Stomach and gas pain

Contents

How to get rid of trapped gas

Share on PinterestMost people pass gas between 13 and 21 times a day, but diarrhea and constipation can block the gas from escaping.

Luckily, many home remedies can help to release trapped gas or prevent it from building up. Twenty effective methods are listed below.

1. Let it out

Holding in gas can cause bloating, discomfort, and pain. The easiest way to avoid these symptoms is to simply let out the gas.

2. Pass stool

A bowel movement can relieve gas. Passing stool will usually release any gas trapped in the intestines.

3. Eat slowly

Eating too quickly or while moving can cause a person to take in air as well as food, leading to gas-related pain.

Quick eaters can slow down by chewing each bite of food 30 times. Breaking down food in such a way aids digestion and can prevent a number of related complaints, including bloating and indigestion.

4. Avoid chewing gum

As a person chews gum they tend to swallow air, which increases the likelihood of trapped wind and gas pains.

Sugarless gum also contains artificial sweeteners, which may cause bloating and gas.

5. Say no to straws

Often, drinking through a straw causes a person to swallow air. Drinking directly from a bottle can have the same effect, depending on the bottle’s size and shape.

To avoid gas pain and bloating, it is best to sip from a glass.

6. Quit smoking

Whether using traditional or electronic cigarettes, smoking causes air to enter the digestive tract. Because of the range of health issues linked to smoking, quitting is wise for many reasons.

7. Choose non-carbonated drinks

Carbonated drinks, such as sparkling water and sodas, send a lot of gas to the stomach. This can cause bloating and pain.

8. Eliminate problematic foods

Share on PinterestCarbonated drinks such as sparkling waters and soda send a lot of gas to the stomach, which can cause bloating and pain.

Eating certain foods can cause trapped gas. Individuals find different foods problematic.

However, the foods below frequently cause gas to build up:

  • artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sorbitol, and maltitol
  • cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • dairy products
  • fiber drinks and supplements
  • fried foods
  • garlic and onions
  • high-fat foods
  • legumes, a group that includes beans and lentils
  • prunes and prune juice
  • spicy foods

Keeping a food diary can help a person to identify trigger foods. Some, like artificial sweeteners, may be easy to cut out of the diet.

Others, like cruciferous vegetables and legumes, provide a range of health benefits. Rather than avoiding them entirely, a person may try reducing their intake or preparing the foods differently.

9. Drink tea

Some herbal teas may aid digestion and reduce gas pain fast. The most effective include teas made from:

  • anise
  • chamomile
  • ginger
  • peppermint

Anise acts as a mild laxative and should be avoided if diarrhea accompanies gas. However, it can be helpful if constipation is responsible for trapped gas.

10. Snack on fennel seeds

Fennel is an age-old solution for trapped wind. Chewing on a teaspoon of the seeds is a popular natural remedy.

However, anyone pregnant or breast-feeding should probably avoid doing so, due to conflicting reports concerning safety.

11. Take peppermint supplements

Peppermint oil capsules have long been taken to resolve issues like bloating, constipation, and trapped gas. Some research supports the use of peppermint for these symptoms.

Always choose enteric-coated capsules. Uncoated capsules may dissolve too quickly in the digestive tract, which can lead to heartburn.

Peppermint inhibits the absorption of iron, so these capsules should not be taken with iron supplements or by people who have anemia.

12. Clove oil

Clove oil has traditionally been used to treat digestive complaints, including bloating, gas, and indigestion. It may also have ulcer-fighting properties.

Consuming clove oil after meals can increase digestive enzymes and reduce the amount of gas in the intestines.

13. Apply heat

When gas pains strike, place a hot water bottle or heating pad on the stomach. The warmth relaxes the muscles in the gut, helping gas to move through the intestines. Heat can also reduce the sensation of pain.

14. Address digestive issues

People with certain digestive difficulties are more likely to experience trapped gas. Those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease, for example, often experience bloating and gas pain.

Addressing these issues through lifestyle changes and medication can improve the quality of life.

People with lactose intolerance who frequently experience gas pain should take greater steps to avoid lactose or take lactase supplements.

15. Add apple cider vinegar to water

Apple cider vinegar aids the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. It may also help to alleviate gas pain quickly.

Add a tablespoon of the vinegar to a glass of water and drink it before meals to prevent gas pain and bloating. It is important to then rinse the mouth with water, as vinegar can erode tooth enamel.

16. Use activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a natural product that can be bought in health food stores or pharmacies without a prescription. Supplement tablets taken before and after meals can prevent trapped gas.

It is best to build up the intake of activated charcoal gradually. This will prevent unwanted symptoms, such as constipation and nausea.

One alarming side effect of activated charcoal is that it can turn the stool black. This discoloration is harmless and should go away if a person stops taking charcoal supplements.

17. Take probiotics

Share on PinterestGentle exercises can relax the muscles in the gut, and yoga poses can be especially beneficial after meals.

Probiotic supplements add beneficial bacteria to the gut. They are used to treat several digestive complaints, including infectious diarrhea.

Some research suggests that certain strains of probiotics can alleviate bloating, intestinal gas, abdominal pain, and other symptoms of IBS.

Strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are generally considered to be most effective.

18. Exercise

Gentle exercises can relax the muscles in the gut, helping to move gas through the digestive system. Walking or doing yoga poses after meals may be especially beneficial.

19. Breathe deeply

Deep breathing may not work for everyone. Taking in too much air can increase the amount of gas in the intestines.

However, some people find that deep breathing techniques can relieve the pain and discomfort associated with trapped gas.

20. Take an over-the-counter remedy

Several products can get rid of gas pain fast. One popular medication, simethicone, is marketed under the following brand names:

  • Gas-X
  • Mylanta Gas
  • Phazyme

Anyone who is pregnant or taking other medications should discuss the use of simethicone with a doctor or pharmacist.

Gas/Bloating

How do I manage it?

Swallow Less Air

Bloating is often caused by swallowing air. To swallow less air:

  • avoid chewing gum
  • don’t drink fizzy drinks and alcohol
  • avoid sucking on hard candy
  • eat more slowly
  • quit smoking or smoke less

Limit or Avoid Foods that Make Extra Gas

Some foods are not digested completely in the small intestine. These sugars move to the colon, where they are digested by bacteria. These bacteria release a lot of gas.

