Intestinal Gas - Causes

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What was the cause of your intestinal gas?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver


* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!


I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white triangle:

What causes belching?

The ability to belch is almost universal. Belching, also known as burping (medically referred to as eructation), is the act of expelling gas from the stomach out through the mouth. The usual cause of belching is a distended (inflated) stomach caused by swallowed air. The distention of the stomach causes abdominal discomfort, and the belching expels the air and relieves the discomfort. The common reasons for swallowing large amounts of air (aerophagia) are gulping food or drink too rapidly, anxiety, and carbonated beverages. People are often unaware that they are swallowing air. "Burping" infants during bottle or breastfeeding is important in order to expel air in the stomach that has been swallowed with the formula or milk.

Excessive air in the stomach is not the only cause of belching. For some people, belching becomes a habit and does not reflect the amount of air in their stomachs. For others, belching is a response to any type of abdominal discomfort and not just to discomfort due to increased gas. Everyone knows that when they have mild abdominal discomfort, belching often relieves the problem. This is because excessive air in the stomach often is the cause of mild abdominal discomfort. As a result, people belch whenever mild abdominal discomfort is felt regardless of its cause.

Belching is not the simple act that many people think it is. Belching requires the coordination of several activities.

  • The larynx must be closed-off so that any liquid or food that might return with the air from the stomach won't get into the lungs.
  • This is accomplished by voluntarily raising the larynx as is done when swallowing.
  • Raising the larynx also relaxes the upper esophageal sphincter so that air can pass more easily from the esophagus into the throat.
  • The lower esophageal sphincter must open so that air can pass from the stomach into the esophagus.
  • While all this is occurring, the diaphragm descends just as it does when a breath is taken.
  • This increases abdominal pressure and decreases pressure in the chest.
  • The changes in pressure promote the flow of air from the stomach in the abdomen to the esophagus in the chest.

One unusual type of belching has been described in individuals who habitually belch. It has been demonstrated that during their belches, room air enters the esophagus and is immediately expelled without even entering the stomach, giving rise to a belch. This in and out flow of air also is likely to be the explanation for the ability of many people to belch at will, even when there is little or no air in the stomach.

If the problem causing the discomfort is not excessive air in the stomach, then belching does not provide relief from the discomfort. When belching does not ease the discomfort, the belching should be taken as a sign that something may be wrong within the abdomen and the cause of the discomfort should be sought. Belching by itself, however, does not help the physician determine what may be wrong because belching can occur in virtually any abdominal disease or condition that causes abdominal discomfort.

Return to Intestinal Gas (Belching, Bloating, Flatulence)

See what others are saying

Comment from: vsjl, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 14

With age, I started having problems with bloating and gas. I found relief with digestive enzymes. However, after using them for about a year I found myself in a constant state of tension in my jaw, neck and throat, along with dry mouth. I do use a probiotic but it's not doing anything for the bloating. I'm at my wit's end trying to figure out what to do now.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: purr2go, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 22

Gas causes pain, makes me dizzy, and interferes with sleep and life. The pleasure of having greens, fruits, salads, is always ruined because of what follows. I'm trying Citrucel, a non-gas producing fiber. Another big help is GasEx (or similar) and chamomile tea. I tried Activa light, but I think the artificial sweetener plus the lactose made things much worse. I am trying sauerkraut for the probiotics, but cabbage itself causes gas, too. I tried probiotic supplements, and they do keep you regular, but I wonder if they made my gas worse.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

STAY INFORMED

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!