What Causes Gas, Bloating and Severe Heartburn?

Gas, bloating and severe heartburn can cause problems separately. The conditions become painful and debilitating when experienced at the same time, especially if symptoms occur frequently. Gas, bloating and heartburn often develop from similar causes that people can address, reduce or eliminate to bring about relief. Underlying problems may also cause symptoms. Doctors can evaluate and pinpoint those problems for treatment to reduce or eradicate the conditions.


Eating fatty foods can cause bloating because the fat delays emptying of the stomach, MayoClinic.com notes. A sensation of fullness follows. Fatty or fried foods may also bring on increased episodes of heartburn. Drinking carbonated beverages can cause gas, bloating and severe heartburn. Citrus fruits may cause heartburn. Fruits, including apples, peaches and pears, can lead to gas and bloating. Gas that does not exit the body through belching or flatulence builds up in the stomach to result in bloating. Chewing gum frequently can increase episodes of gas because of swallowing too much air. Eating hard candy also contributes to the gas process from excessive air swallowing. Foods containing carbohydrates cause gas and bloating and increase the risk of severe heartburn; foods may include baked beans, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Lifestyle Experiences

Stress and anxiety can increase bouts of gas, bloating and heartburn. Being overweight of obese triggers heartburn, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Lack of activity also contributes to gas and bloating. Exercise, especially after eating, may reduce episodes of gas. Eating slowly helps reduce bouts of gas and bloating and also reduces the risk of heartburn. Eating during stressful periods or when hurrying from one place to another interferes with digestion to increase episodes of gas, bloating and heartburn. Smoking also contributes to stomach and esophageal difficulties. It interferes with the production of saliva and increases the swallowing of excess air to cause gas and heartburn. Smoking also relaxes muscles in the esophagus to promote heartburn.

Health Disorders

Certain medical conditions can cause gas, bloating and severe heartburn. A gastrointestinal infection or blockage produces gas and bloating. Irritable bowel syndrome causes abdominal pain or cramping, bowel problems, gas and bloating. Conditions called celiac disease and lactose intolerance interfere with absorption of certain food contents during the digestive process, causing gas and bloating. Digestive problems also result in frequent heartburn that can become severe. Changes to intestinal bacteria because of certain medications or constipation increase the risk of gas. Peptic ulcers, hiatal hernia and gastritis may cause heartburn.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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