The production of gas is a normal and natural part of the digestive process. Sometimes, it’s mistakenly seen as unhealthy because of the uneasiness it causes. The truth is, gas is produced by the bacteria in your gut when food is broken down into simpler compounds. Sometimes, it can build up inside your body, leading to bloating and pain.
When is it too much gas?
The number of times an individual passes gas in a day varies from person to person. This makes it difficult to determine how many times passing gas would be called ‘normal’. The best way to determine if your body is producing an excessive amount of gas is to compare it with the number of times you pass gas on an average. If it is more than usual, it’s a sign of excessive gas building up. Another sign to look out for is sharp pain or cramps in your stomach or abdomen. This pain can move around, and end just as fast as it started. You may also feel like your stomach is in knots.
Maintaining a diet journal and frequently reviewing it could easily help you identify what foods produce more gas in your body, and it is best to remove them from your meals. An easy way to tell if intestinal gas is the cause of bloating and discomfort is an urge to pass gas or to belch and get relief due to the same. If your pain goes away by making certain changes to your diet, like eliminating dairy, cutting back on fiber, or limiting high-fat foods, then it’s nothing to be worried about.
But sometimes, what may feel like pain due to excessive intestinal gas could even be a heart attack. Knowing the difference between the two hence becomes important. But how can you tell when to take an antacid and when to call an ambulance?
How to tell the difference?
If you have excess gas, it can be dangerous to ignore warning signs that your body gives you. Seek immediate medical care if you experience:
• Change in consistency of stools or bloody stools
• Change in frequency of bowel movements
• Weight loss
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Persistent or recurrent nausea or vomiting
• Prolonged abdominal pain or chest pain
What else could it be?
While not typically a sign of serious illness, excessive gas could point to an underlying medical issue, some of which might be:
• Food intolerance (such as Lactose intolerance) or allergy to specific ingredients
• Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
• Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
• Kidney stones, gallstones, gallbladder inflammation or appendicitis
• An ulcer in the digestive tract, an obstruction in the bowel or even a tumor in the abdomen
• If the pain is sudden and unbearable, along with cold sweat, nausea or shortness of breath, then it may be a heart attack.
In most cases, you will notice symptoms other than just gas and bloating. Do note that gas pain will never make your tummy sensitive to the touch. This means that in the event of extreme pain, immediate medical advice is essential; if the discomfort is extreme and persistent, make no delays in detecting the culprit.
What to do about it?
If your gas pains are regular and so acute that they interfere with your ability to function well in daily life, then a visit to the doctor is in order. Intense gas pain that causes severe uneasiness can be a challenging condition to treat. Treating it might need a change in lifestyle, which starts with your diet. It is best to consult a dietician, who can suggest diet plans that give relief from gas pains. A dietician will completely remove certain foods from your diet and replace some foods with probiotics, while at the same time, take care that no deficiencies arise in your body. Exercise and yoga can work wonders too.
Getting a physical examination or undergoing diagnostic tests can be useful in discovering medical conditions whose symptom could be excessive gas pain. Depending on the potential causes, tests such as imaging (X-ray, computerized tomography (CT) and endoscopy) or blood tests become necessary.
If it really is a more serious problem and not just gas, it is best to catch it early and begin treatment. A quick reaction when you feel symptoms is extremely important. A large population of the world suffers from gas problems so there is no need to be embarrassed. You do not want to wait until it is too late!
To get instant relief from gas and indigestion, turn to Gas-O-Fast’s Active range. It comes in tasty natural flavors and is fizzy to drink when mixed in water. It is tested to have no side effects and also comes in a sugar-free tablet.