Stomach Gas: Prevalence and Its Causes
Stomach gas is a highly prevalent global condition amongst people. Belching and flatulence affect about 10 to 20 percent of adults. This occurs because you tend to ingest air while you are eating or drinking which subsequently results in gas accumulation in your stomach.
Burp and flatulence are two of the modes for the expulsion of gas depending on which region of the digestive tract is the gas trapped in. However, not all gases are triggered by food, chronic bloated states can be suggestive of an underlying pathology such as IBD, IBS, constipation, GERD, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, food intolerance, etc.
Excessive use of carbonated drinks, chewing gums, consumption of food items like broccoli, beans, cabbage, asparagus, cheese, bread, and milk, loose-fitting dentures, and smoking can induce gas production in healthy individuals. Bacterial fermentation of undigested food in the intestines can generate gases including oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane.
Carbohydrates, lactose particularly, are the most common food source implicated in gas formation thereby affecting the subset of lactose intolerant population the most. Wearing tight-fitting garments, long-term use of cold-relief medications, talking while eating, or eating too much can contribute to the overloading of the stomach with gas.
Stomach gas can induce a variety of digestive symptoms, which differ from one individual to the next. Symptoms that are common include:
- Belching or burping
- Stomach cramps
- Bloated stomach or a feeling of fullness
- Distention (an increase in abdomen size)
- Chest pains
Gas can possess varying characteristics, ranging from mild to severe in intensity or intermittent to constant.
Treatment and Prevention
Accompaniment of any associated symptoms like change in bowel habits, weight loss, persistent constipation or diarrhea, vomiting, and bloody stools is highly suggestive of an underlying problem that must be identified immediately by a Gastroenterologist in Lahore.
- Identifying and avoiding your food triggers is an important step to regulate your stomach issues
- Chew slowly and fully
- Slow down and eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Increase your overall physical activity during the day to help sustain proper digestion
- Say no to smoking
- Make sure to get your fittings of a denture regularly examined by a dentist, if you wear one
- Drink beverages of mild temperature
- Avoid carbonated drinks
- Stomach gas is one of the reasons why you must never eat in a hurry
- Incorporate a stroll into your routine after every meal
- Sit up straight right after eating, do not lie down
- Avoid chewing gums
- Be sure to maintain adequate fluid intake
If dietary and lifestyle modifications do not suffice, you can also avail OTC alternatives. Intake of lactase and alpha-galactosidase supplements before meals can help digest dairy and carbohydrate-laden products respectively thereby preventing gas production. Medications including Pepto-Bismol, simethicone, and activated charcoal are the possible alternatives to relieve the digestive gases however they are preferred to be administered under a doctor’s prescription.
Although, with no authentic scientific approval, some conventional remedial methods have positive implications in digestive management. This includes peppermint tea, chamomile tea, anise, caraway coriander, fennel, and turmeric among many other options.
The trapped digestive gases usually do not add to the predisposition of an individual to diseases, however, medical intervention is necessitated if it does resolve on its own and persist on a chronic term to eventually impact the lifestyle negatively and hence, precipitate a deteriorated health condition.
A gastroenterologist in Karachi can treat stomach gas and related conditions so patients are advised to go to the hospital if they feel their condition is worsening.