About excessive gas

What is excessive gas?

If frequent gas has you concerned, it may help to know what's happening in your body.

Do you constantly burp, pass gas, or feel bloated?

The body naturally produces gas, and produces even more if you eat certain foods, particularly if you've just increased the amount of fiber in your diet. Even if you feel like you suffer from excessive gas, it's probably a normal amount. But if too much gas is making you feel uncomfortable, there are steps you can take to adjust your diet and reduce flatulence and bloating.

Flatulence and Burping: What Is Gas?

Gas is made up of several different vapors, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane, nitrogen, and oxygen that pass through the body. Gas can cause pain and cramping in the abdomen as well as some noisy sound effects:

  • Belching. Some gas can be released from the body through the mouth by burping. When you swallow a lot of air while eating, it travels into your stomach. Belching allows your body to release this excess air.
  • Flatulence. Passing gas through the rectum occurs when the body can't digest all of the food that you eat. Sugars, some fiber, and starches may be particularly difficult for your body to break down and lead to gas.
  • Bloating. Bloating is caused by an accumulation of gas that may make you feel full and uncomfortable. Even so, feeling bloated doesn't necessarily mean that you have excessive gas; it might just mean that you are more sensitive to gas than other people.

Most people produce up to four pints of gas a day, resulting in passing gas or belching more than 20 times each day. So burping or passing gas after meals doesn't mean that you suffer from excessive gas what you're experiencing is normal. Considerably more gas than that, or constant bloating or pain, may signify excessive gas.

Flatulence and Burping: Why Gas Happens

Gas can occur due to the foods that you eat or because you take in too much air while eating. There are a number of foods that can increase gas, bloating, and flatulence, and each one may affect every individual differently. Common gas triggers include dairy products, certain sugars, and artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol.

Swallowing too much air may happen when you drink through a straw, eat or drink too quickly, or frequently chew gum. About 50 percent of gas that leads to flatulence comes from swallowing air, not from food.

Flatulence and Burping: Controlling Gas

If gas makes you uncomfortable and you want to find a way to control it even if it's not excessive gas try making some dietary and lifestyle changes. Avoid specific foods that you know give you gas and try to eat your meals more slowly. You can also control flatulence with over-the-counter remedies that aid digestion and reduce gas.

Excessive gas may be a sign of certain digestive health conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If excess gas is caused by an underlying disorder, prescription medication can help to control it. If you notice excessive belching, flatulence, or bloating that isn't affected by your diet, discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

What are the symptoms for excessive gas?

Excessive gas that forms in your digestive system is part of the normal process of digestion.
The gas will be released normally through Burping or Passing gas (flatus), which is normal.
However, when this gas gets trapped in your body, it may lead to certain discomforts like pain, cramps, Bloating, etc.

Signs or symptoms of gas or cramps include:

  • Burping, Passing gas, a knotted feeling in your abdomen gas, a feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen, or a noticeable increase in the size of your abdomen.
  • Though this is a commonly occurring condition in people, you may need to consult your doctor if the problem is a recurring one.
  • Excessive gas in the body may also interfere with your ability to function well in daily life.
  • In addition, gas or gas pains accompanied by other signs or symptoms may indicate more serious conditions.
  • You may need to see your doctor if you experience any of These may in:
  • Bloody stools, change in consistency of stools, change in frequency of bowel movements, Weight loss, Constipation or Diarrhea, and persistent or recurrent Nausea or Vomiting may be additional signs or symptoms.
  • If the problem persists and you experience prolonged Abdominal pain or Chest pain, seek immediate care.

Diverticulitis,Ulcerative colitis,Crohn's disease tract
Alpha-galactosidase,Simethicone,Lactase supplements,Activated charcoal
Burping,Passing gas,Pain, cramps or a knotted feeling in your abdomen,A feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen (Bloating),An observable increase in the size of your abdomen (distention)

What are the treatments for excessive gas?

Belching: Getting rid of excess air


Belching is commonly known as burping. It's your body's way of expelling excess air from your upper digestive tract. Most belching is caused by swallowing excess air. This air most often never even reaches the stomach but accumulates in the esophagus.

You may swallow excess air if you eat or drink too fast, talk while you eat, chew gum, suck on hard candies, drink carbonated beverages, or smoke. Some people swallow air as a nervous habit even when they're not eating or drinking.

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can sometimes cause excessive belching by promoting increased swallowing.

Chronic belching may also be related to inflammation of the stomach lining or to an infection with Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium responsible for some stomach ulcers. In these cases, the belching is accompanied by other symptoms, such as heartburn or abdominal pain.

You can reduce belching if you:

  • Eat and drink slowly. Taking your time can help you swallow less air. Try to make meals relaxed occasions; eating when you're stressed or on the run increases the air you swallow.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks and beer. They release carbon dioxide gas.
  • Skip the gum and hard candy. When you chew gum or suck on hard candy, you swallow more often than normal. Part of what you're swallowing is air.
  • Don't smoke. When you inhale smoke, you also inhale and swallow air.
  • Check your dentures. Poorly fitting dentures can cause you to swallow excess air when you eat and drink.
  • Get moving. It may help to take a short walk after eating.
  • Treat heartburn. For occasional, mild heartburn, over-the-counter antacids or other remedies may be helpful. GERD may require prescription-strength medication or other treatments.

Flatulence: Gas buildup in the intestines


Gas in the small intestine or colon is typically caused by the digestion or fermentation of undigested food by bacteria found in the bowel. Gas can also form when your digestive system doesn't completely break down certain components in foods, such as gluten, found in most grains, or the sugar in dairy products and fruit.