Limit or avoid these types of foods to help reduce gas:

  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bran
  • Other types of fiber
  • Sugar-free candy or gum
  • Other highly fermentable foods

Limit or Avoid Dairy Products

People who don’t have enough lactase in their intestines cannot break down lactose and cannot absorb this sugar. Some of these people will become bloated and may need to avoid eating or drinking dairy products.

  • Lactase is an enzyme that helps digest lactose.
  • Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products.
  • If lactose is not digested in the small intestine, it moves into the colon.
  • In the colon, bacteria digest the sugar (lactose), where it ferments, which causes gas and bloating.

Limit or Avoid Fructose (Sugar)

  • Fructose is a type of sugar found in fruits and many sweet processed foods.

  • Fructose is easier to absorb in the small intestine when you eat foods that have both fructose and glucose in them.

  • Foods and drinks that contain lots of fructose and little or no glucose are harder for the body to digest.

  • Fructose that is not absorbed in the small intestine moves to the colon. In the colon, bacteria digest the sugar, where it ferments, which causes gas and bloating.

  • Avoiding food and drink that have mostly fructose may help with gas and bloating.

Avoid Artificial sweeteners

  • Some artificial sweeteners, like sorbitol, are also poorly digested in the small intestine. This means they are absorbed in the colon, causing gas and bloating.

  • Many sugar-free candies and gums contain these sweeteners.

  • Avoiding foods with these artificial sweeteners may help reduce gas and bloating.

Limit Fiber

Eating fiber is healthy, but sometimes fiber may cause gas or bloating. You can get fiber from food or you can take it as a supplement.

  • Adding fiber to your diet slowly may help reduce bloating.

  • Most people’s bodies get used to digesting more fiber within 3 weeks. By that time, feelings of bloating and gas may improve.

  • There are different types of fiber. People may react differently to each type. It may be helpful to try out different types of fiber to see how they work for you.

To reduce or relieve gas and bloating:

  • Eat and drink slowly

  • Don’t smoke

  • Make sure dentures fit well

  • Do breathing exercises to reduce air swallowing

  • Walk, jog, and stretch to help food move through the digestive system and out of the body more quickly.

  • Lie down on your right side (not left side). When you have gas trapped inside your colon, it can sometimes come out more easily when you lie on your right.

Some medications may help to relieve gas, but are believed to not work very well.

Simethicone

Simethicone dissolves small gas bubbles in the stomach and intestines.

Most people start with small doses, but may need up to 125mg with meals to see a difference.

Some antacids contain simethicone and may help with bloating. Antacids without simethicone won’t help with bloating.

Common names:

  • Gas-X™
  • Mylicon™
  • Maalox Anti-Gas™
  • Mylanta Gas™
  • Maalox Plus™

Activated Charcoal

There are two ways to use activated charcoal:

  1. Take an activated charcoal tablet
  2. Wear underwear lined with activated charcoal

Activated charcoal tablets or capsules may help:

  • Reduce the amount of gas
  • Decrease the odor from gas

Charcoal-lined undergarments are available and may help reduce odor, but won’t reduce the amount of gas. They are available online.

Digestive enzymes

The body has enzymes that help the body break down food during digestion. You can also take enzymes to help your body digest certain foods.

For people with low pancreatic enzymes, these supplements can help with digestion and reduce gas and bloating. However, for a person with a normal pancreas, taking these enzymes will probably not help with gas or bloating.

Common names:

  • Beano™
  • Vitacost Gas Enzyme™
  • Bean-zyme™
  • Vegan-zyme™

Alpha-galactosidase

Alpha-galactosidase helps break down complex sugars in foods like beans or certain vegetables that can cause gas and bloating.

Taking alpha-galactosidase when eating these foods may help reduce gas and bloating.

Probiotics

Probiotics are bacteria that can improve health if people take enough. We don’t know exactly how probiotics might help with gas and bloating. But, some research shows certain probiotics may help by:

  • Creating the right amounts of healthy bacteria in the digestive system. Probiotics are often called “friendly bacteria”.
  • Decreasing the amount of bacteria the colon has to break down, so less gas is made
  • Helping the colon contract more and move gas through faster, which means less bloating

Common names:

  • Align™
  • Activia™
  • VSL #3™

Bran is poorly digested and adds bulk to stool. It is also broken down by bacteria in the colon, which produces a lot of gas. This is why bran helps with constipation, but it can also make bloating worse.

Fiber can help with constipation. Improving constipation can sometimes help with bloating. However, taking too much fiber can sometimes cause bloating.

Highly fermentable foods are foods that aren’t easily digested in the small intestine.

Instead, these foods are digested in the colon, which creates more gas. This can cause bloating and distension.

Highly fermentable foods include:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Beer and wine
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Cherries
  • Cured meats (like salami, pepperoni, or sausages)
  • Lentils
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Pears
  • Pickles
  • Vinegar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Yogurt
  • And many more

Foods that have at least as much glucose as they do fructose may cause less bloating than foods with high fructose and low glucose. It may be helpful to avoid foods like these:

  • Foods containing high fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juices
  • Apples, applesauce, apple juice
  • Melons
  • Artichokes
  • Mangoes
  • Pears
  • Fizzy drinks (sodas)
  • Fresh, dried, and processed fruit (not including bananas and citrus fruits)
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Agave nectar
  • Sweet wines
  • Certain vegetables (asparagus, beans, broccoli, cabbage, leeks, onions, zucchini)

Everyone is different. Some people are able to tolerate small amounts of these foods while others are not. It may be helpful to experiment until you find the right balance.

  • Aspartame
  • Mannitol
  • Saccharin
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucralose
  • Xylitol

There are some foods and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners that may be surprising. Some of those foods are:

  • Certain breakfast cereals
  • Foods that are labeled “diet” or “sugar-free’ (like candy, popcorn, pudding, jello)
  • Certain yogurts
  • Light or diet sodas and fruit juices
  • Certain protein or snack bars

To avoid artificial sweeteners, read the nutrition labels on food and drink products. Aspartame, acesulfame, sorbitol, xylitol, saccharin, and sucralose are common artificial sweeteners that are added to foods.

