Swallowed air accumulating in the stomach can either move up and lead to belching or move into the small intestine and pass out as rectal gas (flatus).
Meanwhile, bloating refers to the uncomfortable sense of fullness in the upper abdomen. This can be due to the accumulation of gas and/or undigested food in the digestive tract. Gas that accumulates in the digestive tract can result in abdominal pain which may also radiate up to the chest.
Here are some tips to prevent accumulation of unwanted gas in the abdomen that may lead to belching and/or bloating:
1. Avoid intake of carbonated beverages such as soda and beer.
2. Avoid intake of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, beans, and bran; these vegetables contain difficult to digest carbohydrates which are converted by the gut bacteria to gas.
3. If you are lactose intolerant, intake of milk and other dairy foods should be avoided; non-dairy alternatives such as soy or almond milk may be taken instead.
4. Avoid sugar-free chewing gum or hard candies; these food items may contain mannitol or sorbitol as sweeteners which can cause flatulence.
5. Keep a symptom diary to track down and eliminate the food items that could be triggering your belching and bloating.
6. If weak abdominal muscles are suspected as a possible cause of abdominal distension, abdominal-tensing exercises may be helpful.
If symptoms fail to adequately respond to the non-medical strategies mentioned above, a consultation with your doctor should be sought for prompt diagnosis and management with appropriate medications.
Drugs such as simethicone with digestive enzyme preparations, charcoal tablets, prokinetics, antispasmodics and antibiotics may also be considered depending on the assessment of your doctor.
*No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor.