Everyone has stomach gas and it can be experienced at any time. Stomach gas is caused by the food you eat and the air you swallow. Sometimes you may feel discomfort or get stomach upset if the amount of gas in your stomach increases. The problems are usually transient and disappear once stomach gas is released. For long-term problems, it is good to review your diet and avoid certain foods.
Stomach gas is common in both children and adults. It is a particularly common problem during pregnancy.
The main cause of stomach gas is carbohydrates as they break down. Stomach gas can also be caused by the air you swallow when you eat and drink. Fiber is useful because it aids digestion and ensures a steady level of blood sugar and cholesterol, but it can also produce a lot of gas. Other causes of stomach gas:
- intolerance or allergies to certain foods.
The most common symptoms of stomach gas are stomach bloating, stomach cramps, abdominal distension or a feeling of fullness. You may suffer from abdominal pain as well.
Prevention and protection
Try to empty the bowel regularly, which will release the gases. Exercise can be also good. Pay attention to what you eat – it can help to avoid gas forming foods – eg coarse vegetables such as beans, cabbage, and onions. Dairy products can also cause gas and bloating, so consider lactose-free alternatives. Also, fructose and the sweetener sorbitol may cause problems.
You may swallow less air by avoiding:
- carbonic acid
- chewing gum
Remember to eat slowly and chew properly in order not to swallow too much air. Eat several times a day in slightly smaller portions. You can also purchase non-prescription drugs at pharmacies that can reduce stomach gas problems.
Treatment depends entirely on the cause of your stomach gas. If you are unable to associate your problems with a particular food or drink, a dietician can help you find a diet that will make your stomach function better. There are also medicines that relieve the symptoms. For severe problems that are not transient, health care can help you to determine if you are, for example, lactose or gluten intolerant. If stomach gas occurs together with other symptoms, the entire disease picture must be weighed in order to determine which treatment is required.
When to consult a doctor
If the problems limit your everyday life despite dietary changes, you should get medical advice. You should also consult a doctor if you have had gas together with altered stools for more than two weeks – especially if you are over 50 and have not had problems before. In the case of involuntary weight loss as well as reduced appetite, you should also seek medical attention.
If you experience acute abdominal pain, you should seek urgent care.
How APPOTEK can help
APPOTEK can help you with stomach gas problems. A nurse or doctor will make an individual assessment based on your symptoms during the care meeting. You may then be prescribed medicines, special diets, or referred for further treatment. A physical examination is often required in case of upset stomach and abdominal pain.
If it is your child who has a problem, he or she should see a doctor.