Acid reflux and gas arise from problems in the digestive system and may share some causes. Diet, eating habits, and lifestyle factors play a role. The conditions may improve with lifestyle modifications.

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER), also called acid reflux or heartburn, is common. Most people, including children, experience it at some time. Excessive flatulence or gas is also common, and people with both conditions may suspect a link between them.

This article explains the connection between acid reflux and gas. It also provides more general information about the causes and prevention of both conditions before outlining treatment options.

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Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux (GER), is when stomach contents, including stomach acid, flow upward from the stomach into the esophagus. Acid reflux itself does not cause gas, but there are common underlying factors.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause both acid reflux and excess gas. People with IBS are four times more likely to have GERD than people without IBS. Excess gas is a common symptom of IBS alongside the following symptoms:

Diet may play a role in both conditions. People with conditions such as IBS, celiac disease, and lactose intolerance may experience more gas after eating certain trigger foods. Some foods can also lead to acid reflux, which we discuss below.

Passing gas through belching and flatulence is normal but having excess gas may have several causes.

One significant cause of excess gas is swallowing too much air. This can happen when someone does the following:

  • chews gum or sucks on hard candy
  • talks while eating
  • eats or drinks too fast, drinks fizzy drinks, or drinks with a straw
  • wears loose-fitting dentures

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), bacteria in the large intestine may be responsible for producing excess gas.

When someone eats certain carbohydrate foods, the stomach and small intestine have trouble digesting them. Undigested carbohydrates then pass to the large intestine, where bacteria break them down, creating gas.

Health conditions that cause gas include:

Read more about flatulence.

Acid reflux happens to most people once in a while. When it persists, it is often due to the esophageal sphincter weakening or relaxing. The esophageal sphincter prevents stomach contents from flowing back up the esophagus.

Persistent or chronic acid reflux is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It can lead to complications over time. GERD affects around 20% of adults in the United States.

The following factors may cause the esophageal sphincter to weaken, causing GERD:

Consuming certain foods and drinks may worsen GERD. They include:

  • acidic foods, such as citrus and tomatoes
  • alcohol
  • spicy foods
  • coffee and other caffeinated drinks
  • chocolate
  • high fat foods, such as processed meats and fried foods
  • mint

Read about foods to eat and foods to avoid with GERD.

There are steps that individuals can take to reduce gas. According to the NIH, these include:

  • not chewing gum or sucking on hard candy
  • not drinking fizzy drinks or drinking with a straw
  • not talking while eating or drinking
  • eating smaller meals more frequently rather than larger meals
  • eating slowly and while sitting
  • not smoking
  • if applicable, wearing properly fitted dentures
  • reducing intake of foods high in fiber, fructose, or lactose

A doctor or dietitian may recommend a person reduce their intake of certain foods that create excess gas. This varies and may be high fat foods for some people and fiber for others.

Reducing the following foods may help reduce gas:

  • certain fruits and fruit juices, such as peaches, pears, and apples
  • cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale
  • legumes, including beans, peas, and lentils
  • dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • whole grains, such as wheat
  • drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup, such as sports drinks, soda, and energy drinks
  • low sugar candy or gum containing sweeteners ending in “-ol,” such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol

Learn more about foods that cause gas and bloating.

According to a 2022 review, individuals may be able to prevent acid reflux by making lifestyle modifications, including:

  • eating a nutritious diet and avoiding trigger foods
  • achieving and maintaining a moderate weight
  • quitting smoking, if applicable
  • eating at least 3 hours before bedtime
  • elevating the head 6–8 inches during sleep using extra pillows or a foam wedge
  • talking with a doctor about adjusting medications that may cause acid reflux

Read more about how to stop acid reflux.

Acid reflux and gas can co-occur and may have common underlying causes. Diet plays a role, and foods that trigger gas may also trigger acid reflux for some people.

To prevent acid reflux, people can avoid foods that may worsen their symptoms, such as citrus, caffeine, and alcohol. Eating smaller meals and leaving at least 3 hours between eating and lying down may also help.

To prevent gas, people can reduce their intake of foods that may exacerbate symptoms, such as certain fruits and vegetables, dairy, and whole grains.

If lifestyle modifications do not improve symptoms of acid reflux and gas, a person should talk with a doctor or registered dietitian.