Gas: Understanding your Health
When people complain of gas, they usually mean one or more of the following:
*Belching of air from the stomach.
*Bloating of the abdomen after eating.
*Passing gas from the rectum.
Foods that contribute to gas production:
*Legumes: dried beans and peas, baked beans, kidney, black and pinto beans, refried beans, soy beans and Lima beans.
*Dairy Products: Milk, ice cream and cheese.
*Vegetables: Cabbage, radishes, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, sauerkraut, kohlrabi, asparagus, potatoes, rutabaga and turnips.
*Fruits: Prunes, apricots, apples, raisins, bananas
*Grains: Cereals, breads, pastries and all foods containing wheat and wheat products.
*Fatty Foods: Pan-fried or deep fried foods, fatty meats, rich cream sauces and gravies, pastries and any high-fat food.
*Liquids: carbonated beverages such as soda and beer, fizzy medicine.
Bloating: Bloating, that feeling of swelling in the stomach, is usually just a sensation of being “full” or “stuffed”. However, for some it can feel downright painful. For unknown reasons, bloating occurs more often in females.
It is not necessarily caused by too much gas. Usually bloating is related to the function of the digestive tract. Motility refers to the contraction that automatically move food through the digestive tract. Poor motility slows the movement of food through the stomach and intestinal tract. Disorganized motility is contractions that aren’t working together to push food forward in the digestive tract. Fatty foods can also take longer to move through the digestive system, leading to bloating.
Bloating is often a part of irritable bowel syndrome, a condition in which there is disorganized motility and contractions of the bowel. Sometimes bloating is caused by a disorder in the stomach or upper part of the digestive system. In order to determine the cause of excessive bloating, the physician may perform tests such as x-rays and endoscopy. Endoscopy is a visual examination of the esophoscopy is a visual examination of the esophagus and stomach by passing a thin, flexible, lighted tube down a patient’s throat.
When bloating happens frequently, the physician may prescribe medications to stimulate contractions in the digestive tract. Usually however bloating is not serious. It may be caused by certain foods or simply by eating too fast. A change in eating habits is often all that is needed to control this condition.
Excessive flatus (rectal gas) is usually produced by bacteria in the colon (large intestine). There are thousands of different bacteria normally present in the colon. Most are harmless or even beneficial to digestion. However, bacteria rely on carbohydrates and sugars for their food. In the process of breaking down these nutrients, bacteria generate gases such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. These gases such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. These gases are usually reabsorbed and do not cause excessive flatus. But everyone digests foods differently and some people have disorders that interfere with the normal digestive process.
For example, lactose is a sugar found in milk. It requires the enzyme lactase for digestion. A person with lactase deficiency may not be able to digest lactose properly, therefore the lactose passes undigested into the colon, where gas-forming bacteria thrive on them, generating a large amount of gas. Some foods, such as legumes, cabbage and certain types of bran contain carbohydrates that the stomach and small intestine cannot digest. But they can be digested by the bacteria in the colon, which break down these carbohydrates for food and release gas in the process.
For people frequently bothered with excessive gas, a special diet may be recommended to identify and eliminate the offending foods. A list of foods that help you figure out if a food is causing excessive gas.
Gas Elimination Trial Diet:
First, check with a physician to rule out any other medical causes for excess gas. The physician can also give advice on maintaining adequate nutrition.
This trial diet may be conducted in one of two ways:
- Eliminate one category of gas-producing foods for at least a week. If there is no reduction in gas, add back that food and try eliminating a different category. Follow this procedure until reaching a level of gas that is tolerable.
- Eliminate all categories from the diet for three or four days. Then add one food at a time back to the diet. Continue to include this food in the diet for three or four days. If it causes no problems, it may be kept in the diet. If it does cause gas, eliminate it and go on to the next food.
Sometimes the food may not have to be completely eliminated; smaller amounts may be tolerated. For example, many people complain that adding fiber to their diet causes gas. Ye, this problem seems to be reduced if the fiber is added gradually over a period of several weeks. These procedures require time and patience but can be very effective in controlling an uncomfortable problem. Regardless of whether the trail works or not, remember that rectal gas is not harmful to the body.
Everyone belches occasionally, especially after eating. However, some people belch frequently and it becomes annoying and embarrassing. Belching is the result of too much air in the stomach. It gets there by swallowed with food or liquid. Then the stomach releases it back up the esophagus in a belch. The more a person swallows, the more air goes into the stomach and the more belching. Some people are known as air swallowers. They gulp large amounts of air when eating or drinking. It may be that they produce larger quantities of saliva that requires frequent swallowing or they just have a nervous habit of swallowing more often.
Occasionally it is necessary to treat excessive belching with medicine. But most patients can reduce belching by following simple lifestyle changes to correct the causes.
Hints for Reducing Belching:
Air swallowers should concentrate on trying to reduce the number of times they swallow.
*Avoid pipes, cigarettes, cigars, chewing gum and hard candy, avoid sipping through straws and bottles with narrow mouths and avoid dentures that do not fit properly. All of these can increase saliva and/or air swallowing.
*Avoid foods that contain air such as carbonated beverages and whipped cream. Fizzy medicines, such as Alka-Seltzer, also add air to the stomach.
*Eat slowly. Gulping and beverages adds large amounts of air to the stomach.
Smelly Flatus and Prebiotics:
When you talk about intestinal gas, it almost always refers to either bloating of the abdomen as my occur after eating or rectal gas and flatus. It is now well known that the large intestine or colon has trillions upon trillions of bacteria. These bacteria rely on fiber and other left-over nutrients from food we eat for their own nutrition and growth. Various gases are produced in the colon including hydrogen and methane. These are harmless, odorless gases which are simply expelled as flatus. Another gas is called hydrogen sulfide. This sulfide gas is what gives flatus its smelly odor. The bacteria that make this unwelcomed gas need a neutral environment-neither acidic or alkaline.
Let’s talk about prebiotics. A prebotic is a plant fiber that beneficial colon bacteria use to grow. In so doing, they create an acidic condition in the colon whereby the sulfide causing bacteria do not grow. Flatus no longer stinks. The key is to increase the amount of prebotic fibers from foods or a dietary supplement until this point is reached. Prebiotics do not decrease the amount of flatus. They will decrease or eliminate the smell. Prebiotic foods can be found at prebiotin.com and a dietary supplement, Prebiotin, can be obtained at the same place.
Gas may refer to belching, abdominal bloating or rectal gas. For some people it may be simply an embarrassment, while for others it can be quite uncomfortable. However, it is rarely a serious medical problem. A physician can help a person suffering from gas find simple solutions to significantly reduce the problem.
Disclaimer: This information was taken from the Meducate by GI Supply and I give them full credit for the information. If you need anymore information on the subject, please check out their website at http://www.gi-supply.com.