What Is Gas in the Digestive Tract?
Gas is air trapped in the digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. It can be caused by swallowed air or the normal breakdown of undigested food.
Gas is very common. In fact, the average individual makes 1 to 4 pints a day and passes gas about 14 times each day. Despite that frequency, it can still be an embarrassing situation for some.
Symptoms of gas include:
Belching – A belch can help release gas when the stomach is full of food. While it’s normal to belch during or after meals, chronic belching may be a sign of a gastrointestinal disorder.
Flatulence – One of the more embarrassing symptoms of gas, flatulence is perfectly normal and can help remove gas from the digestive tract.
Abdominal bloating – Gas causes bloating in the digestive tract, but may also be a sign of more serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease.
Abdominal pain and discomfort – Gas can cause cramping and pain in the stomach.
Gas is very common. If you are experiencing gas, try adjusting your diet to see if that helps reduce gas. Cut out foods like beans, soft drinks and milk products. If you continue to experience chronic gas, contact a gastroenterologist. A specialist can do a complete exam and order diagnostic tests to ensure a more serious condition isn’t causing frequent gas.
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