Other sources of intestinal gas may include:

  • Food residue in your colon
  • A change in the bacteria in the small intestine
  • Poor absorption of carbohydrates, which can upset the balance of helpful bacteria in your digestive system
  • Constipation, since the longer food waste remains in your colon, the more time it has to ferment
  • A digestive disorder, such as lactose or fructose intolerance or celiac disease

To prevent excess gas, it may help to:

  • Eliminate certain foods. Common gas-causing offenders include beans, peas, lentils, cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, whole-grain foods, mushrooms, certain fruits, and beer and other carbonated drinks. Try removing one food at a time to see if your gas improves.
  • Read labels. If dairy products seem to be a problem, you may have some degree of lactose intolerance. Pay attention to what you eat and try low-lactose or lactose-free varieties. Certain indigestible carbohydrates found in sugar-free foods (sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol) also may result in increased gas.
  • Eat fewer fatty foods. Fat slows digestion, giving food more time to ferment.
  • Temporarily cut back on high-fiber foods. Fiber has many benefits, but many high-fiber foods are also great gas producers. After a break, slowly add fiber back to your diet.
  • Try an over-the-counter remedy. Some products such as Lactaid or Dairy Ease can help digest lactose. Products containing simethicone (Gas-X, Mylanta Gas, others) haven't been proved to be helpful, but many people feel that these products work.

    Products such as Beano, particularly the liquid form, may decrease the gas produced during the breakdown of certain types of beans.

Bloating: Common but incompletely understood


Bloating is a sensation of having a full stomach. Distension is a visible or measurable increase in abdominal size. People often describe abdominal symptoms as bloating, especially if those symptoms don't seem to be relieved by belching, passing gas or having a bowel movement.

The exact connection between intestinal gas and bloating is not fully understood. Many people with bloating symptoms don't have any more gas in the intestine than do other people. Many people, particularly those with irritable bowel syndrome or anxiety, may have a greater sensitivity to abdominal symptoms and intestinal gas, rather than an excess amount.

Nonetheless, bloating may be relieved by the behavioral changes that reduce belching, or the dietary changes that reduce flatus.

When to see your doctor


Excessive belching, passing gas and bloating often resolve on their own or with simple changes. If these are the only symptoms you have, they rarely represent any serious underlying condition.

Consult your doctor if your symptoms don't improve with simple changes, particularly if you also notice:

  • Diarrhea
  • Persistent or severe abdominal pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Changes in the color or frequency of stools
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Chest discomfort
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly

These signs and symptoms could signal an underlying digestive condition. Intestinal symptoms can be embarrassing — but don't let embarrassment keep you from seeking help.

What are the risk factors for excessive gas?

Excess upper intestinal gas (excessive gas) may result from swallowing more than a usual amount of air, overeating, smoking, or chewing gum. Excess lower intestinal gas, on the other hand, can be caused by eating too much of certain foods, inability to digest certain foods fully, or disruption in the bacteria normally found in the colon.

Risk factors of getting excessive gas include:

  • Eating foods that cause excess gas: Consuming gas-producing foods and substances like beans and lentils, vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts, bran, dairy products containing lactose, fructose-rich foods, and carbonated beverages, such as soda or beer.
  • Suffering from digestive disorders: A person suffering from any of the digestive disorders like Celiac disease, Colon cancer, Constipation, Crohn's disease, Diabetes, Dumping syndrome, Eating disorders, Functional dyspepsia, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Intestinal obstruction, Irritable bowel syndrome, Lactose intolerance, Gastroparesis, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), etc., may get excessive gases in their body.
  • Intestinal infections: If you are prone to intestinal infections like giardiasis, that cause an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria can lead to gas formation in your body.
  • Behavioral factors: Swallowing air while chewing, drinking and talking may lead to gas formation.
  • Dietary factors: Consuming too many gas-producing foods like potatoes, beans, corn, apples, onions, and high-fiber products may produce excess gas.

Diverticulitis,Ulcerative colitis,Crohn's disease tract
Alpha-galactosidase,Simethicone,Lactase supplements,Activated charcoal
Burping,Passing gas,Pain, cramps or a knotted feeling in your abdomen,A feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen (bloating),An observable increase in the size of your abdomen (distention)

Is there a cure/medications for excessive gas?

Excessive gas that forms in your digestive system is part of the normal process of digestion. The condtition may give discomfort and stop you from doing daily activities normally. However, this condition of excessive gas formation in your body can be cured using certain methods or medications.

If you suffer from gas build up occassionally, your healthcare provider might suggest one of these over-the-counter products:

  • Alpha-galactosidase (Beano®): This is an enzyme that helps break down hard-to-digest foods eliminating the risk of gas formation.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate: Pepto-Bismol® for adults with upset stomach and diarrhea may help.
  • Lactaseenzymes such as Lactaid® for people with lactose intolerance of digesting milk sugars can help.
  • Probiotics like (Culturelle®) may be prescribed to get rid of bad gut bacteria.
  • Semithicone like (Gas-X®, Mylanta®) may be prescribed by your physician to reduce intestinal gas buildup that causes bloating.
  • Antibiotics can be given to treat bacterial overgrowth in the intestines that cause excess gas and bloating.

Diverticulitis,Ulcerative colitis,Crohn's disease tract
Alpha-galactosidase,Simethicone,Lactase supplements,Activated charcoal
Burping,Passing gas,Pain, cramps or a knotted feeling in your abdomen,A feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen (bloating),An observable increase in the size of your abdomen (distention)

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