There are some foods and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners that may be surprising. Some of those foods are:

  • Certain breakfast cereals
  • Foods that are labeled “diet” or “sugar-free’ (like candy, popcorn, pudding, jello)
  • Certain yogurts
  • Light or diet sodas and fruit juices
  • Certain protein or snack bars

To avoid artificial sweeteners, read the nutrition labels on food and drink products. Aspartame, acesulfame, sorbitol, xylitol, saccharin, and sucralose are common artificial sweeteners that are added to foods.

There are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber

Research studies show that eating foods high in soluble fiber can help with constipation. However, eating soluble fiber may cause gas and bloating.

You can get soluble fiber from foods:

  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Oat cereal
  • Oranges
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries

and suplements:

  • Citrucel™
  • Benefiber™
  • Fiberchoice™
  • Fibercon™
  • Metamucil™

Insoluble fiber

There’s less information about whether insoluble fiber can help with constipation. Insoluble fiber may cause less gas and bloating than soluble fiber.

You can get insoluble fiber from foods:

  • Barley
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Whole grains
  • Whole wheat

and suplements:

  • Citrucel™
  • Normacol™
  • Normafibe™

Everyone is different. Most people find it helpful to try different kinds of fiber until they find something that works for them. Please be mindful of your own dietary needs when choosing foods to try. These foods are examples and may not work for everyone.

People may have low pancreatic enzymes if they have:

  • Acute or chronic pancreatitis
  • Surgical removal of the pancreas
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Obstruction due to a gall stone
  • Diabetes for many years

The question

How can I reduce bloating? I experience it several times a week. Could it be a sign of a bigger health issue?

The answer

Story continues below advertisement

Bloating is a sensation of the belly feeling full and tight. It is usually caused by swallowing air or by gas produced from the digestion of food. The intensity of pain depends on the amount of gas and your sensitivity to the sensation of gas stretching the stomach and intestinal walls. When gas does not pass through burping or flatulence, it can build up and lead to uncomfortable bloating.

For some, bloating occurs occasionally and for others it can occur repeatedly in a single day. Most cases of bloating are due to digestion or intolerance to food – but in rare occasions, bloating may a warning sign of a more serious medical problem.

The most common causes of bloating include:

Overeating

Swallowing air: You may swallow air when eating or drinking too quickly, talking while eating, chewing gum or drinking carbonated beverages. Smoking can also increase gas (because when you inhale smoke, you are also swallowing air.)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): A relatively common condition that causes increased sensitivity to the sensation of gas pressure and can have symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.

Diet: Some foods can be difficult for the body to digest and can lead to a sensation of fullness. Common culprits include beans, broccoli, cabbage, carbonated drinks, coffee, sorbitol/fructose products (such as chewing gum) and alcohol.

Story continues below advertisement

Food intolerance: Gluten, nuts, dairy products and wheat are the most common foods associated with food intolerance, meaning that the body is potentially missing an enzyme required to break down these foods.

Constipation: Infrequent, hard stools or straining to have a bowel movement may mean that you are constipated. Over time, constipation can lead to bloating, abdominal pain and, if left for too long can lead to serious complications.

Hormonal changes: At different times during your menstrual cycle, bloating can occur due to changes in hormonal levels.

Medical conditions: Certain conditions including diabetes and HIV can lead to a slowing of activity of the intestines over time and can lead to bloating. In addition to the burning sensation and discomfort of reflux disease or heartburn, bloating can also occur.

Here are some tips, if you are experiencing uncomfortable bloating:

Keep track of foods you’ve eaten when you feel bloated to identify potential triggers.

Story continues below advertisement

Decrease the amount of air you swallow: Eat and drink slowly and avoid carbonated drinks, smoking and beer. Ill-fitting dentures can also increase air swallowing when eating, so a quick check-in with your dentist may be helpful.

Drink water, increase fibre and exercise regularly: These three changes can aid with digestion and help to prevent constipation by moving things along in the intestines. Exercise specifically can significantly help decrease bloating associated with menstruation.

Over-the-counter medications: There are multiple options for bloating to be found over the counter. Some people find it helpful to use probiotics to rebalance normal bacterial content in the intestines. Beano may help with digestion of legumes and if you have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, there are enzymes that can help digest dairy products.

Uncommon but important causes of bloating include bowel obstruction or cancer such as those arising from the liver, uterus, stomach or ovaries. Ovarian cancer is often not detected until very late in its course because it has few symptoms until it has progressed. It is now recognized that bloating is a symptom that may help identify this cancer earlier.

If you suffer from persistent bloating, have noted changes in your menstrual cycle, vaginal bleeding after menopause or frequent urination – I would strongly recommend visiting your doctor to rule out this serious cause.

Occasional episodes of bloating usually resolve on their own with diet modification and behavior change. If you have made these changes without any resolution of symptoms, or you are experiencing persistent bloating or heartburn, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, weight loss, fever, blood in the stool or severe abdominal pain – I would recommend seeing your doctor as these symptoms may be a warning sign for something more serious.

Story continues below advertisement

Send family doctor Sheila Wijayasinghe your questions at [email protected] She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Dr. Wijayasinghe.

to see Q&As from all of our health experts.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail’s Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Why you are so bloated – top causes and how to treat them

Whether it’s a bout of holiday tummy, heartburn after a heavy meal, or just occasionally feeling bloated, trouble with your digestive system is one of the top five reasons we visit our GP.

Figures show 70 per cent of people suffer regularly from belly woes, with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux and plain old constipation three of the most common causes.

Not many of us are comfortable with talking about our bowel issues, whether it’s food baby related or something more serious which delays us getting help.

It can help to know what is the cause of your bloating – though remember nothing replaces a GP’s advice.

Here are common causes and how to get rid of a bloated stomach.

What are the symptoms of a bloated stomach?

1. Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome can be painful (Image: Getty)

Could be the cause if: You’ve been bloated on and off for a long time and have also experienced symptoms including pain, constipation and/or ­bouts of diarrhoea.

