoms you have can be determined by your diet or lifestyle habits.

  • Swallowing Air
    We’re constantly swallowing air, whether you realize it or not. It happens while eating, drinking, chewing gum, or smoking. Even loose-fitting dentures can result in swallowing excess air. This excess air is typically let out by burping, and some is absorbed into your intestines which causes you to pass gas.
  • Food Digestion
    Your small intestine doesn’t have the enzymes needed to break down and absorb the carbs found in starchy foods. These undigested foods then travel to the large intestines where it is broken down by bacteria which then creates hydrogen and carbon dioxide gasses. In some people’s guts, this bacterium also creates methane gas. This whole process is what creates flatulence.


Food affects everyone’s guts differently, so where some foods might cause extreme gas in one person, another person may be completely unaffected. Here are some common gas-producing foods and drinks:

  • Beans and lentils
  • Vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts
  • Bran
  • Dairy products with lactose
  • Fructose, commonly found in some fruits and is often used as a sweetener
  • Sorbitol, a sugar alternative often found in sugar-free candies, gums, and artificial sweeteners
  • Carbonated beverages, such as soda, beer, or sparkling water

Food Less Likely to Cause Excess Gas

If you’re hoping to reduce the amount of gas you’re experiencing, try adding more of these items below into your diet. 

  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables, such as lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, and okra
  • Fruits, such as cantaloupe, grapes, berries, cherries, avocado, or olives
  • Carbohydrates, such as gluten-free bread, rice, quinoa, or oats


If you experience excessive gas, that might be a sign of a digestive disorder. If you have already been diagnosed with a digestive disorder, that can increase your risk of excessive intestinal gas. Those digestive disorders can include:

  • Celiac disease
  • Colon cancer
  • Constipation
  • Crohn's disease - a disease caused by the inflammation of any part of the digestive tract and often found in the intestines where the small intestine and the colon meet. 
  • Diabetes
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Eating disorders
  • Functional dyspepsia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - a disease where your stomach contents and/or stomach acid backflow into your esophagus.
  • Gastroparesis - a condition where the muscles of the stomach wall don't function properly which interferes with digestion.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - an intestinal disorder causing pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Ulcerative colitis - a type of inflammatory bowel disease.


Having excessive gas anywhere in your GI tract can be uncomfortable. You may experience any of the following symptoms if you’re suffering from excessive gas.

  • Abdominal bloating: Bloating typically occurs as a result of an intestinal motility disorder. These disorders usually cause abnormal contractions of intestinal muscles and can lead to a false sensation of bloating due to a sensitivity to gas. Other issues that may cause abdominal bloating include:
    • Splenic flexure syndrome: A chronic disorder caused by gas trapped at the flexures, or bends, in the colon. 
    • Crohn’s disease, colon cancer, or other disorders or diseases that cause intestinal obstruction.
    • Internal hernias or adhesions from surgery
    • Fatty foods: These foods lead to a delay in stomach emptying which can cause bloating.
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort: Excessive intestinal gas can cause pain and discomfort in some. Gas that collects on the left side of the colon can often cause pain that is confused with heart problems. Gas collected on the right side of the colon can cause pain that is mistaken for gallstones or appendicitis.
  • Burping/Belching: Whichever you call it, burping or belching after a meal is normal. If you find yourself burping frequently, you may be swallowing an excessive amount of air and releasing that air before it gets to your stomach. Chronic belching could also indicate an upper GI problem, like GERD, gastritis, or peptic ulcer disease.
  • Flatulence: Passing gas, farting, flatulence - it’s all just excess gas passing through your rectum. This is your body’s way of releasing the gas in your large intestine. Passing gas 14 to 23 times a day is normal.
  • Gas-bloat syndrome: If you’ve had surgery to resolve GERD, you may experience gas-bloat syndrome as a side effect of that surgery. GERD surgery creates a one-way valve between your esophagus and your stomach which allows food and gas to enter.
  • Meganblase syndrome: Meganblase syndrome can cause chronic belching. It is caused by swallowing large amounts of air, creating a large bubble of gas in your stomach after heavy meals. You may experience fullness and shortness of breath with this disorder that may mimic heart attack symptoms.

It is common for symptoms of gas to resemble other medical conditions or issues. If you’re concerned about any pain or discomfort, always talk to your doctor.


Symptoms of excessive gas typically resolve themselves with simple changes to diet and lifestyle. Gas symptoms alone don’t typically point to a larger problem. Talk to your GI doctor if your symptoms do not improve over time, worsen, or if you notice any of the following symptoms in addition to excessive gas:

  • Diarrhea
  • Persistent or severe abdominal pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Changes in color or frequency of stools
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Chest discomfort
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly

These symptoms could be a sign of an underlying issue, so be sure to seek help from your doctor as soon as you can. At Charleston GI, our doctors are experienced in handling all kinds of gut issues, so don’t feel embarrassed. We’re here for you.


