Intestinal Gas (Belching, Bloating, Flatulence) (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Intestinal gas facts
- What causes belching or burping?
- What causes bloating?
- What causes flatulence (gas)?
- What are the causes of intermittent abdominal bloating/distention?
- Which specialties of doctors treat excessive gas, belching, bloating, and flatulence?
- How are the causes of belching, bloating/distention, and flatulence evaluated?
- What is the treatment for excessive intestinal gas caused by medical conditions?
- What natural or home remedies help soothe and get rid of intestinal gas?
- What over-the-counter (OTC) products are available to soothe and cure excessive gas?
- What foods cause intestinal gas?
- What's new in intestinal gas?
What is the treatment for excessive intestinal gas caused by medical conditions?
The treatment of excessive intestinal gas depends on the cause.
- If maldigestion and/or malabsorption is caused by disease of the intestinal lining, the specific disease must be identified, most commonly through a small bowel biopsy. Then, treatment can be targeted for that condition. For example, if celiac disease is found on the biopsy, a gluten-free diet can be started.
- If there is a physical obstruction to the emptying of the stomach or passage of food, liquid, and gas through the small intestine, then surgical correction of the obstruction is required. If the obstruction is functional, medications that promote activity of the muscles of the stomach and small intestine are given. Examples of these medicines are erythromycin or metoclopramide (Reglan).
- Bacterial overgrowth of the small bowel usually is treated with antibiotics. However, this treatment is frequently only temporarily effective or not effective at all. When antibiotics provide only a temporary benefit, it may be necessary to treat patients intermittently or even continuously with antibiotics. If antibiotics are not effective, probiotics (for example, lactobacillus) or prebiotics can be tried although their use in bacterial overgrowth has not been studied. This condition may be difficult to treat.
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