Gas and Bloating
About Gas and Bloating
The average adult produces about one to three pints of gas each day, which is passed through the anus 14-23 times daily. Belching/burping before or after meals is also normal. The amount of gas produced by the body depends upon your diet and other individual factors. Certain foods and medical conditions can cause you to produce excessive amounts of gas.
Many factors contribute to gas and bloating. Eating too quickly can cause ai swallowing, leading to bloating. Food sensitivities such as lactose intolerance can cause excessive gas. Air swallowing can occur with gum chewing, smoking, posture, carbonated beverages, gulping food, hard candy, dentures, anxiety, or altered anatomy. High fat foods and foods such as peppermint or chocolate can cause increased belching. Excess gas can be produced from digestion of food by intestinal bacteria, small bowel bacterial overgrowth, or increased intake of lactulose, fructose, sorbintol, fiber, carbonated beverages, or pork.
Gas and bloating commonly occurs within a few hours of a meal. Abdominal distention, pain, belching, and flatulence are common symptoms.
Evaluation often includes keeping a food diary to identify triggering foods. Sometimes evaluation will be done to assess for lactose or fructose intolerance, or small bowel bactrial overgrowth.
Prevention and Treatment
Some modifications that can decrease the production of gas include:
1) Avoiding food that may contribute to the problem
a. Dairy: Avoid dairy for 1 week and if symptoms are significantly improved, either continue to avoid dairy products, or use lactaid.
b. Artificial Sweeteners
c. Vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, brussel sprouts, brocolli
d. Starches, such as potatoes, corn, pasta, and wheat
e. Soluble fiber such as oat bran, beans, peas, and fruits
f. The amount of gas caused by certain foods varies from person to person. Learn by trial and error, or keep a journal of diet and symptoms.
2) Simethicone (gas-x or beano) with meals
3) Pepto Bismol
4) Probiotics, such as Align and Florastor