Bloating Symptom Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS

Almost everyone experiences gas (or bloating) from time to time. This is when there is too much air in the intestines, causing pressure and discomfort. In most cases, bloating is not a disease and goes away on its own.

It is often caused by poor diet, fast food, or stress. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms, it may indicate a medical condition. Read more about the causes and treatment of gas!

Gas in the Abdomen

Too much air in the abdomen - the abdomen is distended (meteorism). Often increased intestinal gas (bloating).

Causes: high-fiber or flatulent foods (cabbage, legumes, onions, etc.), carbonated beverages, alcohol, coffee.), carbonated beverages, alcohol, coffee, swallowing air due to hasty eating or talking while eating, stress, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerance (such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease), food allergy, disturbance of the intestinal flora (e. intestinal flora (e.g. as a result of antibiotic therapy), pancreatic insufficiency, intestinal obstruction, intestinal cancer, cirrhosis of the liver; in infants: three-month colic.

  • Treatment: defoaming agents, digestive and antispasmodic agents, home remedies; if necessary, treatment of the underlying disease.

  • Prevention: avoid foods and drinks that are difficult to digest and cause flatulence (e.g. fatty foods, cabbage, beans, carbonated drinks), use spices that aid digestion (caraway, anise, marjoram, etc.), eat slowly and chew thoroughly, eat several small meals a day instead of a few large ones, get enough exercise (e.g. digestive walks, swimming, cycling).

Bloating: Causes

It is normal for some air to be trapped in the intestines and released through the anus in the form of gas. The unpleasant odor that can occur is also not unusual. It is caused by intestinal bacteria that produce sulfurous gases as they break down food waste.

However, people experience gas differently. Some people find even small amounts of gas in the abdomen bothersome, while others are less sensitive. Gas that occurs sporadically and without other symptoms is not clinically significant. In some cases, however, it may be a symptom of disease.

How gas is produced

Gas is produced primarily during digestion - especially when high-fiber foods or large amounts of carbohydrates or protein are broken down by intestinal bacteria. The microbes produce hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide, among other gases. Most of these gases enter the bloodstream and are exhaled through the lungs. The rest pass through the intestines.

What causes gas?

In the vast majority of cases, bloating is harmless and is caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices. But it can also be caused by medical conditions.

Off to the toilet!

Sometimes the solution to gas is as simple as going to the bathroom. An upcoming bowel movement can also push stinky air toward the outlet. The gas problem is solved in a matter of minutes.

Gassy foods and drinks

For example, cabbage, legumes, and onions can cause severe bloating. Foods that are too rich, fatty, or sweet also cause gas to build up in the abdomen. The enzymes in the stomach cannot break down the nutrients completely, and bacteria become active.

Carbonated drinks, alcohol and coffee can also cause bloating.

Another cause of gas is a sudden change in diet to whole grains, because the digestive tract has to adjust to the unfamiliar food. Much of the indigestible fiber in whole grains is broken down by bacteria in the colon. This produces waste products that can lead to bloating.

Swallowing air (aerophagy)

People who rush through their meals swallow about twice as much air as slow eaters - and it accumulates in the intestines.

Lack of exercise

People who are sedentary most of the day are also more prone to bloating: Lack of exercise makes the intestines slower and promotes bloating.

Psychological triggers

Ties in the stomach, stones in the abdomen - a negative mental state has a significant impact on digestion. Stress and anxiety disrupt digestion and can also cause bloating.

During pregnancy

Gas during pregnancy is not uncommon. The expectant mother's body produces the hormone progesterone. It relaxes the muscle tissue of the organs, including the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. This slows down digestion. Bloating may be more likely to occur.

Diseases as cause for bloating

Bloating Diseases Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Gas is rarely caused by a medical condition. These include food allergies and food intolerances. Very rarely do life-threatening illnesses cause bloating.

The most common medical causes of gas are:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome: IBS is a disorder of the digestive tract. In addition to bloating, there may be pain, cramping, discomfort, and changes in the stool.

  • Lactose intolerance: People with lactose intolerance cannot break down milk sugar (lactose) into its individual components. The lactose is then broken down by intestinal bacteria, which can cause gas, abdominal pain or cramps, and diarrhea.

  • Fructose intolerance: A transport protein carries sugar into the blood. If the amount is too high, symptoms are similar to those of lactose intolerance.

  • Sorbitol tolerance: Sorbitol (sorbitol, glucitol) is a sugar alcohol found primarily in certain fruits. As E 420, it is also added to many industrially produced or processed foods as a sweetener, humectant, and preservative. The symptoms of sorbitol intolerance are the same as those of lactose intolerance.

