Gas. It happens to everyone, but how much is normal and what causes it? Your digestive system is an intricate network of chemicals, bacteria, organs and more all working together to break down your food into fuel. After you eat, you may notice that you have more gas depending on the meal you had. That gas happens as the body’s response to the trouble it has digesting certain foods you’ve eaten. Sometimes it can’t digest food, but it must pass it through your system still. Gas helps the body do that. Find out how that gas forms, what causes it and how you can reduce the amount of gas you have with meals!
How Much Gas is Normal?
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), passing gas around 13 to 21 times a day is normal. If you are wondering what isn’t normal, watch out for the following red flags: 1) gas symptoms that bother you; 2) symptoms that change suddenly; and 3) other symptoms with gas—such as constipation, diarrhea, or weight loss.
What is the Reason for Gas Symptoms?
There a few reasons why gas symptoms occur. One of the most common is from swallowing air. Most of us don’t realize we are doing it, but everyone swallows some air when they drink and eat. However, there are some behaviors and foods that cause to swallow more air than we need. These include:
- chewing gum
- drinking carbonated drinks
- eating or drinking too fast
- sucking on hard candy
- wearing loose-fitting dentures
When swallowed air enters your stomach it doesn’t have anywhere to go unless you burp where it then moves into your intestines and leaves the body as gas.
Another common reason gas symptoms occur is because of what you are eating. Certain foods are more difficult for your large intestine to digest. Sugars, starches, and some fiber aren’t digested and instead pass into the large intestine and collide with bacteria. Bacteria in the large intestine breaks down undigested carbohydrates and creates gas in the process.
And then there are the trigger foods. Certain foods are known to cause gas to collect. The NIDDK lists the following foods as common gas producers:
- Vegetables: asparagus, artichokes, black beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kidney beans, mushrooms, navy beans, onions, pinto beans.
- Fruits: apples,peaches, pears
- Whole Grains: bran, whole wheat, cereal
- Milk Products: cheese, ice cream, yogurt, lactose products
- Drinks: apple juice, pear juice, carbonated drinks drinks with high-fructose corn syrup, fruit drinks (such as fruit punch)
- Sugar-Free Products with: Sorbitol, Mannitol, or Xylitol, candies, gum
- Dietary Supplements and Additives: Certain types of fiber, such as inulin and fructo-oligosaccharide, that may be added to processed foods to replace fat or sugar fiber supplements
Medical Conditions that Cause Gas Symptoms
Sometimes gas symptoms are occurring because of an underlying condition. Consider the following medical conditions that can be causing your symptoms:
IBS (also called spastic colon, leaky gut, irritable colon, or nervous stomach) is a condition in which the colon muscle contracts more easily than in people without the condition. It is estimated that up to 45 million people, or 10-15% of the American population, suffer from IBS. About 2 in 3 IBS sufferers are female, while about 1 in 3 IBS sufferers are male. IBS affects people of all ages, including children. There are three primary types of IBS: IBS with constipation predominance (IBS-C), IBS with diarrhea predominance (IBS-D), and mixed IBS (IBS-M), which presents as an alternating pattern of constipation and diarrhea.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
SIBO is a condition in which bacteria in the small intestine has overgrown and become chronic. In most patients, SIBO is not caused by a single type of bacteria, but is an overgrowth of the various types of bacteria that should normally be found in the colon. Bacteria are normally present throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract, but in varied amounts. Relatively few bacteria normally live in the small intestine compared to the large intestine. SIBO has been shown to negatively affect both the structure and function of the small intestine. It may significantly interfere with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients leading to serious malnutrition, primarily by damaging the cells lining the small bowel. This damage to the small intestinal cells can lead to leaky gut, which can lead to a whole host of problems from inflammation, to autoimmune disease, to food allergies.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that occurs when stomach contents flow back up into your esophagus. People with GERD may burp a lot to relieve discomfort.
Difficulty Digesting Carbohydrates
Problems digesting carbohydrates that can lead to gas and bloating include: celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and dietary fructose intolerance. At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare, we can help diagnose and treat your symptoms to help your day-to-day life be more comfortable!
Call for a Gas Consultation
Learn how to combat your inflammation today and how you can benefit from gut testing. Call 970-631-8286 and discover how healthy you are on a biochemical, molecular level. Learn strategies and tips to balance your body physically, mentally and emotionally so you can have what you need for total body wellness.