Gassy poop can happen when your digestive system is backed up from constipation or you have diarrhea caused by food intolerance or infection. It can also simply occur when you eat certain foods.

Digestive gas is typical and common. Air that you swallow when you eat and gases that are released as part of digestive processes have to come out somewhere, and they often come out as either burps or farts.

But sometimes gas can build up to high levels in your digestive tract and come out while you’re on the toilet. Excessive gas during a bowel movement can be uncomfortable or even painful, especially when it’s paired with constipation or diarrhea.

Read on to learn more about the possible causes of gassy poop, when to contact a medical professional, and what to do if it disrupts your life.

Gassy poop can have several possible causes. It can be a typical part of digestion because of the way your gut bacteria break down food.

But it can also result from dysfunction in your bowels related to constipation or diarrhea. It can also happen when you eat certain foods or if you don’t have a very active lifestyle.

Excessive gas and hard stools or constipation

Hard, dry stools that happen because of constipation travel slowly through your colon and often block the movement of other substances, including gas.

The longer a hard stool blocks gas in your colon, the more it causes gas to build up to high pressures. This is why you might sometimes get abdominal pains or muscle cramps when you’re constipated, as the walls of your colon expand from excess gas.

When you finally pass a hard stool, much of this gas may be released all at once. It can be uncomfortable or painful as gas and stool start to move more quickly through the colon.

What causes lots of gas and loose or watery stools?

Lots of gas and loose or watery stools may have several possible causes:

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance happens when your body can’t properly break down lactose in dairy products. Diarrhea and gas are two of the most common symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a set of inflammatory symptoms that affect your digestive tract. IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) is one type that can cause gas and diarrhea together.

Food poisoning

Eating foods contaminated with toxic bacteria or fungus can result in food poisoning. This may cause digestive symptoms like excessive gas and diarrhea as your immune system responds to potentially infectious microbes.


Rotavirus is an infection that’s most common in children younger than age 5 years. It spreads through contact with fecal matter or objects that contain it. Gas and diarrhea are common symptoms of a rotavirus infection.

Excessive gas and typical bowel movements

Excessive gas doesn’t always happen when you have constipation or diarrhea.

Some other causes of excessive gas when you have typical bowel movements include:

  • Swallowing air: This may happen if you eat too fast, chew gum, or smoke. Any gas that isn’t released in burps can travel to your intestines and come out when you poop. The medical term is “aerophagia.”
  • Undigested foods: Foods that aren’t broken down in the stomach or small intestine, such as carbohydrates, might get digested mostly in your colon and release gases like methane during a bowel movement

Some foods are more likely to cause a lot of gas that isn’t released until the foods are digested in your colon. This is especially the case with carb-rich foods known as high FODMAP foods. The term “FODMAP” stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.

Common high FODMAP foods include:

  • processed wheat
  • garlic
  • onions
  • fruits like apples, cherries, and pears
  • vegetables like asparagus, beets, and leeks
  • legumes like beans, cashews, and soybeans
  • sweeteners like agave syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and honey
  • dairy products like buttermilk and yogurt

Contact a medical professional if you experience any of the following along with excessive gas:

Here are some home treatments for gassy poop that you can try:

  • get some activity or exercise to help move gas through your colon
  • massage your abdomen to relax your muscles and promote intestinal muscle contractions
  • do yoga for constipation that can help gas move through the colon
  • have anise or fennel tea that can help reduce gas
  • try a low FODMAP diet by lowering or eliminating high FODMAP foods or beverages
  • drink half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in water
  • drink a small amount of apple cider vinegar

Some over-the-counter medications that might help include:

  • enzyme preparations taken before you eat, such as Lactaid or Beano
  • adsorbent simethicone products, like Gas-X, that can break up bubbles in gas

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about gassy bowel movements.

What can cause lots of gas when I can’t poop?

When you’re constipated, stool can get dry and hard in your colon.

This causes the stool to move slowly through your colon and block gas from getting through and being released in farts. When gas can’t escape, it can either make you feel bloated or be released in large amounts during a bowel movement.

When should I be concerned about excessive gas?

It’s best to contact a doctor when gas causes you a lot of pain or other symptoms like chest pain, vomiting, weight loss, or blood in your stool.

Excessive gas along with diarrhea or constipation that lasts for more than a few days may also be a sign of an underlying condition.

A short bout of gassy poop isn’t much to worry about. But consider seeing a doctor if your symptoms, such as pain or blood in your stool, last for longer than a few days.