Scuba Diving: Gastric Squeeze

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Wilderness: Gastric Squeeze Related Articles

What is Gastric Squeeze?

  • Gastric squeeze, or gas in the gut, often occurs while diving as air inside the body swells during descent and expands during ascent.
  • Other causes of gastric squeeze may include:
    • drinking carbonated beverages before diving,
    • eating beans before diving,
    • chewing gum during diving, or
    • repeatedly equalizing the ears with the head down.

Gastric Squeeze Symptoms

Symptoms of abdominal squeeze include the following:

  • Abdominal fullness, abdominal cramps, pain, belching, and flatulence occur.
  • Rarely, gastric squeeze may cause a diver to pass out or may result in gut rupture.

Gastric Squeeze Treatment

Treatment while diving consists of the following:

  • Vent the gas and stop the ascent.
  • Continue the ascent when gastric squeeze symptoms subside.

When to Seek Medical Care

Medical assistance for gastric squeeze is rarely required. However, see a health care provider if severe pain fails to subside after belching or flatulence occurs.

For More Information

Divers Alert Network, Diving Medicine, Gastrointestinal Issues - Consider Them Before Returning to Diving

Divers Alert Network, Diving Medicine, Frequently Asked Questions, Scuba Diving Safety

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Decompression Illness

Reviewed on 11/20/2017
Sources: References

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