Unwelcome Guest

Gas is an unwelcome guest that causes discomfort and embarrassment, but it is just a part of life. Like your in-laws, you may have to put up with them, but you’d like to keep the effects as minimal as possible. The good news is that there are things that can reduce the occurrence and distress of your gas and bloating ... even if we can’t say the same for your in-laws.

How Did You Get Here?

Gas is part of the digestive process. As you eat, you swallow air, which produces gas through belching. The swallowed air that is not released goes into the intestines and is released as flatulence. Bacteria in the large intestine also produce gas as they help digest the food that wasn’t digested by the small intestine. Bacteria do this by making gasses like hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide, which also leave the body as flatulence. Bloating can be caused by a buildup of gas in the body, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an excessive amount of gas—some people are just more sensitive to gas than others. The term “bloating” has been used generally to refer to a feeling of fullness or even over-fullness, but the true problem of bloating is associated with gassiness and abdominal discomfort.

Go Away!

Both gas and bloating are normal, and both are caused by foods we eat. While you can’t make the gas stop completely, there is helpful information that may help ease the discomfort. The most common foods that cause gas are roughage, which includes foods like cabbage, onions, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower; greasy, fatty, and fried foods; and high-fiber foods, especially if you’ve just started eating them. Most of these foods have healthy nutrients that you want as part of a regular diet, so eating them in small amounts may reduce the amount of gas and bloating you experience. Because swallowing air can produce gas, avoid drinking through straws, chewing gum, and carbonated drinks since these can cause air bubbles. Drinking a lot of water and keeping bowel movements regular are good ways to reduce the effects of gas-causing foods as well. When you are experiencing excessive gas, either through belching, flatulence, or bloating, try adding lemon or ginger to your water or food, as they help with digestion. When you’re bloated, exercise and stretching can help push the gas through your digestive tract and relieve the buildup.

Gas and bloating are usually not cause for concern, but if you start to experience excessive gas or the smell is consistently foul, even after changes in diet, there could be a more serious problem. Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and colon cancer can cause abdominal discomfort and irregular bowel habits, so be sure to talk to your doctor if your gas and bloating seem out of the ordinary. If you have questions about what is normal, or you are worried about excessive gas or bloating, make an appointment with Concorde Gastro today.

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