Intestinal gas

What is Intestinal Gas?

Intestinal gas is a common problem that affects people of all ages. It occurs when gas accumulates in the gastrointestinal tract as a result of digestion. Gas buildup may be caused by the breakdown of food in the large intestine, swallowed air, or a bacterial overgrowth.

Symptoms of Intestinal Gas

The symptoms of intestinal gas can vary from person to person. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain or cramps in the abdomen
  • Belching
  • Flatulence (passing gas)
  • Stomach bloating
  • Feeling of pressure or fullness in the abdomen

Causes of Intestinal Gas

Intestinal gas can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Swallowing air - This can occur when you eat rapidly or talk while you are eating. It can also occur when you use a straw, chew gum, smoke, or drink carbonated beverages.
  • Foods that contain certain carbohydrates, including sugar alcohols (such as sorbitol and xylitol), fiber, and certain starches that your body cannot digest. Common foods that can cause gas include beans, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine - This typically occurs when the balance of bacteria in the gut is disrupted. This can happen as a result of antibiotic use or other medical conditions.
  • Digestive disorders - Certain disorders, such as lactose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome, can lead to gas buildup.

Treatment of Intestinal Gas

In many cases, simple dietary and lifestyle changes can help relieve intestinal gas. Some common treatments include:

  • Avoiding foods that may contribute to gas, such as beans, certain fruits, and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cabbage).
  • Eating more slowly and avoiding talking while you are eating.
  • Avoiding beverages with carbonation.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Taking probiotics that contain beneficial bacteria.

If lifestyle changes do not help, your doctor may recommend medication to help reduce gas. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat the underlying cause of the gas buildup.