Does Chewing Gum Cause Intestinal Bloating?

Bubble gum machines
A large machine filled with chewing gum. (Image: VitaSerendipity/iStock/Getty Images)

It may surprise you, but chewing gum can cause intestinal bloating and gas. Bloating is the result of trapped gas in your digestive system that can cause your waist line to increase up to three inches, according to ABC’s Good Morning America. If you notice that you’re bloated after chewing gum, stop chewing gum for a few days to see if the bloating subsides. Continual bloating may be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or bowel obstruction.

Intestinal Bloating

Bloating is a natural and common result of swallowing air or increased gas created during digestion. Bloating commonly develops while food is being digested, which releases harmless gases. Bloating that occurs when you chew gum is the result of increased swallowing of air, which becomes trapped in your stomach and small intestines. Most gas is expelled from the body through belching or flatulence, which should cause your bloating to improve, according to the University of Michigan Health System.

Chewing Gum

Avoid chewing gum if you are prone to bloating. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse states that when you chew gum you’re increasing your risk of inhaling extra air into your digestive system. When you swallow air, the nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide enter your small intestines, placing pressure on the abdomen and surrounding areas. Digestive gases mix with the swallowed air, causing increased pressure.

Treatment Options

MedlinePlus.com advises that you implement lifestyle and dietary changes to avoid bloating. Stop chewing gum, avoid carbonated beverages, do not eat too fast, stop smoking and avoid foods that are considered gas-forming, such as beans, lentils, broccoli, turnips and cabbage. If bloating is related to constipation, discuss the use of a fiber supplement to alleviate your symptoms. Simethicone is an over-the-counter medication that causes smaller gas bubbles to form into a larger gas bubble, making it easier to pass gas.

Points to Consider

If you stop chewing gum and you continue to experience bloating, you may have irritable bowel syndrome. IBS is a digestive disorder that mainly affects your colon, resulting in excessive bloating, abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea. Crohn’s disease is a digestive condition that results in chronic inflammation in the lining of your intestines. Eating or drinking can trigger symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as abdominal cramping, bloating and pain. Your doctor will be able to provide you with a clinical diagnosis.

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