  • Gluten Intolerance (Celiac Disease): In gluten intolerance, the body becomes hypersensitive to gluten, the protein found in grains. Typical symptoms of this form of food intolerance include bloating, weight loss, chronic diarrhea, and nausea.

  • Food allergies: Some people are allergic to certain foods, such as nuts, fruits, or milk. Eating the allergen causes bloating, itching, swelling of the mouth, diarrhea, and eczema of the skin.

  • Disruption of intestinal flora: Bloating can also occur when the intestinal flora is out of balance, such as when taking antibiotics.

  • Pancreatic disease: When the pancreas is weak (pancreatic insufficiency), digestion of fatty foods is particularly difficult. Sufferers may experience bloating, abdominal distention, belching, severe cramping, and sometimes diarrhea.

  • Colorectal cancer: Colorectal cancer is a malignant growth of the colon. In addition to chronic bloating and irregular digestion, a change in the stool or blood in the stool may be a sign of colorectal cancer.

  • Cirrhosis of the liver: Severe bloating also occurs with cirrhosis of the liver. Other symptoms include fatigue, poor performance, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, and pressure under the right rib cage.

  • Intestinal obstruction: Intestinal obstruction usually presents initially with constipation, abdominal pain, and bloating. Causes may include paralysis of the bowel movement (peristalsis), scarring adhesions after surgery, Crohn's disease, and tumors or foreign bodies in the bowel.

Gas in babies and children

During the first three months of life, babies often suffer from gas. Gases cause the baby's stomach to swell painfully. In some cases, air simply gets into the digestive tract when a baby swallows. For this reason, babies should belch after drinking. This allows the air to escape from the stomach.

Food intolerances with babies and children as cause of bloating, flautulence and gas

Food intolerances can cause problems for both children and adults. Intolerance to lactose (lactose intolerance), fructose (fructose intolerance), sorbitol (sorbitol intolerance), or gluten (celiac disease), as well as pancreatic insufficiency, interfere with digestion and promote bloating.

Some babies cry excessively, especially in the early evening hours. The most common crying babies are between the ages of 0 and 3 months. These babies suffer from what is called colic. This outdated term clarifies what was once thought to be the cause of the excessive crying - a lot of air in the stomach, causing colicky abdominal pain and bloating.

It is now believed that the air in babies' bellies is the result, not the cause, of the many crying episodes (swallowing air during violent, prolonged crying!). Instead, the reason for the crying episodes is thought to be that the affected babies are still having trouble calming themselves. It is also possible that they are more sensitive than their peers and therefore more easily overwhelmed by environmental stimuli.

In any case, three-month colic is now considered a regulatory disorder (as are infant feeding and sleep disorders) - the affected infants have not yet made the developmental leap to regulate their behavior appropriately in certain contexts (self-soothing, crying, sleeping, etc.).

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What to do about bloating and gas?

Bloating Treatment Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Gas is usually harmless and will go away on its own. If you want to do something about it, you can try some home remedies. If they do not help, talk to your doctor about it.

Bloating: Home Remedies

There are several home remedies for gas and bloating. Tea, heat, and massage - find out what can help you here.

Home remedies have their limitations. If the symptoms persist for a long time, do not improve, or get worse, you should always consult a doctor.

Tea for gas

Several medicinal herbal teas can help relieve gas and bloating. Suitable medicinal plants include:

  • Anise
  • Cumin

  • Lemon balm

  • Sage

  • Fennel

  • Turmeric

  • Ginger Root

  • Camomile

  • Wormwood

You can also crush a mixture of 50 grams each of anise, fennel, and caraway, pour a teaspoonful of this mixture into 150 milliliters of boiling water, and let it steep for ten minutes with the lid on. Drink such a cup of tea several times a day for flatulence.

Heat for gas and bloating

Another anti-bloating remedy is heat. It relaxes the intestines. Use a hot-water bottle or a grain pillow (cherry pit pillow). To increase the effect, place a damp washcloth between the hot water bottle and your stomach (moist heat).

Abdominal compress with chamomile:

A hot and humid abdominal compress with chamomile has an analgesic, antispasmodic and relaxing effect. Pour half a liter of boiling water over one to two tablespoons of chamomile flowers, cover and steep for five minutes, and strain the plant parts.

Place a rolled up inner cloth in a second cloth, and roll the whole thing into a compress. Soak in hot tea with the ends hanging out, wring out. Place the inner cloth around the abdomen without folds. Wrap a dry cloth around it. Remove after 20 to 30 minutes and rest for half an hour. Do not use more than twice a day.

Potato wrap:

The warmth of a potato wrap (or potato pack) is relaxing, pain-relieving, and increases circulation. Boil potatoes until soft, drain and steam. Place on a cloth and mash with a fork. Place an intermediate towel on the abdomen, fold the overlay into a package and place it on top. Cover with an outer towel and leave for 30 to 60 minutes. Then rest.

