9 Unexpected Reasons You’re Gassy

Updated: Feb. 09, 2017

Cough syrup and poorly fitting dentures? Yep.


You’ve upped your running regimen

That upcoming half marathon you’ve been training for could be giving you gas. Studies have found that 30 to 90 percent of distance runners experience gastrointestinal problems, according to a summary of research published in Sports Medicine. The authors guessed that the high-impact mechanics of running—”a repetitive gastric jostling,” combined with swallowing air as a result of heavy breathing and drinking from water bottles, are the likely culprits of runners’ digestive distress. These are other bizarre things that exercise does to your body.


You’ve got a cough

It’s not the cough itself that makes you gassy, but the gasp of air you take before the cough. The artificial sweeteners in your cough syrup aren’t helping either. Check the label for ingredients like sorbitol or xylitol, which are non-absorbable and poorly digested. Try one of these natural cough remedies next time you’re sick.


Your sleep schedule is out of whack

Add this to your list of reasons to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day: Gastroenterologist Cynthia M. Yoshida, MD, told O, The Oprah Magazine that disrupting your sleep pattern activates a gland that slows the movement of water through the intestines. The result is extra water retention and bloating. Here are other normal reasons for stomach bloating (and when to worry).

iStock/Christine Glade

You’ve got an infection

Certain infections (think kidney and urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and other gastrointestinal infections) can all cause gassiness and discomfort. The antibiotics that treat them can add to the mess. Check with your doctor if you think your gas could be caused by something less innocent than too many beans and greens.


You’re swallowing a ton of air

Slurping through a straw, chewing wads of gum, and puffing on a cigarette (another reason to quit smoking!) all cause you to swallow air, which in turn builds up in the digestive tract and causes gas. Wearing poorly fitting dentures, sucking on hard candies, and eating too quickly can also contribute to your gassiness. Try one of these flatulence cures to get rid of gas naturally.


You take a daily aspirin

As many as 83 percent of patients treated with regular aspirin report at least some signs of epigastric distress (a broad term that describes pain above the naval and below the chest, including gas).


You’re way too stressed

Allowing yourself to sweat the small stuff could put a damper on your digestion. Excessive emotional stress can increase hydrochloric acid in the digestive tract and cause gas to build up in the intestines, nutritionist Miranda Malisani told huffingtonpost.ca. Anxiety can also cause you to take lots of short shallow breaths, which increases the amount of air you swallow. These are other signs stress is making you sick.


You rely on leftovers

Reheating a starchy food, such as pasta or a baguette, changes its molecular structure and makes it harder for your intestines to digest. “I have patients who say they only get tummy trouble or bloating when they eat pasta, rice, or potatoes in a restaurant. This is often because these foods have been reheated,” registered dietitian Luci Daniels told the Daily Mail. “If you do notice this, you don’t need to avoid these foods. Just make sure they’re freshly cooked.”

iStock/Lauri Patterson

You’re eating these foods

You probably already know that fatty foods, sugary foods, and carbonated beverages can give you gas. But unfortunately, many of the top offenders of gas production are healthy ones your body needs. Here’s Mayo Clinic’s list of common culprits: beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fruits (apples, peaches, and pears), lettuce, milk, onions, and whole-grain foods. And here are other surprising foods that give you gas. Now that’s not to say you should avoid these foods. Eliminate discomfort by eating slowly and staying hydrated.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest