What Gas Can Tell You
posted by Gastroenterology team | October 26, 2016
It may not be appropriate dinner conversation, but gas and flatulence are realities for everyone. While it’s natural to keep these elements of life more private, many aren’t aware of the basic benefits to releasing gas – and the pitfalls we can run into within this process.
Gas within the body gets there in two ways: through swallowing air (mostly when eating or drinking) or through food digestion. When food enters the body, it passes from the small intestine to the large intestine and the digestive system gets to work. Bacteria within the large intestine break down the food, and various forms of gas are among the results.
Different foods cause different amounts of gas, and the individual in question also plays a role. Generally, though, foods high in carbohydrates – dairy, some fruits and vegetables, beans and several others – will tend to produce more gas within the stomach.
Either through belching (especially for excess air swallowed) or flatulence. Again, while these can be private and uncomfortable practices, they are a natural part of life.
Yes. While most gas is natural and non harmful, excessive amounts or bloating in the stomach can be indicative of potential disorders such as Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) or ulcers.
If you fear you’re dealing with one of these issues on a severe scale, see a doctor.
Not all excessive gas requires a doctor’s care right away. Depending on the severity, you may be able to prevent or eliminate it yourself.
The big theme here is diet. If you’re especially sensitive to certain foods, cut those down or out completely. Look for replacements in certain cases, particularly with dairy (almond milk or other dairy substitutes). If you belch too often, try tactics to swallow less air: Eat slowly, don’t chew gum and focus on breathing while you eat.
If minor issues persist, look to over-the-counter products like Tums or Rolaids. Probiotics are also an excellent way to soothe the stomach on a regular basis.
“The Digestive System and Gas.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/chronic-diarrhea-16/gas-causes-treatments
“Symptoms of Intestinal Gas.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/intestinal-gas/basics/causes/sym-20050922
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.