Day 219-Wednesday’s Medical Minute-What Causes Gas?

There are those who would say farts are funny. I would have to agree, depending on the circumstances. There are times though, when flatulence is a real problem, it may cause pain similar to a heart attack and it might be helpful to some of you to get to the root of your gas problems. Maybe you don’t realize that gas is a symptom sometimes of something more serious than eating Grandma’s cabbage, and there are ways to lessen your discomfort, if you just knew what to avoid.

Gas is caused by many factors including:

  1. Lactose Intolerance-The inability to fully digest sugar (lactose) in dairy products
  2. Food Intolerance- Digestive problems that occur after a certain food is eaten
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome- An intestinal disorder causing pain in the belly, gas, diarrhea, and constipation
  4. Celiac Disease- An immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye
  5. Gluten Sensitivity- Sensitivity to gluten

The symptoms of each factor are similar and can include; passing excessive amounts of gas, bloating, cramps, belching, discomfort, flatulence, fat in stool and urgent need to defecate.

Well some things just can’t be helped, like after eating some high fiber foods like fruits and veggies, or you may burp after accidentally swallowing gas while eating. But what if your symptoms are telling you there are more serious problems going on? Would you want to get to the bottom of it, maybe change your diet or check with a doctor?

If you experience excessive gas, it may also be a symptom of another health condition such as diverticulitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease, or a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine from conditions such as diabetes. If you use artificial sweeteners, they may also be the culprit, many folks just can’t tolerate things like mannitol, and xylitol which are found in some sugar-free foods, gums and candies. I learned this the hard way, not knowing how mannitol affects you, I ate three pieces of a particular brand of sugar-free chocolate candy one time. Not pretty!

Ok, there are obvious ways to reduce the amount of gas your body produces, like stop eating the offending food, or drinking soda which has bubbles, but what if you aren’t sure the cause? If you experience persistent pain, you need to check with your doctor. He will schedule tests after an exam, like a blood or breath test and possibly specialized x-rays to determine the cause(s) of your excessive gas.

We all have and pass gas, and sometimes, it’s just funny. But when you can’t stop, or find yourself hurting no matter what you eat, or what otc medicine you try, please go get checked out and make sure something more serious isn’t going on.

Luckily, I have never been much of a milk drinker, when I started eating a more Paleo diet, I switched to almond and/or coconut milk. I notice if I slip or cheat, I get excessive gas. No ice cream for me I’m afraid, unless I make my own from coconut milk, bananas or cashews. If you check out my Pinterest board on Everything Paleo, you will find a delicious recipe for Coffee Cashew Ice Cream which I pinned from Do You Even Paleo. You might even find something else you like while you’re there, go check it out!

Plus, there are ways to minimize the gas your body creates on a normal basis;

  1. If you drink about 30 minutes before your meal, instead of with it, your body will digest the food better.
  2. If you ate and drank slowly, you would swallow less air, which means less gas.
  3. You could try taking a digestive enzyme like Beano to break down the sugar from beans and other vegetables.
  4. You could try activated charcoal, found in pill or liquid form, which helps reduce gas and creates firmer stools.
  5. You could try not drinking through a straw, and chewing gum (guilty on both counts) which may cause your stomach to fill with air. So does smoking. (not guilty, I vape)
  6. Avoid certain artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, and mannitol. Read the labels if you aren’t sure. I use Stevia which is natural.

I hope this has helped you identify some of the reasons you may have gas, simple or excessive, and that you go get yourself checked out if you are experiencing more serious symptoms like prolonged pain, bloating or frequent belching. Ask me any question on the subject and I’ll try to find you the answer. For me, eating natural healthy foods is going to produce it’s share but by not eating gluten-which I make it a point not to, I reduce my occurrence of stomach discomfort, diarrhea and constipation. If you want to know more about the Paleo lifestyle, check out Mark’s Daily Apple and  Dr Axe websites that explain the best ways to heal leaky gut and eat for optimal health. Enjoy your day and see ya tomorrow, on the patio!

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About Kim Smyth

I love writing about my passions, my paleo journey and essential oils and what they do for me. I want to help others by giving them useful news they can use and teach them about this lifestyle I've grown to love. I'm married and we have three grown children who are off living their​ own lives. We also have two pets, our Shorkies who are like our babies. Find me at Kimmy's Patio or drop me a line at contact@kimsmyth.org or kimberlysmyth@icloud.com.
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2 Responses to Day 219-Wednesday’s Medical Minute-What Causes Gas?

  1. msgt3227 says:

    The sugar alcohols (xylitol, mannitol, et-al-itol) are my major gas producers… even one piece of gum with these will turn me into, well, someone you don’t want to be near!

    Liked by 1 person

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