Diagnosis of Gas in the Digestive Tract

How do doctors diagnose the cause of gas?

Doctors may diagnose the causes of excess gas or increased gas symptoms with a medical history and physical exam.

If your doctor thinks you may have a condition that causes excess gas or increases gas symptoms, he or she may order more tests.

Medical history

For a medical history, your doctor will ask about

  • your symptoms
  • your eating habits
  • prescription and over-the-counter medicines you take
  • current and past medical conditions

Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of the food you eat and when your gas symptoms occur. Your diary may show specific foods that are causing gas. Reviewing your diary may also help your doctor find out if you have more gas or are more sensitive to normal amounts of gas.

Bowl of strawberries on desk on top of a blank page of a journal book.
Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of the food you eat and when your gas symptoms occur.

Physical exam

During a physical exam, a doctor typically

  • checks for bloating or swelling in your abdomen
  • listens to sounds within your abdomen using a stethoscope
  • taps on your abdomen to check for tenderness or pain
July 2016
Share

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.