Can gas cause heart palpitations?

can gas cause Heart Palpitations

Whether can gas can cause palpitations or not is a common question among people. And the answer is yes. The presence of gas in every part of the gastrointestinal can cause heart palpitations.

Some of the most common situations that can cause the presence of gas in the digestive tract are as following:

 Eating and breathing

a .  Aerophagia- it is the voluntary or involuntary swallowing of air. Usually, it does not cause bloating, because the amount of air swollen is small, but in cases of severe air swallowing it causes bloating and heart palpitations. Aerophagia can happene when eating or drinking, chewing gum, mouth breathing, anxiety (hyperventilation) etc.

b. Eating food that produce gas when digested- Some foods like carbonated foods and beverages, high fiber foods (beans, cabbage, vegetable etc), excess amounts of alcohol,  sugar foods, medications (chemotherapy, antibiotics, laxatives, some pain killers like ibuprofen etc) can cause gas when digested due to the interaction with intestinal bacteria.

Stomach problems

a. Helicobacter Pylori infection- It is a bacteria that colonizes the stomach mucosa. In some specific situations, it can cause diseases like gastroesophageal reflux, peptic ulcers or gastritis, which, on the other hand, can cause gas and heart palpitations.

b. Dumping syndrome- it is a rapid emptying of the gastric content. It usually is caused by severe gastric resection surgery, but also can be a result of Zollinger- Ellison disease, diabetic neuropathy, metoclopramide etc.

c. Slow gut motility- it decreases the passage of the food bolus through the stomach. It may be caused by gastroparesis, anorexia nervosa, smooth muscle defects of the stomach etc.

Pancreas, Liver or Gallbladder affections.

a. Pancreas insufficiency- in this conditions the pancreatic enzymes are reduced or stopped from entering the small intestines. This causes indigestion and, therefore, gas formation which can lead to heart palpitations.

b. Biliary stasis- caused by numerous problems, such as gallstones, cholecystitis, gallbladder cancer, cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder), hepatitis, cirrhosis etc. It prevents the entering of bile ( which is responsible for lipid digestion ) in the intestines, causing thus indigestion. Indigestion can lead to gas- formation in the intestines, which can cause heart palpitations.

Intestine affections

a. Food poisoning- It is a gut disorder, usually resulting from consuming contaminated food with bacteria, viruses, parasites etc.

b. Fructose and Sorbitol malabsorption- it is the ability of the body to digest and absorb this carbohydrates, which results in gas- formation in intestines.

c. Celiac disease- a digestive disease, also commonly known as gluten intolerance. It is the inability of the body to digest and absorb foods containing gluten

Colon disorders

a. Irritable bowel syndrome- It is a functional disorder of an unknown origin of the bowl affecting bowel movements.

b. Constipation- the difficulty in passing stool throughout the bowel, associated with hard stools and sometimes painful bowel movement.

What is the mechanism?

The link between gas and palpitations is “vagus nerve”. It is a cranial nerve that connects the brain, the heart and the gastrointestinal tract. 

Vagus nerve sends signals from the body to the brain to let the brain know how the body is doing. Because it sends messages both ways ( from the body to the brain and from the brain to the body) it is also called mixed nerve.

The mechanism how can gas cause heart palpitations is as following:

1. The gas expands the stomach, which puts the vagus nerve under pressure. Being under pressure, it is unable to function properly, and thus fails to transmit neurotransmitters ( such as GABA etc)  that lower the heart rate and oppress stress responses.

2. Gas expands the stomach, by increasing its size. The increased size of stomach, is a stimulus that urges the heart to beat faster in order to send more blood to the stomach, to digest the eaten food. The accelerated heart rate is perceived as palpitations

What about the solution?

There are some very useful natural ways, to improve your digestive health and reduce gas forming and heart palpitations.

1. Ginger capsules- 500 milligram of ginger root taken three times  a day after the meal, improves your digestive health

2.   Burping- It eliminates the gas within the stomach, and, therefore, reduces the stomach pressure over the vagus nerve. Simethicone is a drug which prompts burping.

3.  Change position- Changing position might take the pressure off your stomach. Experiment with the positions until finding one that works best for you.

4. Deep breathing- Breathing deep relaxes and lifts anxiety situations, which is one of the causes of gas- formation.

5.   Diet- Eliminate the intake of the foods that cause gas- formation. In case of having gluten intolerance or fructose intolerance, do not eat foods containing them.

6.   Keep your bowels moving- In case of constipation, take precautions to eliminate it, such as eating liquid foods, exercising, laxatives etc.

In case of suffering from diseases that affect pancreas, liver of gallbladder, consult with your doctor. Treating the underlying disease will also treat gas and heart palpitations

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