A common bowel condition, IBS is a functional disorder, which means there’s nothing wrong with the structure of the bowel itself, but the way the gut works is abnormal.

Peter Whorwell, professor of ­medicine and ­gastroenterology at the University of Manchester, says: “We think the gut is over-sensitive in IBS sufferers so its normal ­processes cause the symptoms.”

Bloating is one of the most ­disruptive side effects of IBS. Some women go up a couple of dress sizes and even need different clothes ­depending on whether or not they are ­bloated.

For many, it tends to worsen ­towards the evening, so it can ­disrupt your social life.

There’s no cure for IBS, but you can ­manage the symptoms.

“Cutting out cereal fibre eases symptoms by between 30% and 40% in the majority of ­sufferers,” says Professor Whorwell.

This means avoiding ­wholemeal bread, oats, muesli, digestive biscuits, cereal bars and all breakfast cereals other than Rice Krispies, but white bread, cakes, cream crackers and most biscuits are fine.

Try doing this for three months to see if it helps. Probiotics may also ease symptoms – Holland and Barrett stock these chewable probiotic tablets .

You can also try Activia yoghurts, as the probiotic strain they contain has been shown to help IBS – Sainsbury’s has packs of 4 Activia yoghurts.

You could also try a ­supplement such as BioCare Acidophilus (£21.27 for 60 capsules, on Amazon ), and it’s worth seeing your GP.

Doctors can prescribe medication for you, such as anti-spasmodics, laxatives and ­anti-diarrhoeals.

“There’s no problem taking ­laxatives and anti-diarrhoeals in the long term if you have IBS,” adds Professor Whorwell.

2. Flatulence

Could be the cause if: You are ­passing a lot of wind, but don’t notice any other symptoms.

We all experience flatulence from time to time – it’s perfectly normal to do so up to 15 times a day – and ­sometimes you may not even notice that you are doing it.

While there’s no medical definition of excessive flatulence, if it’s ­bothering you and makes life ­awkward or feels ­uncomfortable, there are steps you can take to reduce it.

Try cutting down on foods that are high in ­non-absorbable carbs. ­Common culprits include beans and pulses, broccoli, cabbage, prunes and apples, and foods containing the sugar ­substitute sorbitol.

These tend to be digested very slowly and can release small amounts of sulphur gas while they pass through the gut.

Nutrition consultant Ian Marber says: “Eat food slowly and ­remember to chew. Without chewing, food is more likely to pass into the gut partially broken down and there’s a ­higher chance it will ferment and produce gas.”

Be aware that, ­occasionally, an underlying health condition – ­including those that are listed here – could also be causing flatulence.

If the problem persists you can use Activated Charcoal Saver Pack here, or Sage Leaf tablets.

3. Coeliac disease aka gluten

Could be the cause if: You often feel tired; you’ve lost weight for no ­apparent reason; you are suffering from ­abdominal pain.

Coeliac disease is an adverse ­reaction to gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye and all foods containing them – everything from pasta and bread to pies and some gravies and sauces.

It is an autoimmune ­condition where the body mistakes substances in gluten for a threat and attacks them, leading to damage to the surface of the small bowel, which then ­affects your ability to absorb nutrients from food.

It used to be mainly ­diagnosed in children, but it’s now known people can go undiagnosed into middle age.

If you have these ­symptoms, see your ­doctor and ask to have a blood test for coeliac disease. ­National Institute for Health and Clinical ­Excellence guidelines state that anyone with bloating and other IBS-type symptoms should be tested for it.

If you’re diagnosed, you’ll feel better once you start avoiding all foods ­containing gluten.

For more information about it visit www.coeliac.org.uk.

(Image: GETTY)

4. Hormonal fluctuations

Could be the cause if: You are ­premenstrual or in the early stages of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, and just before your period, levels of the hormone progesterone are raised.

This can slow down gut motility or movement, which means food passes more slowly through the body, leading to bloating and possibly constipation.

You can beat the bloat. Exercise can help improve gut motility and walking for 30 minutes a day could be enough to make the difference.

Remember to also drink plenty of fluids and eat lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains to avoid constipation.

5. Ovarian cancer

Could be the cause if: Bloating is persistent and you have other ­symptoms such as a perpetual ­feeling of fullness and abdominal pain.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer tend to be quite vague, which is often why it’s diagnosed late when it’s harder to treat, so it’s important to be aware of potential signs. It’s important to go to your doctor rather than self diagnosing.

Target Ovarian Cancer chief ­executive Annwen Jones says: “Key symptoms are bloating that is ­persistent rather than coming and going and increased abdominal size. Look out for ­persistent and frequent abdominal pain, ­difficulty eating and urinary symptoms.

“It’s unlikely your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it’s important to be checked out.”

Find out more online by visiting www.targetovariancancer.org.uk.

6. Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity

Could be the cause if: The same as coeliac disease, but may also include joint pain, muscle cramps, leg numbness, weight loss and chronic fatigue.

A newly identified condition, NCGS occurs when you have the ­symptoms of coeliac disease caused by a sensitivity to gluten, but no antibodies show up in blood tests and the gut lining looks normal.

Gastroenterologist Dr Kamran Rostami estimates that for every person with coeliac disease there may be seven with NCGS – that’s up to seven million people.

Not all doctors believe NCGS exists as a separate condition – and there’s no diagnostic test for it yet.

7. Learn your triggers

Knowing what sets off your tummy flare-ups can help reduce their frequency. Buscopan IBS Relief has created a free ‘food diary’ app which can help you identify your food and stress triggers. You can download the app at .

8. Lower stress levels

“Research shows stress can go straight to your stomach, which is why anti-depressants are used for some people with resistant IBS symptoms,” says colorectal surgeon Mr West. “Other drug-free methods are worth trying first, such as hypnotherapy, relaxation techniques and looking at ways to manage your stress day-to-day.”

9. Boost your good bacteria levels

Starting your day with a daily probiotic drink or supplement can raise your gut’s good bacteria level, which can keep your digestive system healthy and could help ease any discomfort. Try Healthspan Super20 Pro (£16.95, from healthspan.co.uk ).

