Gas and Bloating

Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2006 Sep;2(9):654-662.


Gaseous symptoms including eructation, flatulence, and bloating occur as a consequence of excess gas production, altered gas transit, or abnormal perception of normal amounts of gas within the gastrointestinal tract. There are many causes of gas and bloating including aerophagia, luminal obstructive processes, carbohydrate intolerance syndromes, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, diseases of gut motor activity, and functional bowel disorders including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Because of the prominence of gaseous complaints in IBS, recent investigations have focused on new insights into pathogenesis and novel therapies of bloating. The evaluation of the patient with unexplained gas and bloating relies on careful exclusion of organic disease with further characterization of the underlying condition with directed functional testing. Treatment of gaseous symptomatology should be targeted to pathophysiologic defects whenever possible. Available therapies include lifestyle alterations, dietary modifications, enzyme preparations, adsorbents and agents which reduce surface tension, treatments that alter gut flora, and drugs that modulate gut transit.

Keywords: Eructation; bacterial overgrowth; belching; breath tests; functional bowel disorders; gastrointestinal transit.