Although gas may be uncomfortable and embarrassing, it is not life threatening. Understanding causes, ways to reduce symptoms, and treatment will help most people find some relief.
- Everyone has gas in the digestive tract.
- People often believe normal passage of gas to be excessive.
- Gas comes from two main sources: swallowed air and normal breakdown of certain foods by harmless bacteria naturally present in the large intestine.
- Many foods with carbohydrates can cause gas. Fats and proteins cause little gas.
- Foods that may cause gas include
- vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, onions, artichokes, and asparagus
- fruits, such as pears, apples, and peaches
- whole grains, such as whole wheat and bran
- soft drinks and fruit drinks
- milk and milk products, such as cheese and ice cream, and packaged foods prepared with lactose, such as bread, cereal, and salad dressing
- foods containing sorbitol, such as dietetic foods and sugar-free candies and gums
- The most common symptoms of gas are belching, flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain. However, some of these symptoms may be caused by an intestinal disorder, such as IBS, rather than too much gas.
- The most common ways to reduce the discomfort of gas are changing one’s diet, taking digestive enzymes to help digest carbohydrates, and reducing the amount of air swallowed.
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