If the heat becomes uncomfortable, remove the wrap or blanket immediately.

Tummy rubs and massages

Gentle massage is also a proven home remedy for gas.

Abdominal massage:

A gentle abdominal massage activates the natural movement of the intestines, releases tension, and often helps relieve gas. To do this, stroke the abdomen with both hands in a clockwise direction for several minutes, applying gentle pressure. This home remedy is especially good for children.

Stomach rub:

A stomach rub with diluted fennel, lemon balm, chamomile, or caraway oil warms, relieves cramps and pain, and stimulates digestion. Warm a few drops of the diluted oil in your hands and gently rub it into your abdomen in a clockwise motion for a few minutes. Do not apply too much pressure! Then cover well and rest for about half an hour. Repeat several times a day as needed.

Some essential oils can cause breathing difficulties in children and babies. Always check with your pediatrician before using.

Medications for gas

Several over-the-counter and prescription medications are available for severe gas. These medications may act as anti-foaming, antispasmodic, or digestive agents. They come in different forms, such as drops or capsules.


These reduce the surface tension of the foam bubbles in the food pulp that trap gases. This allows the gases to escape, be absorbed into the body, or pass through the anus. Defoamers are purely physical and do not enter the bloodstream. They should be taken with meals or in the evening before going to bed. Well-known members of this group are Simeticon and Dimethicone.

How defoamers work

Defoamers (detergents) lower the surface tension of gas bubbles. The foam dissolves and can now be more easily absorbed by the intestinal wall or released naturally.

Digestive enzymes:

Some people cannot digest foods containing fat, protein or carbohydrates properly. This is because the glandular cells of the digestive tract (in the stomach, pancreas and liver) do not produce enough of the appropriate digestive enzymes. Gas is the result. Medications that contain the missing enzymes can help. They should be taken with meals to help digest food.


 Antispasmodics such as butylscopolamine or mebeverine can help with bloating associated with colicky abdominal pain. They work by relaxing the intestinal muscles. Some of these medications are available by prescription.

Bloating: Prevention

In most cases, bloating is harmless and is caused by poor lifestyle and eating habits. Therefore, you should consider the following:

  • Avoid foods that cause gas: Every little gas makes a little noise, as the saying goes. Gas is usually caused by "explosive" foods. These should be avoided. Die-hard bean fans can also soak the beans for twelve hours and cook them for a long time before eating. This reduces the gas-forming properties. Care should also be taken with onions, cabbage, unripe fruit, freshly baked bread, coarse (heavy) whole grain bread, and carbonated beverages.

  • Light foods: Eat mostly foods that are easy to digest. High-fat, heavy and spendy meals are hard on the digestive tract and can easily lead to bloating.

  • Helpful spices: Use digestive spices such as caraway, anise, marjoram, or coriander in your cooking whenever possible to prevent bloating and indigestion.

  • Enjoy instead of gobble: Take your time eating, chew thoroughly, and do not talk while eating. This will help keep air out of your intestines. It is also better to eat several small meals throughout the day than a few large ones.

  • Bowels on the move: Exercise and sports get the bowels moving. If you don't like to exercise, at least try a short digestive walk after meals. Home remedies such as a hot water bottle, circular abdominal massages, and herbal teas such as caraway or chamomile tea can also help.

When should you see your doctor?

Gas, as mentioned above, is usually harmless. Only in rare cases is there a serious medical condition behind the annoying symptoms. In the following cases, however, you should see a doctor:

  • Bloating is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and changes in bowel movements.

  • They recur in certain situations.

  • It lasts for a long time.

What does the doctor do?

To determine the cause of your gas, your doctor will first ask you about your medical history: He or she will ask you to describe the bloating or meteorism in detail and ask about any other symptoms (abdominal pain, stool changes, nausea, etc.). He or she will also ask about your diet, lifestyle, and any underlying medical conditions.

The doctor will then palpate your abdomen and listen to bowel sounds with a stethoscope. If he or she suspects that an organic condition is causing the bloating, he or she will order further tests. These may include an ultrasound (sonography) of the abdomen, stool tests, or food intolerance tests such as lactose, fructose, or sorbitol tolerance tests.

If the results indicate that a treatable condition is causing the bloating, the doctor will recommend appropriate treatment.

Important tests

These tests will help determine the cause of your symptoms:

  • Medical history

  • Colonoscopy

  • H2 breath test

  • Stool examination

SIBO IBS Expert Call Free

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Your first step to a happier and healthier life.

Are you tired of feeling bloated, gassy and uncomfortable after every meal? Do you suffer from cramps, diarrhea or constipation?

Then talk to one of our Experts and let them guide you.