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10 Stomach Problems That Cause Bad Breath

10 Stomach Problems That Cause Bad Breath 10 Stomach Problems That Cause Bad Breath

Do people tend to lean their heads back and get a disgusted look on their face whenever you talk to them? That could be their not-so-subtle way of telling you that you have bad breath.

While your first instinct is probably to brush up (no pun intended) on your oral hygiene, your mouth may not be the source of your bad breath. Sometimes, gut health and bad breath are like two peas in a pod. In other words, stomach issues could be the root cause of your bad breath issues. And research shows halitosis (the scientific term for bad breath) to be a symptom of gastrointestinal conditions and diseases.

But just how do you know if your bad breath is coming from your stomach? Let's go over 10 stomach problems that cause bad breath.

What Gut Problems Cause Bad Breath?


First on our list of stomach problems that cause bad breath we have GERD , which is short for gastroesophageal reflux disease. GERD has to do with inflammation of the esophagus. It's essentially a more severe and frequent case of acid reflux and includes symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, and you guessed it…Bad breath.

2. IBS

IBS (aka irritable bowel syndrome) is a gut-related condition of the large intestine that impacts about 10-15% of people in the United States. It can cause symptoms such as stomach discomfort, bloating, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea.

Those with IBS tend to experience either constipation (IBS-C) or diarrhea (IBS-D) frequently. If you land on the constipation side of things, bad breath from IBS may be due to your body's inability to have consistent bowel movements. Food just sitting in your GI tract can be a source of bad breath. If you land in the diarrhea camp, your bad breath may be caused by malabsorption.


A list of stomach problems that cause bad breath wouldn't be complete without mentioning SIBO. Short for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, it occurs when there is a buildup of gut bacteria in your small intestine.

Common SIBO symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. Excessive gut bacteria can also lead to skin issues like acne , demonstrating the importance of gut health for the skin. Essentially, the buildup of gut bacteria in your small intestine is what gives you unfriendly breath and sends those around you scattering in the other direction!

4. Helicobacter Pylori

Helicobacter pylori (more commonly known as H. pylori) is a type of bacteria that causes infection in your stomach and can lead to inflammation of your digestive tract. Research shows that breath tests for H. pylori have high sulfide levels. If you know what sulfide smells like (not pleasant at all), then it's perfectly understandable why it would be a cause of bad breath. In addition to bad breath, other symptoms to look out for of an H. pylori infection include nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, belching, and peptic ulcers.

5. IBD and Celiac Disease

Anything that leads to indigestion belongs on a list of stomach problems that cause bad breath. Both IBD IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and celiac disease fit this bill, as they limit your body's ability to break down food. When your food is unable to be broken down, it means an accumulation of hydrogen sulfide that causes bad breath whenever you open your mouth.

6. Digestive Tract Infection

Parasites (which come from contaminated food and water;) cause infections of your digestive tract Giardiasis is a common parasite infection known for causing diarrhea, bloating, and unpleasant bad breath.

7. Bowel Obstruction

A bowel obstruction is a serious medical problem that you should seek help for immediately. It occurs when you have a blockage in either your small or large intestine, and one of the symptoms can be bad breath from the stomach. The odor from trapped foods in your digestive tract produces a sort of fecal-smelling breath. Other symptoms include intense bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, and nausea.

8. Kidney Disease

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine , a fishy or ammonia smell coming from your breath can indicate liver disease.

With kidney disease, your kidneys, whose main role is to eliminate toxins and waste in your blood, stop working properly and eventually shut down. The buildup of waste and toxins in the body, as a result, is what causes bad breath from the stomach.

A lot of the time, there aren't obvious signs that you have kidney disease but other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, and muscle cramps.

9. Liver Disease

Similar to kidney disease, liver disease occurs when your liver stops functioning properly. This results in an accumulation of waste products and toxins in the body, with one indication being bad breath from the stomach. Some additional symptoms are yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice), abdominal pain, itchy skin, darker-colored urine, and fatigue.

10. Gallbladder Problems

our gallbladder's main role is to create bile and other digestive enzymes to break food down and aid in digestion. If your bile ducts become inhibited, it can lead to rotten egg-smelling breath.

How to Eliminate Bad Breath From the Stomach

Here are 4 simple steps you can take to address any stomach problems that cause bad breath:

  • Eat foods high in probiotics, such as yogurt (with live or active cultures), kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Also, consider taking a probiotic supplement, like Floré Personalized Probiotics , for bad breath. It can help give your gut health a boost by providing you with the beneficial bacteria to help address the issues in your gut that may be the underlying cause of bad breath.
  • Get plenty of fiber in your diet (it's packed with prebiotics that are essential to optimal gut health).
  • Candida overgrowth thrives on processed foods and foods high in sugar, so limit these in your diet.
  • Increase your intake of plant-based foods. The American Gut Project, which included over 11,000 participants, determined the number one factor of a healthy gut to be the number of plant-based foods you eat (per week, 30+ is best).

About the Author

Chad Richardson is a freelance writer from Cincinnati, OH who also enjoys going to the gym and doing his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation, scrolling through Netflix trying to find a new binge-worthy show, and catching a game to root on his hometown sports teams.

About the Author

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