Belching, bloating, and flatulence; these digestive health woes are caused by excessive gas production—often a byproduct of gas-producing bacteria in the body or poorly digested food in the small intestine. The source of the distress can be food, drugs, or drink. Here's how to deal with these three digestive disturbances.


It's normal to swallow a little air while eating, but when too much ends up in your tummy, the body burps back the excess. Belching is usually the result of eating or drinking too fast; not chewing food thoroughly; poorly fitted dentures; postnasal drip; and even nervousness. Foods can also contribute to the discomfort.

What to Do:

  • Avoid carbonated beverages
  • Avoid chewing gum and hard candies
  • Eat food slowly and chew food completely
  • Simethicone (such as over-the-counter products like Alka-Seltzer or Maalox) may be helpful in relieving symptoms


Intestinal sensitivity to certain foods or irritable bowel syndrome may be to blame for abdominal bloating and discomfort.

What to Do:

The following foods may contribute to the uncomfortable feeling of bloating. Avoid them if possible:

  • Broccoli
  • Baked beans
  • Cabbage
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Cauliflower
  • Chewing gum
  • Hard candy


According to the American College of Gastroenterolgy, flatulence is gas created through bacterial action in the bowel and passed rectally. It is common to pass gas 10-18 times a day—which is usually not a cause for concern.

What to Do:

Flatulence that causes a noticeable and unpleasant smell is usually food related. Common offenders include:

Dairy products. The lactose in milk, and even in some medications, may bring on symptoms if your body doesn't produce the enzyme lactase to break it down.

Some vegetables. Baked beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage.

Certain starches. Wheat, oats, corn, and potatoes bother certain individuals. Rice is an easier-to-digest carbohydrate.

These are just a few strategies you can try if you suffer from digestive distress. See your doctor to determine if you are lactose intolerant, or perhaps have a food intolerance. Before your visit, keep a food diary for a week or two. Record what you eat and if whether or not you experienced symptoms afterwards. This can will help you and your doctor determine foods that are problematic for you.

Frank Gress, MD, reviewed this article.



Digestive Health Tips. American College of Gastroenterology. Web.