Belching, Bloating, Flatulence/Gas

Unhealthy young woman with stomachache leaning on the bed at home.


Belching, Bloating, Flatulence (Gas)

Belching (burping), bloating and flatulence (gas) are common and natural and can occur in normal healthy state to some degree. However if these symptoms become excessive, they can not only be embarrassing and interfere with the quality of your life, but can be a sign of underlying gastrointestinal issue that may need further evaluation. 

Causes of Belching

Causes of Belching

Belching is your body expelling excess air from your upper digestive tract. A few reasons you may be experiencing belching may be due to:  

  • Eating or drinking too fast. 
  • Chewing gum or hard candies. 
  • Consumption of carbonated beverages. 
  • Smoking. 

A few examples of conditions that may also be a cause of belching include:  

  • Acid reflux or heartburn. 
  • Infection with H pylori and gastritis. 
  • Delayed gastric emptying or gastroparesis. 
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). 
Causes of Flatulence

Causes of Flatulence

Flatulence in the small intestine or colon is typically the result of indigestion or fermentation of undigested food. Gas can also form when your digestive system doesn’t completely break down certain components in food such as gluten or the sugar from dairy products and fruit. 

Some conditions that may be a cause of excessive flatulence may include. 

  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). 
  • Lactose intolerance.  
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 
  • Celiac disease. 
  • Chronic constipation.  


Belching, Bloating and Flatulence Potential Complications

Although complications from these conditions are uncommon, severe and persistent belching, bloating and flatulence may be accompanied by the following symptoms.

If you have any of the following symptom it’s important to see your Saint John’s Physician Partners doctor to make sure this is not due to a more serious condition, and to assure proper diagnosis and treatment.   

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could be caused by food poising, stomach flu, an intestinal tract infection, or another gastrointestinal disorder; schedule an appointment with your doctor to identify the cause and create a treatment plan

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Persistent or severe abdominal pain

can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and interfere with your daily living

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Bloody stools

can be a sign of hemorrhoids, an intestinal infection, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or GERD

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Changes in the frequency and color of your stools

such as red, maroon, black, clay-colored, pale, yellow, or green lasting more than a day, could indicate a problem; you should schedule an appointment with your doctor

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Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly

could lead to weight loss, loss of nutrients, weakness, or fatigue, if it is persistent, but these could also be signs of an acute illness or cancer

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Chest discomfort

could indicate you are experiencing excess gas or could be a heart attack symptom. Seek immediate medical attention

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Unintended weight loss

could be a sign of cancer, celiac disease, pituitary or thyroid disorder, or another condition; schedule an appointment with your doctor to identify the cause and create a treatment plan



Belching, Bloating, Flatulence

Diagnosis of belching, bloating and flatulence is evident by your symptoms.  However, your doctor will take a medical history and ask you about your eating habits and whether anything makes the belching, bloating and flatulence better or worse.  Some tests your doctor may recommend for investigation may include:   

  • Blood tests. 
  • Upper endoscopy and/or Colonoscopy.  
  • Imaging tests such as X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. 
  • Maldigestion and Malabsorption tests. 
  • H. pylori breath testing. 
  • Lactulose breath testing for SIBO. 
  • Stool testing.  


Belching, Bloating, Flatulence Treatments

Treatment for belching, bloating and flatulence may vary depending on the underlying condition.  Your Saint John’s Physician Partners gastroenterologist will recommend and discuss your specific treatment options as well as risks and benefits so you can make an informed decision on the best treatment for you.  

Some dietary and lifestyle modifications you can make to reduce your belching and bloating can include:   

  • Eating and drinking slowly.  
  • Avoid carbonated drinks and beer. 
  • Tobacco cessation.  
  • Decreasing chewing gum and consumption of hard candies.  
  • Get moving. 
  • Treating your heartburn. 
  • Eliminating certain foods such as beans, peas, lentils, cabbage, onions, broccoli, whole grain foods and certain fruits and carbonated water and beer. 
  • Eat fewer fatty foods. 
  • Temporarily cut down on high-fiber foods since they produce gas. 


Belching, Bloating, Flatulence Specialists

1301 20th St., Suite 280, Santa Monica, CA 90404

1301 20th St., Suite 280, Santa Monica, CA 90404

1301 20th St., Suite 280, Santa Monica, CA 90404

1301 20th St., Suite 280, Santa Monica, CA 90404

1301 20th St., Suite 280, Santa Monica, CA 90404

1301 20th St., Suite 280, Santa Monica, CA 90404