Expected duration of Gas or Flatulence

By  , Expert Content
Jul 07, 2012

Gas is a common medical condition, which is not life-threatening, but can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It can be caused because of several reasons.

Some of the common causes of gas include:

  • eating foods that are difficult to digest, such as fibre or foods with unabsorbable carbohydrates, such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, raisins, pulses, prunes and apples
  • constipation
  • taking antibiotics
  • certain digestive system problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), malabsorption, (a medical condition in which the intestines are unable to absorb nutrients properly)
  • not being able to digest certain foods that may lead to problems, such as gluten disease (a type of digestive problem caused because of intolerance to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley) or having lactose intolerance, (in this the body is not able to digest lactose i.e. a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products) and
  • swallowing air while eating.

Expected duration of gas or flatulence

Duration for which flatulence may last depends on its cause.

Flatulence caused because of food or eating habits improves rapidly in most people with diet and lifestyle changes (if there is no other problem that is causing gas). Since different people react differently to certain foods, even when you eat foods that usually may not cause gas, you may continue to experience flatulence. In such cases, keeping a food diary may be helpful. It may help you identify foods that bring on your symptoms.

Flatulence because of conditions, such as constipation improve when constipation improves. Gas caused by eating foods that you cannot tolerate,such as lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance improve as soon as one avoids food that causes the problem.

In people with flatulence because of irritable bowel disease and other intestinal problems, the problem may last longer or they may have recurrent relapses (when there is flare-up of symptoms of primary disease). Even in these people the symptoms can be controlled by diet changes and over-the-counter medications, such as alpha-galactosidase and probiotics.



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