Once you’ve talked to your doctor about your symptoms, they may recommend further testing to take a closer look at your gut. Your doctor may suggest:

  • Colonoscopy: Using an endoscope, your doctor will enter through your rectum to take a closer look at the inside of your large intestine and colon in its entirety. 
  • Abdominal x-ray: Your doctor will simply take an x-ray of your abdomen. 
  • Food diary: Your doctor may ask you to keep a food diary or food journal to document each meal and help discover what is triggering your symptoms.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: This procedure is similar to a colonoscopy, but only looks at the lower part of your colon and large intestine.
  • Upper gastrointestinal series, also called barium swallow: This is when you swallow barium, a metallic fluid that coats your digestive tract and provides images of your upper GI tract for your doctor to view. 

At Charleston GI, our board-certified gastroenterologist specialize in physical exams, rectal exams, and colonoscopies to assist with GI tract conditions. Please talk to our team for more information. 


If you’re looking to reduce your gas, there are a few things you can do to help.

  • Changes in the diet: You may find it helpful to reduce certain gas-causing foods, like beans, onions, mushrooms, and carbonated beverages. It also may help to eat fewer fatty foods to encourage better digestion. 
  • Medications: There are over-the-counter gas remedies that can be helpful. Lactaid may help if dairy is a trigger for your symptoms, or you can try Gas-X or Mylanta Gas to simply reduce gas.   
  • Reducing the amount of air swallowed: You can reduce the amount of air you’re swallowing by eating and drinking slower, eliminating carbonated drinks, walking after a meal, avoiding chewing gum, and quitting smoking.



Why does everything I eat give me gas and bloating?

This may be a sign of a digestive issue. The fix may be as simple as slowing down while eating, you may have a food intolerance, or have a digestive disorder that causes gas or food contents to build-up.

What is better for gas Tums or Pepto-Bismol?

If you’re looking for quick heartburn relief, Tums can be a great option, but it doesn’t last all day. Pepto-Bismol helps alleviate stomach issues and intestinal problems without many side effects. If you need additional relief, talk to your GI doctor or pharmacist.

Do probiotics help with gas?

A probiotic supplement can help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms. Foods high in probiotics can fill your gut with good bacteria that helps with the breakdown of food.

Does yogurt help with gas?

It does! Yogurt is a great source of probiotics and can aid digestion, leading to less gas and bloating.

Do bananas help with gas?

As bananas ripen, they become more digestible. The starch found in bananas breaks down into simple sugars during the ripening process, so a ripe banana can help with gas and bloating.

Which fruit is best for gas problems?

Berries and citrus fruits are low in fructose, which makes them easier to digest. Berries, citrus, and bananas contain fiber and inulin, which is a substance that helps facilitate the growth of good bacteria. 

Is it normal to pass gas regularly?

Yes! Everyone passes gas. While it can be embarrassing, flatulence is a normal sign of digestion. In fact, most people pass gas around 14 times a day.

How is it that sometimes my gas is odorless?

Most of the time, the gas exiting your body is made up of carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sometimes methane, which are all odorless gasses. When your large intestine releases gas containing sulfur, that’s when you’ll have the unpleasant flatulence odor.

How can I reduce gas in my stomach?

You can reduce the amount of gas in your stomach by taking your time while eating and drinking, staying away from carbonated beverages, quitting smoking, making sure your dentures fit well, taking short walks after meals, and skipping out on the chewing gum. 

Is internal gas the cause of my bloating?

Internal gas can be the cause of bloating, but it isn’t always. Bloating can often be caused by irritable bowel syndrome or anxiety, or it could be a sign of a food sensitivity or an insensitivity to intestinal gas. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your abdominal bloating.

How do you know if you have trapped gas?

If you suspect you have trapped gas, you may notice symptoms such as:

  • Burping
  • Passing gas
  • Pain, cramps, or a knotted feeling in your abdomen
  • Bloating
  • An observable increase in the size of your abdomen

What does gas pain feel like?

Pain caused by gas can sometimes feel like a sharp, shooting pain or a stretching sensation in your abdomen.

Where does it hurt if you have gas?

Gas pain can hurt anywhere in your abdomen, back, or chest. When gas collects on the left side of your colon, you may feel it in your chest and people often mistake it for a sign of a heart problem. Gas collected on the right side of the colon may feel like gallstone or appendicitis pain. It can be different for everyone.

What type of dieting is recommended to relieve excess gas?

Your doctor may suggest making changes to your diet to reduce intestinal gas. They may suggest lowering your intake of fiber, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and collard greens, sugar-free candies or gums, carbonated beverages, and drinks high in fructose.

What is intestinal gas?

Intestinal gas is defined as a mix of odorless vapors that form in the digestive system. These vapors are released either through belching or flatulence, but can sometimes get trapped in the stomach.

What is the best way to relieve excessive gas?

If you’re looking to relieve excessive gas, the most common solutions are changing your diet, taking over-the-counter gas relief medications, and reducing the amount of air you’re swallowing.

What are common symptoms of excessive internal gas?

If you have excessive internal gas, you may notice belching, flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain. Other intestinal disorders can cause these symptoms, so talk to your doctor if you have questions.


To learn more about treatment for GI tract issues in Charleston, SC, get in touch today! Charleston Gastroenterology is committed to a higher standard of caring – and we provide a range of medical treatments to help you feel your best.

If you are experiencing painful gi tract symptoms, schedule your appointment today! No referral needed.