Heart Palpitations and Gas
by alproblems, Feb 27, 2010
Hi all. I'm in my mid 30s. For about 10 years I've been having digestive problems which cause a high production of gas in my stomach and intestines. I've also been experiencing heart palpitations or flutters that are like extra beats that sometimes occur every other beat. The palps mostly went away years ago but recently came back.  I know that it's caused by my digestive problem because like many others I've gone to hospital with symtoms and had just about every test done and the results are clean on everything. You name it, I've done CT scans, ultrasound, ecg and blood tests. The docs never seemed too concerned about it. I've been reading all the other threads about this here at medhelp and I'm surprised how many others are having the same kind problem.

I wanted to start my own thread in hopes of finding out what causes these digestive/gas problems. Also I thought another thread may add more weight to this issue. I've been reading a little about how bacteria plays a role in balancing the digestive system so I was wondering how I could get everything balanced again. Surely there must be tests. I mean are there tests that can show if your digestive system is unbalanced? I've heard about those yogurts. I've been thinking about yogurts that have "friendly" bacteria but I'm not a doctor and don't want to take things that might end up making things worse. I would appreciate any help or advice about what I should do.
Related Discussions
Member Comments (9)
by ggreg, Feb 28, 2010
Well, indigestion and gas and bloating and resulting heart palpations can come from a variety of problems in the digestive tract.  But to answer your basic questions about bacteria in the digestive tract and balancing the flora in the intestines, I can tell you that if a person takes certain medications, like antibiotics, it can cause constipation in a person.  This is because antibiotics kill ALL bacteria, both good and bad, and so to reintroduce the "good" bacteria, this is where the role of probiotics in Activia yogurt or Acidophilus milk comes into play.  These are completely safe and are available in all grocery stores.  Whenever I finish a round of antibiotics, I'll drink that kind of milk, to hurry up the restoration of good flora in my guts.  The good bacteria helps break down waste.

As for indigestion in general and your symptoms, gas can come from several things, and again, one is constipation, where foods stay in the guts too long and begin to give off gases, which is the normal result of rotting food.  You yourself would know if you are constipated, which if you don't pass waste on a regular basis, then the way to prevent that is to drink plenty of water, eat lots of fiber foods, and exercise regularly.  Also, do not eat in a hurry or you'll gulp in too much air, and chew you food thoroughly or it'll just sit in your bowel whilst the intestines have to work very hard to break down chunks of food.  One more thing that causes gas is, if you eat whole fruits, like melon or strawberries, only eat them as snacks or only right before a meal.  Like breakfast, you eat the melon first, and then eat your regular meal.  If you eat fruits as a desert, you might get gas.  

Now, as to balance, aside from the above-mentioned good flora in the guts, there's such a thing as the pH of a person's body, whether they're too acidic or too alkaline.  Like if you drank a ton of juice, your pH would be acidic.  This is not what you want.  There's a pH test you can take several different times, some drugstores have it, where you put a little paper on your tongue, and by the color it changes to, you compare it to the chart that comes with the kit, and it'll tell you your pH number and what it means.  To adjust your pH, find out which foods have a lot of acid and reduce those, and same thing with alkaline.

In your situation, there's also a good chance you have an intestinal bacteria.  That can cause all sorts of annoying digestive problems, so a doc can do a stool sample and draw blood, and see if you've got an infection or bacteria going on in your guts, and he can clear that up for you with the right antibiotics.  

Now, if you just plain get gas and nothing else is out of order with you, then sodas are carbonated, and that's straight-out gas.  So, if you drink a lot of soft drinks, well, you'll tend to be gassy and burpy.  A glass of gingerale isn't going to hurt you, tho, and in fact it's good for you, to release unwanted gas in the tummy along with the carbonation.  Also, if you only eat a big meal once a day, as an extreme example for illustration, then that's going to give you gas.  You don't want to go long periods of time without eating, and then eat a bunch of food on top of that.  An ordinary alka seltzer, tho, will take care of that sort of problem.

Now, there are many other more complicated reasons for your trouble with gas and your heart jumping around, like your liver might be getting scarred up and thus will break down food too slowly, which often happens with heavy drinkers, altho the liver can get sick for a number of reasons.  Medications can slow the passage of food because, again, the liver is trying to deal with all that, so digestion goes too slow.  Too much fatty food can overwhelm the job of, say, the pancreas, its role is to break down fat, and you can wind up with too much undigested fat in your guts, and that'll slow down digestion.  

This is all just a quick summary about gas, the digestive system is complex, so this is not the entire story of what all is going on in the abdomen, which is why we have gastroenterologists, they DO know what's going on and have seen diff sick people many times, and can usually spot what is wrong very quickly, unless it's a rare disorder, in which case it takes longer to figure things out.  But hope this little bit maybe helps your particular situation.
by alproblems, Feb 28, 2010
ggreg, thanks for that great information. Since I do drink sodas I've been thinking about stopping soda intake permanently because I do notice they just make things worse after meals. I guess I can start eating some of those yogurts since you can find them at every supermarket.

Trying to convince a GI doctor to do microbial tests from stool samples or something like that is going to be a little difficult as I've found out. I have gone to one and basically I've understood that if they don't see something on x-ray or ultrasound than you're okay. I wish I can be taken seriously because my gut problems can be very distressing when I get too much gas and have palps. Unfortunate because gastrointerologists are probably the ones who wrote the books about the microbial role in digestion. Maybe I can keep looking though. Perhaps a university clinic or some other more specialized GI clinic where the GIs might investigate deeper. I think this is like an epidemic.

Thankfully though, while I do get a lot of gas and the pain from it in my gut and stomach I don't vomit like a lot of others do so that's good I suppose.

by alproblems, Feb 28, 2010
I did some searching today and found confirmation from the Rochester Cardiopulmonary Group that palpitations can indeed be caused by intestinal gas. It's the first time I heard this coming from certified cardiologists. Here's the information about palpitations and gas from the disease information section there:
by ggreg, Mar 01, 2010
You don't have to go to a gastro doc to get a stool sample done for bacterial infection in the guts.  Your regular doc can do this.  First time I had a major tummy upset, the first thing they did was a stool sample, regular doc.  They send it off to a lab and the results dictate what meds your doc will want to prescribe.
by alproblems, Mar 01, 2010
I'll try to get an apointment with a regular doc in the next few weeks if I can. I might gather some info on what I think might be going on with me as well and take it to them. If the doc doesn't request a stool sample I could always ask for it to be done.
by alproblems, Mar 06, 2010
I''m going to start taking some pills that have some of the ingredients as activia yogurt. I just don't think that I can eat yogurt for too long. The ones I'm getting have acidophilulus and bifidus. I'm also getting some enzyme pills. They're all from a company named Source Naturals. Any opinions? Is this a trusted company?
by alproblems, Mar 08, 2010
Alright, I found this article about Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)  last night at MedicineNet. Very good explanations about how bacteria can mess things up and what might be done. MedicineNet Link: