Call it blowing gas, blowing wind, or farting; most healthy people do it 14 to 25 times a day.
But if you fart more than the average person, you may wonder what's going on in your digestive tract and if your flatulence is a sign of a more serious health condition.
This article looks at the difference between normal and excess gas. It also describes the possible causes of flatulence, what you can do to reduce gas and bloating, and when to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider.
Symptoms of excessive gassing
Your healthcare provider may recommend that you estimate how many times a day you emit gas. They may also recommend that you keep a food and drink diary to see if excess gas is related to your diet.
Any amount greater than 23 bunches per day is considered more than normal, but is nonetheless not a cause for concern.
Does the smell mean something?
The smell of gas depends on the food you eat and is the result of gas produced in the small and large intestine during digestion. Everyone agrees that animal proteins, such as eggs or meat, cause a more unpleasant gas smell, while soluble fiber (such as those found in fruits and vegetables) can produce gas, but not it smells so bad.
A foul smell on its own means nothing, except for possible embarrassment when the exhaust gas occurs at the wrong time.
Excessive amounts of gas can be caused by habits, foods, and certain health conditions.
You may not realize that you have habits that often cause you to swallow air. You may spit up most of it, but something may stay in your stomach and will eventually be released at the opposite end when you have gas.
Swallowing air can lead to smoking, chewing gum, sucking on hard candy, drinking soda, eating or drinking too fast, or wearing loose dentures. Anxiety can also cause you to swallow more air, which creates more gas. You can try to fix these problems to see if you will reduce your emissions per day.
Food and drink
Most people know which foods cause an upset stomach and bloating or gas. For example, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are the common culprits for gas. Eating a lot of carbohydrates, such as pasta and bread, can also lead to excess gas. Other foods and drinks that cause flatulence include:
- Lentils and beans
- Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt (especially if you are lactose intolerant )
- Soy products like tofu and soy milk.
- Vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, asparagus, artichokes, onions, mushrooms, cabbages, and cucumbers.
- Fruits like apples, peaches, pears, and fruit juices.
- Whole grains and bran
- Alcohol (especially beer that is also carbonated)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup Drinks and Sodas
- Chewing gum and sugar-free candy (due to sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol )
As you get older, you may have more problems with these foods than when you were younger.
It is important to note that many foods that cause flatulence are also good for you, such as cruciferous vegetables. In this sense, having a lot of gas can simply be a sign that you are following a healthy diet. Many people find that the amount of gas they emit increases when they decide to become healthier and add these foods to their diet.
Most of the time, excess gas production is due to what you eat and drink, as well as habits that force you to swallow air. But it can be a sign of certain medical conditions. Other causes of excess gas include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease ( GERD )
- Lactose intolerance
- Fructose intolerance
- Malabsorption problems
- Celiac Disease
- Stomach disease (such as food poisoning)
- Bacteria overgrowth in the small intestine
- Conditions that cause a blockage in the intestinal tract, which may include adhesions in the abdomen, abdominal hernia, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer (associated with bloating, but not gas).
- Childbirth, which affects the muscles and nerves around the anus and causes new mothers to have more gas over the course of several months.
When to contact your healthcare provider
If you are concerned about flatulence and bloating, discuss these symptoms with your doctor. They will check your medical history and symptoms to see if they indicate a health condition that could cause excessive flatulence. Many of them are treatable.
Before your visit, keep a diary of what you eat, drink, and do, as well as your flatulence episodes. This will be a useful part of your visit. Be sure to talk about digestive and systemic symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, changes in bowel habits, or rectal bleeding .
Your healthcare provider will review your medical history and take a closer look at your symptoms and your overall health. She may recommend many different tests, depending on your specific symptoms.
Prevention and treatment
If your healthcare provider gives you the green light that you are not sick, they may send you home with a new prescription for gas masks like simethicone. There are also some things you can do to reduce flatulence.
- Stop smoking .
- Gradually introduce more insoluble fiber (such as bran and edible vegetable skins) into your diet.
- Limit your intake of carbohydrates like pasta or corn.
- Chew your food well as carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth.
- Drink lots of fresh water every day. Hot water in the morning, like a glass of hot lemon water, can help get things going and prevent constipation, which can cause gas and bloating. Tea can help too.
- Do not use a straw when drinking.
- Avoid carbonated drinks.
- Do not lie down immediately after eating.
- Exercise every day if it is safe for you.
- Stop chewing gum.
- Slow down and enjoy every meal, don't swallow it.
- Try heating, for example, a heating pad or a heating pad. The heat will help relax the muscles in the colon, causing them to release trapped gas.
While some of these things primarily cause belching or gassing through the mouth, if the air passes through the stomach, it will sooner or later escape.
Over the counter drugs
Over-the-counter options can also help:
- A laxative (check with your healthcare professional first) can help.
- Simethicone products like Gas-X can provide relief, but not for everyone.
- Beans are helpful if symptoms appear after eating beans or certain vegetables.
- For those with lactose intolerance, lactase supplementation (such as Lactaid) allows for smaller servings of dairy.
- Probiotics can generally improve the balance of your gut bacteria, helping to address the underlying causes of gas and bloating.
Get the word of drug information
Everyone has gas, but it can be frustrating if you experience gas more often than usual. The most common causes of gas production are lifestyle factors such as smoking, chewing gum, and the specific foods you eat. This is not always a bad thing, and many people find that they get more gas when they introduce healthier foods into their diets.
By studying your habits and evaluating what you eat and drink, you can prevent some episodes, or at least feel comfortable knowing they are normal. At the same time, excess gas can sometimes be a sign that something is wrong with your body. If symptoms persist, especially if you notice other changes, make an appointment with your doctor.