Can excessive gas be a sign of a serious health condition?

Gas is a part of healthy digestion, and it is typical to pass gas daily. Excessive gas may be due to diet, lifestyle, or an underlying health issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, or a stomach ulcer.

Diet can play a significant role in how much gas people experience, and some health conditions can also affect how much gas individuals produce.

This article looks at conditions that may cause excessive gas, whether excessive gas is a cause for concern, tips to reduce gas, and when to speak with a doctor.

Certain health conditions may increase the levels of gas people experience:

Irritable bowel syndrome

IBS is a condition affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and causes several symptoms, such as abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements.

IBS may cause excessive gas, as it can alter how gas travels through the intestines.

Treatment for IBS may include:

  • diet and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding gluten or eating more fiber
  • medications to manage symptoms, such as loperamide (Imodium) or lubiprostone (Amitiza)
  • probiotics
  • relaxation or mental health therapies

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

IBD is the umbrella term for two conditions: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

People with Crohn’s disease may have difficulty absorbing food properly into the small intestines, which can increase the amount of undigested food in the colon. Bacteria in the colon break down the undigested food, but this increases gas production.

People with Crohn’s disease may also be more likely to have a lactose intolerance, which can increase gas production.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which eating gluten causes damage to the small intestine.

The disease can cause gas, bloating, and many other symptoms, such as:

Food intolerances

Certain food intolerances can mean people have difficulty digesting particular carbohydrates, which may cause gas. This includes:

  • Lactose intolerance: Individuals may notice symptoms after consuming foods or drinks containing lactose, such as dairy products.
  • Fructose intolerance: People may notice symptoms after consuming foods or drinks containing fructose, such as fruit or honey.

Alongside gas, people may also experience bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Stomach ulcers

A stomach ulcer is a sore on the abdominal lining or the lining of the first section of the small intestine.

Stomach ulcers can cause an excess of gas, which can lead to belching and bloating. Other symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain
  • feeling full quickly while eating or uncomfortably full after eating
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Treatment may include medications to help the ulcer heal.

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

SIBO is an excess or change of bacteria in the small intestine. These bacteria can produce additional gas, which may lead to people experiencing more gas than usual.

Other symptoms of SIBO include:

  • bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • weight loss
  • malabsorption, in rare cases

SIBO may occur as a complication of other health issues, such as immune, metabolic, or gastrointestinal conditions. However, dietary changes and antibiotics may help treat SIBO.

According to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research, research suggests that, on average, people may produce around 0.6 to 1.8 liters of gas daily.

A typical person will pass gas around 12–25 times daily. Gas builds up throughout the day, and people pass the most gas while sleeping.

The following factors can influence how much gas someone passes:

  • swallowing air, such as when chewing gum or smoking
  • the type of foods they consume
  • medications
  • stress

Reducing the amount of air people swallow may help reduce gas. This can include the following measures:

  • avoiding chewing gum
  • avoiding sucking on hard candy
  • avoiding or reducing carbonated or fizzy drinks
  • avoiding drinking with a straw
  • sitting down to eat rather than eating on the go
  • eating slower and more mindfully
  • avoiding talking while eating or drinking
  • quitting smoking, if applicable
  • ensuring any dentures fit correctly

People may also find that changes to their diet may help ease gas. If certain foods are causing an increase in gas, a doctor may suggest reducing them, such as:

  • sugar-free gum or candies, as these may contain certain sweeteners that may increase gas
  • foods high in fiber, fructose, or lactose
  • cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower
  • legumes, such as beans, lentils, and peas

If people have certain conditions, such as celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or fructose intolerance, they may need to eliminate foods containing gluten, lactose, or fructose.

In some cases, a doctor may suggest supplements or medication to help reduce gas symptoms, particularly if an underlying health issue is causing excessive gas.

A person can speak with a doctor if they are experiencing excessive gas that is affecting their everyday life or causing severe symptoms. They can also consult a doctor if they have any sudden changes in symptoms.

People will need to speak with a doctor if they have any additional symptoms, including:

  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • unintentional weight loss

Gas is a typical part of a healthy digestive system, and people need to pass gas every day.

If individuals are experiencing excessive gas, it may be due to consuming certain foods or drinks, swallowing excess air, or an underlying health condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome or food intolerance.

If excessive gas is an issue for people, or if they have any additional symptoms, they can speak with a doctor to find out the cause and discuss a treatment plan.

link

Leave a Reply

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