Why Am I So Gassy In The Morning? Causes & Tips 2024

Heather Freudenthal
Dr. Maya Frankfurt, PhD
Have you ever asked yourself, why am I so gassy in the morning? Learn the most common reasons for morning gas and natural remedies.
why am i so gassy in the morning
Uncover the reason you’re so gassy in the mornings. Photo: Ba Le Ho

There is no shame in asking, “Why am I so gassy in the morning?” Experiencing gas in the morning is a common experience. There are several factors that can contribute to it, many of which are not serious and easy to resolve naturally.

In this article, we will explore eight common causes of excess morning gas, and provide suggestions for alleviating morning bloating and gas. You will understand which causes are the result of normal hormonal shifts, which can be remedied with dietary adjustments, and which may warrant the attention of a medical professional.

Why Am I So Gassy In The Morning?

It’s not uncommon for gas to build up overnight, leaving you feeling particularly gassy first thing in the morning. Many factors, from diet to undiagnosed digestive conditions, to hormonal fluctuations can cause morning gas. This article covers eight of the most common causes:

  1. You are taking certain medications.
  2. You have a gut condition or infection.
  3. You are getting your period.
  4. You don’t drink enough water.
  5. You ate gassy foods the night before.
  6. You have an underlying medical condition.
  7. You are swallowing too much air.
  8. You are sleeping in the wrong position.

Why Am I So Gassy In The Morning?

why am I so gassy in the morning
Gas can build up in the body overnight. Photo: Shutterstock

Several factors can explain why you’re so gassy in the morning. While these factors can contribute to gas any time of day, often our sleeping, eating, and hormonal patterns can cause gas to be more pronounced in the morning.

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You Are Taking Certain Medications

Excess gas can be a side effect of medications such as antibiotics, fiber supplements, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Antibiotics which kill bacteria,[1] can kill the good bacteria along with the bad. This alteration to the gut microbiota can cause gastrointestinal distress. In contrast, fiber supplements increase beneficial bacteria in the gut, but can also cause temporary gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to cause gastric ulcers or bleeding.[2] This disruption in the gastrointestinal tract can lead to other digestive disturbances. While experiencing morning gas may be unpleasant, do not change or stop any medication that you’re taking without consulting your doctor first.

You Have A Gut Condition Or Infection 

A variety of gut[3] microbiome irregularities can lead to excess gas. Some gut conditions that can produce gas include lactose intolerance, fructose intolerance, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and constipation.

You’re Getting Your Period  

The endocrine and digestive systems are highly responsive to one another. It is not uncommon for women to experience gas before their period and other changes in their bowel habits during various stages of their menstrual cycle.[4]

A few days before bleeding, the uterus produces prostaglandins, chemicals that stimulate the uterine muscles to contract which allows it to shed its lining. If prostaglandins end up outside the uterus, they can have similar contracting and shedding effects on the bowels, leading to changes in bowel movements and gas production.

Hormonal shifts in women are often behind excessive gas, not only during menses but during pregnancy, as well. The increased progesterone[5] during pregnancy can cause intestinal muscles to relax, leading to more gas.

You Don’t Drink Enough Water 

If you wonder, why am I so gassy first thing in the morning as opposed to during the day, it may be due to dehydration that can happen overnight. Not drinking enough water during the day can lead to dehydration, which can cause constipation[6] and gas. While we sleep, we can become even more dehydrated, which is why first thing in the morning, our bodies crave water.

Increasing fluids during the day can prevent dehydration, constipation, and gas and improve overall gastrointestinal function.

You Ate Gassy Foods The Night Before 

You may wonder, why am I always so gassy in the morning? It may have something to do with what you ate the night before. Cruciferous vegetables with a high fiber content are common culprits. However, an individual’s specific food sensitivities will dictate what is gassy for them.

For example, people with celiac disease[7] must avoid gluten because exposure to gluten can cause a host of gastrointestinal symptoms. Those with lactose intolerance[8] should avoid lactose-containing foods, as consuming lactose can cause them to produce more gas.

If you are not sure what foods are causing gas, it may be helpful to keep a food diary.

You Have An Underlying Medical Condition

Gas can be a symptom of almost any gastrointestinal disorder, whether it is celiac disease,  irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. However, there can be other, coexisting conditions or bodily processes that may contribute to morning gas, such as thyroid disorders[9] that alter metabolism or elevated cortisol patterns that disrupt sleep patterns.

Everyone has a cortisol awakening response,[10] the natural elevation of cortisol that happens in the morning as part of our circadian rhythm. In healthy individuals, the cortisol awakening response should increase cortisol levels within one hour of waking[11] and should fall between 10 and 20 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL).

However, when cortisol levels rise higher and quicker than normal, as in the case for some individuals with IBS,[12] this can lead to further symptoms and disturbances in the digestive system, such as excessive gas.

You’re Swallowing Too Much Air

You can breathe in air even while you’re eating. If you swallow too much air, it can cause gas to build up inside the body. A way to prevent abdominal bloating is to slow down when you eat, chew your food well, and avoid carbonated beverages.

You’re Sleeping In The Wrong Position

Sleeping positions can either help or inhibit digestion while sleeping. For example, sleeping on your left side[13] is gravitationally more advantageous for acid reflux, whereas sleeping with your body in an outstretched position can encourage air to move out of the body for overnight gas relief.

What Can You Do To Decrease Morning Gas? 

why am I so gassy in the morning
There are many ways to remove morning gas. Photo: Shutterstock

There are many ways to remove gas instantly so that you can stop feeling bloated in the morning, as well as at night. Passing gas is one way. You can help initiate this by stretching, going for a walk, or drinking water to help flush out the body.