10. Eat early to avoid heartburn

Acid reflux tends to strike at night when you’re lying down, so avoid eating later than 8pm. Try sleeping with an extra pillow to help reduce the backflow of acid and taking a tablet such as Nexium Control (£6.99, from chemists) which blocks acid production.

11. Up your fluid intake

When it comes to fighting constipation, eight glasses of fluid a day can help by flushing waste out of your system and reducing water retention. And the good news is any liquid will do. “We used to think it had to be water, but we now believe any drink, even tea and coffee is fine,” says Mr West.

12. Try the low FODMAP diet

Only recently devised, this has helped many people with IBS, although it’s quite restrictive and can be difficult to follow. It involves avoiding foods – in particular fruit and veg – that contain fermentable sugars known as FODMAPs. These feed the bad bacteria in your gut, releasing the gas that causes uncomfortable bloating, stomach pain and diarrhoea for some. FODMAP foods includes onions, garlic, cauliflower, apples and cabbage. But make sure you get the advice of a registered dietitian first to ensure you don’t miss out on important nutrients.

13. Eat less sugar

Sugar gets the blame for a lot of things, and disrupting gut health is one of them.

“It isn’t known exactly why sugar can lead to an imbalance of beneficial bacteria and non-beneficial bacteria, and bloating, but it’s worth keeping as a treat,” explains Jeannette Hyde.

But don’t replace sugar with unhealthy sugar substitutes.

“Artificial sweeteners, such as those contained in diet drinks, have been shown to cause an unbalance of bacteria in animals, so may be worth avoiding if you want a flat tummy,” warns Jeannette.

Try to reduce the amount of sugar by cutting back on fizzy drinks and sweets. It’s still good to have these from time to time as a treat, however, in excess they can cause digestive issues.

14. Fast for at least 12 hours

“Having a fasting stretch of 12-14 hours between dinner and breakfast can promote weight loss and encourage beneficial bacteria to thrive in the gut which can improve metabolism and balance hunger hormones,” says Jeannette.

“It’s easy to do if you are eating nice and early – say 7pm for dinner and then just having water between then and a 7am breakfast the next day.”

15. Eat a rainbow of fruit and veg

(Image: Getty)

“Often when people have chronic bloating they become nervous of many foods and cut out lots that contain fibre,” says Jeannette.

“For long-term gut health, it’s vital to include lots of different vegetables and some fruit.”

We all have about a kilo and half of bacteria in the digestive tract, mainly in the colon.

“For good health, your colon needs to be thriving with lots of different types of bacteria, and the way to promote it is to feed the bacteria with many types of fibre-rich foods.”

Beat bloating in a week

Nutritional therapist Natalie Lamb has outlined a seven day plan in order to help with bloating. Here are the seven steps:

  1. Start taking a multi-strain probiotic.

  2. Use apple cider vinegar before each meal to support digestive function.

  3. Reduce simple sugars and refined carbohydrates.

  4. Start eating more fibre.

  5. Drink cups of homemade bone stock or including it in soups and stews.

  6. Leave legumes to soak well overnight. It will ease their digestion if they cause you bloating.

  7. Relax more. Stress is known to reduce the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

For a more detailed outline of the seven day plan, click the link below and look into creating your own food diary.

When should I worry?

Although most digestive issues are down to uncomfortable but not life-threatening conditions such as IBS or heartburn, some symptoms can indicate more serious conditions such as bowel cancer – especially if you’re over 50.

Consultant general and colorectal surgeon Mr Nick West advises: “See your GP immediately if you experience any of the following ‘red flag’ warning symptoms:

  • A persistent change in bowel habit (constipation, diarrhoea or both)
  • Any lumps or bumps around your bottom or stomach
  • Bleeding from your bottom
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • New and persistent bloating should always be checked in women over 45 to rule out ovarian cancer

Real life cases

We sent four readers with persistent tummy troubles to see Mr Nick West, consultant general and colorectal surgeon at Spire St Anthony’s Hospital in Surrey, for a thorough examination to investigate their problems.

(Image: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror)

I get so bloated I look pregnant

(Image: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror)

Hannah Lewis, 36, is a model, who is single and lives with her eight-year-old son in Ascot, Berks.

Abdomen exam: Normal

Diagnosis: IBS

Hannah says: I’ve suffered from excessive bloating for more than 10 years and can look pregnant after eating certain foods .

I also get terrible stomach cramps, constipation and severe flatulence. My GP hasn’t offered much help.

Some days my tummy is so bad I don’t want to go out. If I have an important event to attend, I either don’t eat at all or just eat crisps which don’t cause me to bloat. I’ve tried over-the-counter medicines, but none have helped much.

Mr West’s assessment: Hannah has classic IBS symptoms. Her mother apparently suffered from it and it can run in families.

I reassured her it isn’t associated with a higher risk of any other more serious conditions.

Treatment for Hannah is all about symptom control, as her bloating gets worse with certain foods including roast dinners and curries.

I’ve advised her to avoid these and keep a food diary to spot other triggers.

Following a low FODMAP diet, avoiding gas producers like onions, broccoli and apples, can improve IBS.

I only have a poo once a week

Michelle Nixon, 37, of Morden, Surrey, works for a medical device firm and is a married mum of two.

(Image: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror)

Abdomen exam: Normal

Diagnosis: Chronic constipation

Michelle says: I’ve suffered from constipation for as long as I can remember and only open my bowels once every seven days.

I’ve tried several laxatives, which do help me go to the loo more often.

My diet is fairly healthy, although I probably don’t drink enough fluids during the day and my exercise levels could be better. The problem does worry me.

Mr West’s assessment: Michelle has no ‘red flag’ symptoms that could indicate cancer.

Her weight and appetite are normal and she has no family history of bowel conditions.

She simply has idiopathic chronic constipation, due to a sluggish digestive system.

It would be worth having a blood test to check her thyroid levels, as constipation is a classic sign of hypothyroidism when the body doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone.

The prescription laxative Dulcolax can help her. Exercise is also important, as is drinking plenty of fluids.

I just can’t stop myself burping

Angie Chace, 66, is a retired accounts supervisor from Portsmouth, Hants.

