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.
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
familydoctor.org, Scuba Diving Safety
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, Decompression Illness
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"Diaphragmatic rupture resulting from gastrointestinal barotrauma in a scuba diver."
Br J Sports Med. 1998 Mar;32(1):75-6M
Authors: Hayden JD, Davies JB, Martin IG
U.S. National Library of Medicine