You can also take digestive enzymes or natural gas relievers, such as peppermint[14] or fennel[15] tea. Reducing stress can regulate your cortisol awakening response so that cortisol levels rise to within normal ranges in the mornings but this can take some time. In extreme cases of chronic bloating, a doctor may prescribe medication or test for any underlying medical conditions.

Conclusion

Gas can build up in the body for a variety of reasons. Due to the timing of sleep and digestion, it’s common to feel gassy first thing in the morning. This may be due to what you ate the night before, elevated cortisol levels, improper sleeping positions, hormone activity, or dehydration.

In most cases, gas can be easily remedied at home, however, if you have chronic bloating and gas, alert your medical provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I fart so much in the morning?

When we sleep, our body is not digesting at full capacity, nor is it focused on moving out air. However, when we wake up, our body can make up for lost time and start processing any trapped air that has built up overnight. Elevated cortisol levels in the morning may also play a role.

How do I stop being gassy in the morning?

The best ways to prevent excess morning gas are to drink adequate water to prevent dehydration, move your body to encourage gas movement, limit foods that increase gas production, reduce stress, and sleep in positions that allow trapped air to leave the body.

Why do I fart so much and it smells?

Frequent, foul-smelling gas could be indicative of having eaten too many high-fiber foods or it may be a side effect of certain medications. If you are not taking any medications and you have adjusted your diet but are still experiencing foul-smelling gas, tell your doctor, as this may indicate a gut infection or another gastrointestinal condition.

How do I get gas out of my stomach?

Gas has to move out of the digestive tract and this can be done via physical movement, such as stretching, or with the help of gas-relieving oral remedies. These remedies could be natural, such as fennel or peppermint, or over-the-counter gas-relieving medications. You can also try to pass gas or wait for the gas to dissipate on its own.

What does trapped gas feel like?

Trapped gas can feel like a sharp or dull pain, an aching sensation, or a feeling of tightness or fullness in the stomach or other parts of the midsection. Some describe the sensation as a “knot” in their stomach.

Resources

  1. CDC (2021). What You Should Know About Antibiotics. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/q-a.html#:~:text=What%20is%20an%20antibiotic%3F.
  2. Tai, D. and McAlindon, M.E. (2021). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the gastrointestinal tract. Clinical Medicine, [online] 21(2), pp.131–134. doi:https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmed.2021-0039.
  3. and, D. (2023). Symptoms & Causes of Gas in the Digestive Tract. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gas-digestive-tract/symptoms-causes#:~:text=Small%20intestinal%20bacterial%20overgrowth%20is,cause%20diarrhea%20and%20weight%20los.
  4. Bernstein, M., Graff, L.A., Avery, L., Palatnick, C., Parnerowski, K. and Targownik, L.E. (2014). Gastrointestinal symptoms before and during menses in healthy women. BMC Women’s Health, [online] 14(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6874-14-14.
  5. C Frias Gomes, Sousa, M., Inês Lourenço, Martins, D. and Torres, J. (2018). Gastrointestinal diseases during pregnancy: what does the gastroenterologist need to know? Annals of Gastroenterology. [online] doi:https://doi.org/10.20524/aog.2018.0264.
  6. and, D. (2023). Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Constipation. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation/eating-diet-nutrition.
  7. Medlineplus.gov. (2023). Celiac Disease. [online] Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/celiacdisease.html.
  8. and, D. (2023). Symptoms & Causes of Lactose Intolerance. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/lactose-intolerance/symptoms-causes.
  9. Kyriacou, A., McLaughlin, J. and Syed, A.A. (2015). Thyroid disorders and gastrointestinal and liver dysfunction: A state of the art review. European Journal of Internal Medicine, [online] 26(8), pp.563–571. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2015.07.017.
  10. Steptoe, A. (2016). Cortisol Awakening Response. Elsevier eBooks, [online] pp.277–283. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-800951-2.00034-0.
  11. Powell, D. and Wolff Schlotz (2012). Daily Life Stress and the Cortisol Awakening Response: Testing the Anticipation Hypothesis. PLOS ONE, [online] 7(12), pp.e52067–e52067. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0052067.
  12. Nagisa Sugaya, Izawa, S., Saito, K., Kentaro Shirotsuki, Nomura, S. and Shimada, H. (2015). Effect of prolonged stress on the adrenal hormones of individuals with irritable bowel syndrome. Biopsychosocial Medicine, [online] 9(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s13030-015-0031-7.
  13. Person, E., Rife, C., Freeman, J., Clark, A.J. and Castell, D.O. (2015). A Novel Sleep Positioning Device Reduces Gastroesophageal Reflux. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, [online] 49(8), pp.655–659. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/mcg.0000000000000359.
  14. NHS Choices (2023). Peppermint oil – Brand names: Apercap, Colomint, Colpermin, Mintec. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/peppermint-oil/#:~:text=About%20peppermint%20oil,-Peppermint%20oil%20is&text=It%20helps%20relieve%20stomach%20cramps,a%20pharmacy%20or%20a%20shop.
  15. Chen, B., He, Y., Xiao, Y., Guo, D., Liu, P., He, Y., Sun, Q., Jiang, P., Liu, Z. and Liu, Q. (2020). Heated fennel therapy promotes the recovery of gastrointestinal function in patients after complex abdominal surgery: A single-center prospective randomized controlled trial in China. Surgery, [online] 168(5), pp.793–799. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surg.2020.05.040.

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