Gas & Bloat
What is gas pain and bloating?
Intestinal gas is a normal byproduct of digestion, and burping or passing gas is not usually cause for concern. However, gas that does not move normally through your digestive system or increased production of gas places increased pressure on your digestive organs and causes bloating and pain.
Eating difficult to digest foods will cause most people to produce excess gas. Pain associated with poor digestion can often be managed by simple dietary changes. However, severe gas and gas pain can also be a sign of conditions like celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or even colon cancer.
What are the signs of excess gas?
You may be experiencing an excess of gas in your digestive system if you notice:
- Excessive burping
- Excessive passing gas (flatulence)
- Pain, cramps, or a feeling of pressure or knotting in your abdomen
- A feeling of over-fullness (bloating, distension) in your abdomen
- An observable increase in the size of your abdomen
If these symptoms occur more often, chronically, or severely than normal, you should discuss the situation with your doctor. You should see a doctor promptly if your gas pains come hand-in-hand with:
- Blood in your stool
- Unintended weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Persistent or recurring nausea and vomiting
It’s also vital to seek help if gas is accompanied by chest pain, as this could be a sign of heart problems.
How do we manage gas and bloating?
Since gas and bloating can be the result of at least a dozen very different underlying medical conditions, the first step will center around your doctor taking a detailed assessment of your symptoms and their patterns to better understand the potential underlying cause and direct the testing and treatment appropriately. We may recommend testing such as stool or breath or blood testing that will help clarify the reason for your gas production. We may recommend eliminating certain likely culprit foods, such as dairy products. In some cases, we prescribe antibiotic treatment to eliminate methane-producing bacteria that can occupy the small intestine and colon. In other cases, we will prescribe over the counter or prescription remedies to aid in the digestion of food. In almost all cases, careful analysis will reveal strategies to eliminate excessive gas production.
Consider dietary changes
More often than not, excess gas can be managed by small changes in diet. Some of the ways to keep your symptoms in check include:
- Consuming a more balanced fiber diet
- Eating less sugar and processed foods
- Avoid high lactose foods like milk, cottage cheese, or ice cream
- Limiting your intake of fried/ fatty foods
By: New York Gastroenteroloy
Reviewed by: Yevgenia Pashinsky, MD
Published: Dec 10th, 2020
Last Reviewed: Apr 2nd, 2021
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