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Gas and gas pains


Disease: Gas and gas pains Gas and gas pains
Category: Other Diseases

Disease Definition:

People generally pass gas at least 12 or more times a day. Everyone has gas and gas pains, however, some people have excess gas and gas pains, which bothers them most of the time. Gas that cannot be passed could sometimes cause intense and intermittent abdominal pain.


Despite the fact gas and gas pains can't be stopped, however, there are a few simple measures that could help relieve discomfort and embarrassment, and help reduce the amount of gas a person produces.


Work Group:

Symptoms, Causes


Some of the most obvious signs and symptoms of gas and gas pain include:


  • Abdominal bloating (distention)
  • The voluntary or involuntary passing of gas, either as flatus or as belching
  • Sharp and jabbing pains or cramps in the abdomen. These pains could change locations quickly and occur anywhere in the abdomen. A person may also experience a "knotted" feeling in their stomach. Sometimes, the person may feel like something is seriously wrong because of the intensity of the pain. Gas pain could be mistaken for heart disease when it occurs on the upper left side. Gas pain could also be mistaken for gallstones or appendicitis when it occurs on the right side.


Passing gas between 10 to 20 times a day is considered normal. However, in case someone experiences severe, prolonged or recurrent pain in their abdomen, particularly if they also have weight loss, bleeding, nausea, vomiting, fever or chest pain, they should call the doctor. Additionally, in case gas or gas pains are persistent and severe enough that they interfere with the person's ability to live a normal life, they should also talk to a doctor. Usually, treatment helps in reducing or alleviating the problem.


Every time a person eats or drinks, they swallow air. Someone may also swallow air when they're nervous, chew gum, drink through a straw or eat too fast. Some of the swallowed air finds its way into the lower digestive tract. When bacteria in the colon ferment carbohydrates that aren't digested in the small intestine, most of the lower intestinal gas is produced.


Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, such as beans and peas, are the worst offenders, along with other healthy foods because they are high in fiber. Although fiber could lead to the formation of gas, however, it has many health benefits, such as regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels, along with keeping the digestive tract in good working order. Fiber supplements that contain psyllium, such as Metamucil, particularly when added to the diet too quickly, will cause gas problems. Another thing that causes gas is carbonated beverages, such as beer and soda.


Some of the other causes of gas are:


Because antibiotics disrupt the normal bacterial flora in the bowel, in some cases they could cause excess gas.

Another health condition:

Diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis are some of the more serious chronic conditions that could cause excess gas.


Constipation could lead to bloating and discomfort because it makes it difficult to pass gas.


Problems with excess gas could be contributed to by the excessive use of laxatives.

Artificial additives:

It could be also possible that someone's system cannot tolerate the artificial sweeteners called mannitol and sorbitol, which are found in some sugar-free foods, candies and gums. After consuming these sweeteners, many healthy people develop gas and diarrhea.

Food intolerances:

Someone's body may not be able to break down the sugar (lactose) in dairy foods in case their gas and bloating occur mainly after they eat dairy products. After age 6, many people aren't able to process lactose efficiently. In some cases, even infants are lactose intolerant. Excess gas, diarrhea and even weight loss could be caused by other food intolerances, such as gluten, which is a protein that is found in wheat and some other grains.


Gas pain could be due to anything that causes intestinal gas or is associated with constipation or diarrhea. Usually, when gas builds up in someone's intestines and that person isn't able to expel it, these pains occur. Although gas pains are intense, but they're typically brief and usually disappear once the gas is gone. The gas that is passed is a combination of:


  • Oxygen
  • Hydrogen
  • Nitrogen
  • Methane
  • Carbone dioxide





In case someone's gas pains are due to an underlying condition, then treating that condition could provide relief. In other cases, dietary measures, lifestyle changes or over-the-counter medications are how bothersome gas is usually treated. The solution is not the same for everyone; however, most people are able to find some relief after a trial and error period.



Listed below are some of the dietary changes that could help reduce the amount of gas someone's body produces, or help move the gas more quickly through the system:

Cutting back on fried and fatty foods:

Eating fatty foods usually causes bloating. Fat could increase the sensation of fullness and it delays stomach emptying.

Identifying and avoiding foods that usually affect the most:

Beans, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichokes, apples, cauliflower, pears, peaches, prunes, chewing gum and sugar-free candies, carbonated beverages, whole-wheat bread, cream, milk, bran cereals or muffins, ice milk and ice cream are some of the foods that cause gas problems for many people.

Cutting back on high fiber foods temporarily:

After cutting back on high fiber foods, they can be gradually added again over weeks. In case a person takes a fiber supplement, they should try cutting back on the amount that they take and then build up their intake gradually. They could try a different fiber supplement in case their symptoms persist. A person should make sure that he/she drinks plenty of liquids throughout each day, and that they take fiber supplements with at least 8 ounces of water.

Reducing the use of dairy products:

Instead of milk, a person can try using yogurt or other low-lactose dairy foods. They could also try using products that help digest lactose, such as Dairy Ease or Lactaid. In order to digest milk products easier, someone may try consuming small amounts or consuming them with other foods. However, in some cases, a person may have to completely eliminate dairy foods.

Drinking a cup of peppermint tea:

Menthol has an antispasmodic effect on the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. Peppermint oil contains menthol. Although peppermint could contribute to heartburn and acid reflux, however, it could provide relief from gas and gas pain.



Even though some over-the-counter products could help, however, they're not always effective. Some of these remedies include:

Activated charcoal:

Taking charcoal tablets before and after a meal could be of some help. Many drugstores and natural food stores have these tablets.


Simethicone helps break up the bubbles in gas and could help with excessive belching. A person should try using one of the many over-the-counter products that contain simethicone.

Lactase supplements:

In case a person's lactose intolerant, supplements of the enzyme lactase could help them digest lactose. In addition, many grocery stores have dairy products that are lactose-free or have reduced lactose.


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