Can stomach gas cause heart palpitations?

Can Stomach Gas Cause Heart Palpitations

Although not a common occurrence, the relation between stomach gas and heart palpitation is possible. 

In some cases, when having gas in the stomach, people have a false sensation as if something is happening with the heart, as if they have palpitations, when in fact there is nothing wrong. But, in other occasions, gas in the stomach can indeed trigger heart palpitations.

Following are the most common situations that can cause the presence of gas in the stomach.

1.   Eating foods that produce gas when digested- some kind of foods can cause excess amounts of gas when digested, due to the interaction with intestinal bacteria. This can cause the presence of gas In the intestines, as well as in  the stomach.

The most common foods that produce gas when digested are high fiber foods(beans, vegetables, cabbages etc), carbonated foods and beverages, excess amounts of alcohol, foods containing sugar, some medications(pain killers such as ibuprofen, chemotherapy, antibiotics, some laxatives etc)

2.   Aerophagia- aerophagia is the voluntary or the involuntary swallowing of air. It can happen while eating, drinking, mouth breathing, chewing gum, when anxious (hyperventilation) etc.

Usually aerophagia does not cause gas in stomach because the amount of the gas swollen is small, but in some cases, especially in hysterical or in people with mental diseases, it can be one of the most common causes of gas in the stomach.

3.   Infection with Helicobacter Pylori- Helicobacter Pylori is a bacteria that colonizes the stomach mucosa. In some situation, it can cause diseases such as gastritis, peptic ulcer and gastroesophageal reflux which can cause gas in the stomach.

4.   Dumping syndrome- it Is a situation caused by the rapid emptying of the gastric content. Most commonly it is a result of a severe surgically resection of the stomach, but can also be a result of Zollinger-Ellison disease, diabetic neuropathy etc.

Slow gut motility- it is a condition in which the time of the passage of the food bolus through the stomach is increased. It can be caused by various conditions, such as gastroparesis, anorexia nervosa, defects of the stomach smooth muscle etc.

Why?


The link between stomach gas and heart palpitations is the Vagus nerve.

The Vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that extends all the way from the base of the scull to the abdomen. It controls the function of the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract, and the heart. Through its fibers, the information can travel both ways, from these organs to the brain and vice versa.

The presence of the gas causes the stomach to expand, by increasing its size. The expanded stomach puts the Vagus nerve under pressure, by stimulating so it. This is a harmless stimulation which can cause temporary disruption of the heartbeats which is perceived as a palpitation.

After each meal, the stomach expands. This is a stimulus that causes the heart to beat faster In order to send more blood to the stomach to digest the eaten food.

The expansion of the stomach by the presence of gas is mistakenly perceived by the heart as stimuli to send more blood to the stomach. The accelerated heartbeat is perceived as a palpitation.

Best ways to reduce stomach gas and ease heart palpitations


There are some easy and effective ways that help in reducing stomach gas and easing heart palpitations.

1.   Burping- burping eliminates the gas within the stomach and, therefore, reduces the stomach pressure over the Vagus nerve. If finding it difficult to burp on your own, you could use Simethicone, which is drug that prompts burping.

2.    Reduce the intake of foods that create gas when digested

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

4.   Nose breathing- if anxious, try breathing through the nose and not through the mouth. Consider even some relaxing techniques such as yoga, breathing therapies etc.

Ginger capsules- Ginger improves the digestive health. Try to take 500 mg of ginger root three times a day after the meals.

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