Why Am I So Gassy? 4 Causes of Gas and Bloating
Almost everyone feels gassy and bloated sometimes. But some people experience it frequently and wonder why it’s happening so often.
Gas in the stomach is frequently caused by swallowing air while eating and drinking, which is generally released by burping. In the intestines, gut bacteria produce gas while digesting carbohydrates such as fiber, starches, and sugars, a process known as fermentation.
Passing gas can often eliminate the gas that’s in the digestive tract. However, excessive fermentation may result in lots of gas trapped in the digestive system, causing gas pain or bloating.
4 Causes of Gas and Bloating
1. Consuming certain foods and beverages
Foods that are high in fiber can increase gas production, especially if you eat a lot of fiber when you aren’t used to it. Examples of high-fiber foods include:
- Whole grains
- Beans and peas
Fiber supplements such as Metamucil may also increase gas.
Other foods or drinks that can increase gas include carbonated beverages such as soda and beer. Sugar substitutes like artificial sweeteners have been known to cause excessive gas production.
2. Food intolerances
People who eat foods they can’t tolerate will produce more gas because they can’t digest and break down the foods effectively. This is different than food allergies, which can be life-threatening.
Lactose, the sugar in dairy products, and gluten, which is found in wheat and other grains, are two common food sensitivities. Different types of foods can cause food intolerance, especially those containing sulfites, histamines, or FODMAPs.
Foods that contain sulfites include:
- Potato chips
- Beer and wine
- Canned vegetables
- Pickled foods
Foods that contain histamines include:
- Aged cheeses
- Citrus fruits
- Fermented foods – like sauerkraut and kimchi
Foods that contain FODMAPs include:
3. Eating habits
Some habits, such as eating too quickly, chewing gum, and talking while chewing, lead to increased swallowed air and gas build-up in the stomach. Drinking through a straw can cause you to swallow more air than drinking without one.
4. Medical conditions
Gas discomfort and bloating can be caused by medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic intestinal diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, constipation, and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – IBS is a chronic condition that affects the intestine. Gas and bloating are common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As high as 90% of IBS patients report gas pain or bloating.
- Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease – Inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease damage the gastrointestinal tract’s inner lying, leading to indigestion and obstruction of gas passing.
- Constipation – Constipation can cause difficulty passing gas due to blockage. Feces can harden and accumulate in the colon, increasing the bowel volume and causing bloating. Constipation can be intermittent or persistent.
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) – Increased bacterial growth in the small intestine may lead to excessive gas production. When gut bacteria from the colon enter the small intestine, the balance of gut bacteria is disrupted, resulting in increased gas production.
When Should I See a Doctor?
Occasional gas and bloating are typical and may resolve on their own. However, severe gas and bloating could signal underlying digestive or intestinal conditions. It is essential to see a doctor if gas pain and bloating are persistent and interfere with daily life.
Seeing a doctor is important if the gas and bloating are accompanied by:
- A change in stool consistency
- A change in bowel movement frequency
- Significant weight loss
- Nausea or vomiting
- Prolonged abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly
Don’t suffer from unnecessary gas pain or bloating. Schedule an appointment today!