By Medicover Hospitals / 11 Feb 2021
Gas in the stomach is mainly due to swallowing air when eating or drinking. Most of the gas in your stomach is released when you burp. Gas is formed in the large intestine (colon) when bacteria ferment carbohydrates, fiber, some starches, and some sugars that are not digested in the small intestine.
- What is gas?
- Home Remedies and Prevention
What is gas?
The complaint is known as "intestinal gas" is common and the discomfort can be quite significant. All have gas and, by burping or moving it through the rectum, removes it. Most times, people think they have too much gas when they have normal amounts. In 24 hours, most individuals create 1 to 3 pints of intestinal gas and transfer gas an average of 14 times a day. It is composed primarily of odorless vapors such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and in some families, methane. The unpleasant odor is because of bacteria in the large intestine that releases small amounts of gases that contain sulfur.
You can rest easy knowing that there are only two major causes of ingestion of air from intestinal gas and bacterial breakdown of substances found in certain types of food. If you pass gas more often than this regularly, you could have excessive flatulence.
In the normal course of the day, we all swallow a little air. This air is usually released through the process of burping or burping. However, this air can also reach the large intestine, where it is released through the rectum in the form of flatulence. If you swallow more air frequently, you may experience excessive flatulence. It can also cause belching.
Reasons you may swallow more air than normal include:
- bubble gum
- sucking on objects such as pen caps, candy
- drinking carbonated drinks
- eating or drinking too fast
- smoking: cigarettes, cigars, and pipes
- poorly fitting dentures
Your dietary choices can lead to flatulence and excessive intestinal gas. Some foods that increase gas include:
These foods can take a long time to digest, causing the unpleasant odor associated with flatulence. Some foods that the body cannot completely absorb, too. This means that they pass from the intestines to the colon without being fully digested first. The colon has a large number of bacteria, which then break down food, thus releasing gases.
- Foods rich in fructose or sorbitol, such as fruit juices
Some substances in the food we eat are not well digested or absorbed by our bodies. When these substances, mainly carbohydrates such as simple sugars and starches, reach our large intestine, bacteria act on them within our intestine. The result of this decomposition is the release of gas. This gas is usually carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane, and nitrogen. Although some of these gases may be ingested and exhaled into the bloodstream, most of them are emitted via the anus.
The main components of food that can trigger the release of intestinal gas are:
Fructose: This sugar is found in some fruits and vegetables, as well as many processed foods in the form of high fructose corn syrup. It is estimated that approximately 15% to 25% of the population have difficulty digesting and absorbing fructose, a condition called fructose malabsorption. However, eating too many fructose-containing foods too close to each other can result in intestinal gas excessive even in people who do not have fructose malabsorption.
Lactose: This sugar is found in milk and other dairy products. People who are lactose intolerant lack sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase and therefore cannot digest lactose. When lactose is not digested, it is available for intestinal bacteria to act on, with a subsequent release of gas.
Raffinose: The large amount of this sugar in beans contributes to their well-earned reputation as gas. Raffinose is also found in vegetables like cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
Sorbitol: Sorbitol occurs naturally in many fruits and is an artificial ingredient in many sugar-free foods. Sorbitol is classified as a polyol or sugar alcohol. About 8% to 12% of the population cannot absorb sorbitol.
Here are some foods products that cause gas:
Your doctor will want to know what foods you consume and what your symptoms are because diets are the major cause of gas. They may ask you to keep a record of what you eat and drink to help them identify the foods that are causing you problems. They may also ask you to keep a record of how often you pass gas.
After your doctor has outlined the causes of your excess gas by reviewing your symptoms and medical history, he or she may perform one or more of these tests to see what is going on in your digestive tract:
- Testing images: Tests for images, including computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen, are among the first procedures that doctors perform to diagnose the cause of the pain caused by gases. An MRI or ultrasound may also detect problems in the digestive tract.
- Contrast X-rays: Barium (swallowed or inserted into the rectum) may help any abnormalities in the digestive tract show up better on X-ray images.
- Endoscopy: This may include a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or upper endoscopy. These tests use a tube with a camera on the end to look for abnormalities. An endoscope that goes into the rectum examines the colon. To view the upper part of the digestive tract, it is inserted through the mouth and down the esophagus into the stomach.
- Blood work: Your doctor will draw a blood sample and run a series of tests to look for any infection or a sign of another health problem to see if that is causing your gas.
- Breath test: A breath test may be done if your doctor suspects that you may be lactose intolerant. After drinking a solution that contains glucose, the amount of hydrogen in your breath will measure too much showing lactose intolerance.
Treating the underlying condition can provide relief if your gas pains are caused by another health issue. Otherwise, bothersome gas is usually treated with dietary measures, lifestyle modifications, or over-the-counter medications. Although the answer is not the same for everyone, most individuals will find some relief with a little trial and error.
Diet changes can help reduce the amount of gas your body produces or help gas move more quickly through your system.
Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs:
The following products can reduce gas symptoms in some people:
- Alpha-galactosidase (Beano, BeanAssist, others) helps beans and other vegetables dissolve carbohydrates. Take the supplement just before eating
- Lactase supplements help you digest the sugar in dairy products (Lactaid, Digest Dairy Plus, others) (lactose). These reduce the symptoms of gas if you are lactose intolerant
- Talk to your doctor before using lactase supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Simethicone helps break up gas bubbles (Gas-X, Mylanta Gas Minis, others) and can help gas pass through your digestive tract. Little clinical evidence of its efficacy in relieving gas symptoms is available
Home Remedies and Prevention:
If it contains a lot of carbohydrates that are difficult to absorb, consider replacing them. Strong alternatives are carbohydrates that are simpler to digest, such as potatoes, rice, and bananas.
- Keep a food diary: This will help you identify your triggers. After you identify some foods that are causing you excessive flatulence, you can learn to avoid them or eat less.
- Eat less much: Try to eat five to six small meals a day instead of three larger ones to help your digestive process.
- Chew properly: Avoid doing anything that could increase the amount of air you.
- Swallow: This includes making sure you chew your food properly and avoid chewing gum or smoking.
- Exercise: Some people find that exercise helps promote digestion and can prevent flatulence.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Gas in the stomach is mainly due to swallowing air when eating or drinking. Most of the gas in your stomach is released when you burp.
Temporary discomfort and bloating may indicate a normal buildup of gas, but excess gas that is accompanied by abdominal pain, bloating or fullness, nausea, or weight loss could be a warning sign of a more serious health problem, especially if you have not made any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.
In cases where excessive farts are not easily controlled with home remedies, consult your doctor.
New England Journal of Medicine - https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM197509112931103
Science Direct - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0016508598701337
BMJ - https://gut.bmj.com/content/48/1/14.short