(Image: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror)

Abdomen exam: Normal

Diagnosis: IBS – with further tests recommended

Angie says: For the past three years, everything I eat or drink makes me burp, with pain and discomfort behind my sternum.

Recently I’ve had a very bloated stomach and find both these symptoms get worse with foods such as onions, broccoli and bread. My bowels have never been regular.

Mr West’s assessment: Angie doesn’t smoke, chew gum, drink fizzy drinks or take boiled sweets – all of which can raise gas in an abdomen.

It may be her burping is due to acid reflux. I would recommend checking for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and hiatus hernia with a gastroscopy.

Her bloating symptoms sound like IBS – but because of their recent onset and her age, an ultrasound scan to rule out ovarian cancer would be wise.

My stomach pains last days

Edson Chace, 74, is a retired credit manager from Portsmouth, Hants.

(Image: Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror)

Abdomen exam: Normal

Diagnosis: Reflux disease or hiatus hernia – requires further tests

Edson says: I suffer from excessive burping about an hour after eating, which started around 10 years ago, but has got worse recently.

I also get bouts of tummy ache which can last several days. I take Omeprazole (which reduces acid levels) every day or I’m in considerable pain.

Mr West’s assessment: Despite his discomfort, Edson’s had no change of bowel habit, which is reassuring.

But he’s in a higher risk age group and, given his previous history of reflux symptoms, I’m recommending he has a gastroscopy (a camera sent down into the stomach via the mouth) to see if he has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

This occurs when stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus causing heartburn.

Or it could possibly be a hiatus hernia – when part of the stomach squeezes up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm, causing stomach acid to flow back up.

Is It Gas Pain or Something More Serious?

Although not usually a sign of serious illness, excessive gas can be a warning sign of an underlying medical issue. Excessive gas could be a sign of an abnormality with your digestive system, like gastroparesis, for example. Also, what you think are gas pains could actually be any one of a number of health problems.

Here are just a few possible causes of abdominal pain and bloating:

  • Constipation
  • Lactose intolerance or another food intolerance or allergy
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or indigestion
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Kidney stones, gallstones, or an inflamed gallbladder
  • Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • An ulcer in the digestive tract
  • Appendicitis
  • An obstruction in the bowel
  • A tumor in the abdomen

In most of these cases, you will notice symptoms other than just gas and bloating. For instance, in the case of appendicitis, there will most likely be changes to your abdomen, including stiffness and extreme tenderness. Gas pain doesn’t make your belly sensitive to the touch, so if you notice extreme pain, always seek medical advice.

If your pain, bloating, and excessive gas problems are persistent, take steps to find out the cause.

Diagnosing the Problem

A physical exam and diagnostic tests may be performed to help rule out other more serious medical conditions that could be mimicking excessive gas pain. If lactose intolerance is suspected, your doctor may schedule you for a breath test. Depending on the potential causes, other tests may include blood work, imaging — such as X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) — and endoscopy.

“Excessive gas that causes bloating and discomfort can be a challenging condition to treat,” says Shatnawei. “It often requires a change in lifestyle, which isn’t always easy. You may have to adjust your diet. For example, carbohydrates can make bloating worse. Sometimes avoiding carbonated beverages, chewing gum, legumes (like beans and lentils) or cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower) may help.”

Sensitivity to gluten can also cause bloating. “But sensitivity to gluten does not necessarily imply celiac disease,” cautions Shatnawei. It’s best to seek medical advice before eliminating gluten from your diet.

Constipation can also contribute to bloating. Exercise can help.

If an imbalance in the gut bacteria in the small bowel is suspected, probiotics may help, Shatnawei says.

If you have persistent excessive gas, abdominal pain, or bloating, and can’t get relief, it’s a good idea to head to your doctor. If the problem is intestinal gas, he can recommend ways to provide relief. And if it’s a more serious problem, you can catch it early and get started on treatment.

See also the separate leaflet called Abdominal Pain.

What is wind, gas and bloating?

There is always a certain amount of gas in the bowel. Most of this comes from air swallowed whilst you are eating or drinking. It can also happen during smoking or when swallowing saliva. Larger amounts can be swallowed when you eat quickly, gulp down a drink or chew gum. The swallowed air goes down into the gullet (the oesophagus).

If you are sitting up, the air tends to go back up the oesophagus and escapes again through the mouth in the process of belching. If you are lying flat, the air tends to pass downwards causing gas in the stomach. This can result in bloating after eating and a hard, swollen tummy. The gas eventually enters the small bowel (small intestine) and escapes through the back passage (anus). People often refer to this as ‘farting’ or, more politely, ‘passing wind’ or flatulence.

Gas can also be produced due to germs (bacteria) acting on partially digested food in the gut. This is more likely to happen with some foods than others. Broccoli, baked beans and Brussels sprouts are well-known culprits. The number of germs in the bowel also has an effect on the volume of gas produced. The gas that is made is mainly composed of carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. It may contain traces of a chemical called sulfur. This is responsible for the unpleasant smell experienced when you pass wind through the back passage.

Abdominal bloating is the term used when the tummy feels blown out, tight or full of gas. It results in a swollen stomach and the waistband of a skirt or a pair of trousers may feel uncomfortable. You may experience crampy tummy pains.

Gas and bloating symptoms

Gas-related symptoms include burping excessively, passing a lot of wind from the back passage, crampy stomach pains and a bloated belly. Gas sometimes settles in the curves of the large bowel (large intestine) under the liver or spleen. This can cause pain in the upper right or upper left areas of your tummy.

Most people who are bothered by these types of symptoms do not actually produce more gas than usual, they are just more sensitive to normal amounts. However, it is now considered that some patients with irritable bowel syndrome do produce larger than normal volumes of gas. Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition in which bouts of tummy pain are associated with bloating and changes in bowel habit such as constipation and diarrhoea. See the separate leaflet called Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Just to complicate matters further, the amount of bloating does not relate to the seriousness of the cause. People with irritable bowel syndrome may complain of severe bloating, whilst in those with coeliac disease the bloating may be mild, moderate or severe.

What causes wind, gas and bloating?

