While looking for a handout for a patient I came across a fantastic summary about gas in the digestive tract. Gas can be a huge source of distress since there are only two points of exit for gas (upper and lower).
Points to Remember
• Gas is air in the digestive tract.
• Everyone has gas. However, many people think they pass gas too often and that they have too much gas. Having too much gas is rare.
• Gas in the digestive tract is usually caused by swallowing air and by the breakdown of certain foods in the large intestine by bacteria.
• Most foods that contain carbohydrates can cause gas. In contrast, fats and proteins cause little gas.
• Foods that produce gas in one person may not cause gas for someone else.
• The most common symptoms of gas are burping, passing gas, bloating, and abdominal pain or discomfort.
Gas can be treated by reducing swallowed air, making dietary changes, or taking over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Burping, or belching, once in a while, especially during and after meals, is normal. However, people who burp frequently may be swallowing too much air and releasing it before the air enters the stomach. Passing gas around 13 to 21 times a day is normal.
People’s eating habits and diet affect the amount of gas they have. For example, eating and drinking too fast may increase the amount of air swallowed, and foods that contain carbohydrates may cause some people to have more gas. Tracking eating habits and symptoms can help identify the foods that cause more gas. Avoiding or eating less of these foods may help reduce gas symptoms.