Can Fiber Give You Gas? Ask Dr. Mark Babyatsky

Q: I was taking a fiber supplement to help lower my cholesterol and lose a little weight, but for some reason after a few weeks I started belching a lot. Even though I stopped taking it, I still wake up with some gas. What should I do?
— Julissa, Florida
Dr. Mark Babyatsky - Excessive Gas Center A:  Unfortunately, fiber products can increase bloating, belching, or flatulence, even though they benefit many patients with irritable bowel syndrome or constipation. Fiber increases the amount of gas in the colon by altering the bacteria that live there to the type of bacteria that produce gas, particularly methane gas.

Recent studies show that fiber products containing psyllium may slow the passage of gas through the rectum. If you want to keep taking a fiber supplement, start at low doses of a psyllium fiber product, such as a single teaspoon mixed with water each day, and gradually increase the dose. This will lead to a steady adjustment and sometimes better tolerance of the fiber products. You can also try a fiber product that does not contain psyllium to see if you can tolerate it better.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Digestive Health Center.

Have digestive problems? Find a gastroenterologist near you.
Last Updated: 07/09/2007
Expert Mark Babyatsky, MD, answers your frequently asked questions on excessive gas causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, medications, management, and resources. Dr. Babyatsky is a gastroenterologist, professor of medicine, and chairman of the Samuel L. Bronfman Department of Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

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