Everybody has gas-related symptoms from time to time. In most cases, this is part of the natural working of the body and the symptoms soon pass. Some people complain they are feeling bloated all the time. As mentioned above, people are occasionally sensitive to normal amounts of gas in the tummy. The reasons for this are not entirely clear.

There are some conditions associated with larger than normal amounts of gas in the tummy:

Swallowing too much air

This is called aerophagia. You may not be aware of it but you may be swallowing air frequently or in large amounts. This often happens in people who are under stress. It can be aggravated by chewing gum and smoking. Usually, air swallowed in this way passes into the gullet (oesophagus) and down into the stomach.

However, sometimes air is sucked into the back of the throat (the pharynx) and is burped out before it reaches the oesophagus. This is known as supragastric belching.

Some people swallow air deliberately to cause belching, as they find this helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion.

Diet

Foods which are well known to cause excessive wind in the gut include:

  • Broccoli.
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Starchy foods such as potatoes, corn and noodles.
  • Foods high in soluble fibre (eg, fruit, peas and beans).

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance happens when your body has difficulty digesting lactose. Lactose is present in milk and foods which are made with milk. Lactose intolerance causes diarrhoea, tummy pains and bloating. See the separate leaflet called Lactose Intolerance.

Intolerance to food sugars

Intolerance to sugars in certain foods can occur. Fructose intolerance is the most common. Foods high in fructose include dried fruit, honey, sucrose, onions and artichokes. Sorbitol is another sugar to which you can be intolerant. It is found in chewing gum and ‘sugar-free’ sweets.

Medicines

Check the leaflet of any medicines you are taking, as wind, gas or bloating can be side-effects. Metformin (a medicine for diabetes) and lactulose (a laxative) are well known to cause these symptoms. Antacids such as magnesium trisilicate help to combat indigestion but they can increase the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the stomach, and aggravate belching.

Diseases causing increased gas

Most people with gas-related symptoms have increased sensitivity to gas or have one of the causes of increased gas production mentioned above. However, occasionally these symptoms can be caused by diseases of the bowel. Sometimes, the illness can be short-lived. For example, acute gastroenteritis (also known as a ‘tummy bug’), often caused by infection with a virus, can result in a short-term condition associated with increased gas.

Occasionally, gas-related symptoms can be features of long-term diseases. All of them can cause at least one gas-related symptom (ie tummy pain, excess wind or bloating).

Examples include:

Coeliac disease
Coeliac disease is caused by intolerance to a protein called gluten which is found in certain foods containing wheat, barley and rye. It principally affects the part of the gut called the small intestine. It can occur at any age. Symptoms are relieved by avoiding gluten-containing foods. See the separate leaflet called Coeliac Disease.

Inflammatory bowel diseases
The most common inflammatory bowel diseases are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is a disease in which inflammation develops in the colon and the rectum (the large intestine). Crohn’s disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the wall of the gut (gastrointestinal tract). Any part of the gut can be affected. The main symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases are tummy pains and diarrhoea, but bloating and other gas-related symptoms can develop. The causes of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are not known. However, both conditions have genetic factors and it is thought that people who develop inflammatory bowel diseases are prone to react to infection with germs by producing an immune reaction in their bowel lining.

Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis occurs when small pouches in the wall of the large bowel (‘diverticula’) become infected. See the separate leaflet called Diverticula (Diverticulosis, Diverticular Disease, Diverticulitis).

Short bowel syndrome
Short bowel syndrome can be a complication of bowel surgery. If more than half the small bowel is removed during surgery this can cause difficulties in food absorption.

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is a poorly understood condition which is caused by an overgrowth of germs in the small intestine. It can be an aftermath of bowel surgery, and also occurs more frequently in people with diabetes, inflammatory diseases of the bowel and diverticulosis. It may be associated with irritable bowel syndrome and can cause the same sort of symptoms, particularly bloating. Indeed, it is thought that some cases of irritable bowel syndrome may be caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is sometimes treated with antibiotics such as metronidazole.

Scleroderma
Scleroderma is a condition which causes thickening of the skin and sometimes the internal organs. When the gut is affected it can cause problems in stomach emptying and irregularity of bowel movement. This can lead to bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. See the separate leaflet called Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis).
Ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer is mentioned here because, although cancer of the ovary is not a disease of the bowel, it can cause symptoms which can be confused with bowel disease. These can include feeling full quickly or loss of appetite, tummy pains and bloating. See the separate leaflet called Ovarian Cancer.

Giardiasis
This is caused by infection with a germ called giardia. One of the symptoms is belching up foul-smelling gas.

Do I need any tests for wind, gas and bloating?

Most people with these symptoms do not need any tests. However, you may need tests if you have more worrying symptoms. These can include:

The tests may include:

  • A stool sample to check for blood, high levels of fat (which could suggest problems with food absorption) and infection.
  • A lactose tolerance test.
  • X-rays of your gut.
  • Examination of your stomach or lower bowel, using a camera (endoscopy).
  • A blood test for coeliac disease.

How to reduce bloating, wind, and gas

People often ask how to stop bloating and how to get rid of a bloated stomach. There are several options available that will help with excessive flatulence and constant bloating.

Changes to your diet

  • It is known that there are some foods that make you bloated. Cutting down on these triggers will promote bloating relief. Keep a record of what you eat and drink to see if there are any foods or beverages which could be associated with your symptoms. These can include milk and milk products, certain fruits and vegetables, whole grains, artificial sweeteners and fizzy drinks. Pulses, bran and fruit contain fermentable carbohydrates, sugars which are easily broken down by the digestive system. Not only do fermentable carbohydrates cause excess gas, but they also work with germs to cause tooth decay. Reducing your intake of the fermentable carbohydrates found in sugary foods can result in several health benefits.
  • If you are lactose-intolerant you will need to avoid lactose-containing foods. Your doctor will advise how best to do this without developing complications such as calcium and mineral deficiency.
  • If you are fructose-intolerant you should avoid fructose-containing foods. Fructose is used as a sweetener in many processed foods; look for ‘high in fructose corn syrup’ on the label.
  • Live micro-organisms (probiotics) may be helpful, although the evidence is not conclusive. Probiotics are ‘gut-friendly’ germs (bacteria) such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. The specific strain of bacteria may be important but, on current evidence, it is difficult to advise which strain(s) to use.
  • Diets which combat constipation may be helpful. For example, soluble fibre such as linseed (up to one tablespoon daily) and oats are recommended.

