Gas and Bloating
According to the American Dietetic Association – on average, a person produces 0.5 to 2.5 liters of gas per day. Gas in the intestinal tract comes from either one of two sources – swallowed air or is the byproduct from bacteria in the intestines. If gas is trapped within the intestines or food is not digested properly, it can cause a bloated stomach which is a feeling of swelling or fullness in the abdomen.
What are the Causes of Gas and a Bloated Stomach?
- Abnormal levels of bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO)
- Swallowing/ Gulping Air
- Drinking Carbonated Beverages
- Drinking Through a Straw
- Chewing Gum and Hard Candy
- Food Intolerances (e.g. Milk Products or Legumes)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Celiac Disease
Everyone experiences gas and bloating at some time in their lives. Because each person’s digestive tract processes foods differently, it may be hard to pin-point the exact cause of your symptoms. Some of the causes may be everyday things that can be reduced or eliminated from your life, thus reducing the symptoms you experience from gas. However, if your gas and bloating persists, gets in the way of your everyday routine, or becomes painful, you should see a gastroenterologist. Dr. Brown will then be able to rule out the major-medical conditions and find a treatment regimen to keep you relatively gas and bloating-free.
When to See a Doctor for Bloating
In some instances, a bloated stomach can occur due to a larger medical issue. It’s recommended to be evaluated by a medical professional if you experience any of these symptoms along with a bloated stomach:
- Any Bleeding (e.g. in your stool)
- No bowel movement for 3-days
- Uncontrolled Diarrhea or Vomiting
- A loss of Consciousness
These recommendations represent some of the reasons to seek medical attention when experiencing bloating and other symptoms. You should always see a doctor if you’re in need of urgent care.
Things to discuss with your Doctor
When preparing to see your doctor to discuss symptoms of bloating and abdominal discomfort, it’s helpful if patients Individuals can describe their conditions as accurately and concisely as possible. Keeping track of the things that trigger your symptoms is a good way to help your doctor discover the root cause.
Here are a few questions to consider when preparing to see your doctor to discuss bloating and abdominal discomfort.
- Is the symptom located in the upper or lower abdomen? Also, is it in a concentrated area?
- Do certain foods trigger your symptoms? If so, create a list of the foods.
- Are you experiencing burping, nausea or vomiting with your bloating or distension?
- Does the bloating or distension relate to passing gas or a change in your bowel habits (diarrhea, constipation, or alternation of both)?
- Would you describe your symptoms as occurring more during the day or improve during night-time hours