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We all know the signs of having excessive gas in your body – a bloated stomach, loss of appetite, frequent burping, and of course, passing gas. Although there is a sense of embarrassment that follows frequent farting and belching, the sound and the odor aren’t the only things you have to worry about, especially if you fart over 20–25 times a day. Passing gas and burping excessively are your body’s natural response to gas buildup in your body. Here are some reasons why you might be having this flatulence.
1. Your Diet
Your food, without a doubt, majorly contributes to a gassy stomach. The commonly known foods that cause gas are mentioned below. Needless to say, it is not wise to eliminate these foods from your diet completely. However, if you are often affected by flatulence, it is wise to intake these foods in moderation.[ref]Helpful hints for controlling gas (flatus). University of Michigan Health System.[/ref] [ref]Tips on Controlling Gas. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.[/ref]
- Spicy food: It increases the speed in which the food moves through your bowels. And if food moves too quickly, it might cause gas.
- Fried food: It contains saturated fats, which results in bloating and excessive gas.
- Certain vegetables: Certain vegetables like broccoli, beans, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, potatoes cucumbers, green peppers, onions, radishes, celery, and carrots are known to increase gas. They contain a complex sugar called raffinose, which is known to cause bloating.
- Sugar-free foods: Although considered healthy, they contain sorbitol, which can make you feel gassy.
- Certain fruits: Some people might have a tough time digesting fructose, a fruit sugar that is a component of all fruits. The fruits that are high in fructose include apples, peaches, raisins, bananas, apricots, prune juice, and pears.
- Whole grain foods: The fiber and starch present in whole grain foods are sometimes not fully digested in your stomach and are instead broken down by the intestinal bacteria, which results in gas.
- Carbonated drinks and alcohol: Sodas and certain alcohol beverages (like wine and dark beer) are aerated and increase the amount of air you swallow. This leads to increased bloating, passing gas, and belching.
- Dairy: The lactose in milk, cheese, and other dairy products can cause gas in some people.
- Chewing gum: Although not strictly considered a “food”, frequent chewing of gum can also lead to gas.
Meanwhile, there are certain foods that reduce flatulence and deserve a place in your diet. These include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, certain vegetables (like lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, okra), certain fruits (like cantaloupe, grapes, berries, cherries, avocado, olives), and foods with healthy carbs (like gluten-free bread, rice bread, and rice)
2. Swallowing Air
While this isn’t something you do consciously, swallowing air is often the reason for excessive gas in most people. Chewing gum, wearing loose braces or dentures, eating or drinking too fast, and smoking are some of the factors that might cause you to swallow air. When this swallowed air reaches the stomach, it is either expelled by burping or by passing through your anus.[ref]Symptoms & Causes of Gas in the Digestive Tract. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.[/ref]
3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS or the Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder that causes intestinal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and gas. Along with altering bowel movements, IBS also affects how gas moves in your intestine. If you suffer from this disorder, it’s important to keep your diet in mind and avoid the foods that contribute to gas[ref]Symptoms & Causes of Gas in the Digestive Tract. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.[/ref]
4. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
A chronic disease that affects digestion, GERD cause the contents of your stomach to go back up into your esophagus. This causes frequent burping and a general feeling of discomfort. A study published by American Journal of Gastroenterology state that people affected by GERD swallow air up to 287 times and burp about 52 times a day, which is significantly higher than the 7 times that healthy individuals burp.[ref]Burping and GERD. GI Society, Canadian Society Of Intestinal Research.[/ref]
5. Food Intolerances
If you’re allergic or intolerant to certain foods, then your body cannot digest the carbohydrates present in them.[ref][ref]Symptoms & Causes of Gas in the Digestive Tract. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.[/ref]
Common food intolerances include:
- Gluten intolerance and celiac disease: Gluten is present in foods containing wheat, barley, and rye. If your body is intolerant to gluten (or if you have an autoimmune condition like celiac disease) and you accidentally consume gluten-containing foods, the lining of your small intestine can get damaged. This can lead to digestive issues, including bloating and gas.
- Lactose intolerance: If you are sensitive to milk and milk products, then you might experience conditions like flatulence, bloating, and nausea after consuming lactose-containing foods.
- Dietary fructose intolerance: If you are intolerant to fructose, then you might want to stay away from fruits and other fructose-containing items, as they can cause excessive air and belching.
6. Reaction To Medication
If you are under medication, then that might the cause of excessive gas in your body. Gas, bloating, and nausea are frequently experienced side-effects of certain medicines that are used to treat diarrhea and narcotic pain. If your body is prone to being gassy, then you might want to discuss alternative medication with your doctor. Gas can also be the result of consuming fiber supplements, multivitamins, and iron pills.
Remember, gas is a reason for worry only if you pass it over 20 times a day. If you feel bloated and gassy all the time, then it is wise to consult a medical practitioner to rule out serious complications like dumping syndrome, abdominal adhesions, abdominal hernias, and colon or ovarian cancer.