Exercise

Exercise has been shown to improve gas-related symptoms. This is partly due to the upright position, as lying flat tends to stop gas from moving round the body.

One word of warning: excessive flatulence and belching are common in female runners. The cause for this is unknown.

Over-the-counter medicines

Simeticone is worth a try as a medication for bloating, as it is said to break up gas bubbles. There is, however, no convincing evidence in the scientific literature to support its use. It is usually sold in combination with an antacid.

Charcoal preparations, which are meant to absorb gas, may also be tried. There is some scientific evidence that they are useful as bloating remedies.

However, neither simeticone nor charcoal preparations have been found to be helpful in bloating related to irritable bowel syndrome.

Medicines which encourage the movement of the gut (prokinetic medicines) can assist with bloating relief. They can be quite helpful as bloated stomach remedies if you have excessive belching and bloating. Most of these are prescription-only preparations but peppermint can be bought in various forms.

Medicines which relieve spasm may also be helpful for bloating and distension. Medicines in this group, available without prescription, include mebeverine and alverine.

Bismuth subsalicylate has been shown to reduce the smell of gas passed through the back passage (anus). However, it should not be taken regularly due to side-effects. It is best reserved for occasional use – eg, social occasions.

Deodorising products

Carbon fibre underwear appears to be effective but is expensive. Charcoal pads and cushions are cheaper but may not be as effective.

Psychological therapies

These may be useful for people who have a low tolerance to a normal amount of gas in the stomach. Therapies which may help include mindful awareness and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Psychological therapies may also be helpful for people who have excessive belching, particularly where aerophagy is the cause. Aerophagy can also sometimes be helped by a speech therapist.

Symptoms & Causes of Gas in the Digestive Tract

In this section:

  • What are the symptoms of gas?
  • When should I talk with a doctor about my gas symptoms?
  • What causes gas?
  • What foods, drinks, or products cause gas?
  • What conditions cause excess gas or increase gas symptoms?

The most common gas symptoms include burping, passing gas, bloating, and pain or discomfort in your abdomen. Gas symptoms vary from person to person.

Burping

Burping, or belching, once in a while, especially during and after meals, is normal. If you burp a lot, you may be swallowing too much air and releasing it before the air enters your stomach.

Passing gas

Passing gas around 13 to 21 times a day is normal.1

Bloating

Bloating is a feeling of fullness or swelling in your abdomen. Bloating most often occurs during or after a meal.

Pain or discomfort in your abdomen

You may feel pain or discomfort in your abdomen when gas does not move through your intestines normally.

When should I talk with a doctor about my gas symptoms?

You should talk with your doctor if

  • gas symptoms bother you
  • your symptoms change suddenly
  • you have other symptoms with gas—such as constipation, diarrhea, or weight loss

What causes gas?

Gas normally enters your digestive tract when you swallow air and when bacteria in your large intestine break down certain undigested foods. You may have more gas in your digestive tract if you swallow more air or eat certain foods.

Swallowed air

Everyone swallows a small amount of air when eating and drinking. You swallow more air when you

  • chew gum
  • drink carbonated, or fizzy, drinks
  • eat or drink too fast
  • smoke
  • suck on hard candy
  • wear loose-fitting dentures

Swallowed air that doesn’t leave your stomach by burping moves into your intestines and passes through your anus.

You swallow more air when you chew gum; drink carbonated, or fizzy, drinks; or suck on hard candy.

Bacteria in your large intestine

Your stomach and small intestine don’t fully digest some of the carbohydrates—sugars, starches, and fiber—in the food you eat. Undigested carbohydrates will pass to your large intestine, which contains bacteria. These bacteria break down undigested carbohydrates and create gas in the process.

What foods, drinks, or products cause gas?

A variety of foods, drinks, and products can cause gas. See the following table for examples.

Table 1. Examples of foods, drinks, and products that can cause gas
Foods
Vegetables
asparagus
artichokes
black beans
broccoli
brussels sprouts
cabbage
cauliflower
kidney beans
mushrooms
navy beans
onions
pinto beans
Fruits
apples
peaches
pears
Whole Grains
bran
whole wheat
Milk Products
cheese
ice cream
yogurt
Packaged Foods with Lactose
bread
cereal
salad dressing
Drinks
apple juice
pear juice
carbonated drinks
drinks with high-fructose corn syrup
fruit drinks (such as fruit punch)
milk
Products
Sugar-free Products with Sorbitol, Mannitol, or Xylitol
candies
gum
Dietary Supplements and Additives
certain types of fiber, such as inulin and fructo-oligosaccharide, that may be added to processed foods to replace fat or sugar fiber supplements

What conditions cause excess gas or increase gas symptoms?

Some conditions can cause you to have more gas than usual or have more symptoms when you have gas. These conditions include the following:

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is an increase in the number of bacteria or a change in the type of bacteria in your small intestine. These bacteria can produce extra gas and may also cause diarrhea and weight loss. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is most often a complication of other conditions.

IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms—including pain or discomfort in your abdomen and changes in your bowel movement patterns—that occur together. IBS can affect how gas moves through your intestines. You may also feel bloated due to increased sensitivity to normal amounts of gas.

GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that occurs when stomach contents flow back up into your esophagus. People with GERD may burp a lot to relieve discomfort.

Problems digesting carbohydrates

Problems digesting carbohydrates that can lead to gas and bloating include

  • lactose intolerance, a condition in which you have digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea after eating or drinking milk or milk products.
  • dietary fructose intolerance, a condition in which you have digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea after consuming foods that contain fructose.
  • celiac disease, an immune disorder in which you cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and some products such as lip balm and cosmetics. If you have celiac disease, gluten damages the lining of your small intestine.

Conditions that affect how gas moves through your intestines

Conditions that affect how gas moves through your intestines can lead to problems with gas and bloating. These conditions include dumping syndrome, abdominal adhesions, abdominal hernias, and conditions that can cause an intestinal obstruction such as colon cancer or ovarian cancer.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *