What is Intestinal Gas?
Intestinal gas is usually associated with flatulence. There are several causes of intestinal gas with numerous bowel movements, and approximately 80 to 90 percent of the problem results from bacterial metabolism.
The word ‘bacteria’ generally emits a negative reaction, but there is good as well as there is bad bacteria. A great amount of helpful bacteria exists along with bad bacteria in the intestines. The purpose of the helpful bacteria is to aid with digestion. Bacterial metabolism is that which produces the basic elements of intestinal gas; these are hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. Intestinal gas may be diffused in the blood and exit through the lungs, or escape from the stomach as belching. A great deal of bacteria-generated intestinal gas exits from the body as flatulence.
Foods That Cause Intestinal Gas
Intestinal gas is either caused by the fermentation of undigested food in the colon; or when the digestive system does not completely break down some components in foods.When the bacteria in the intestines are overfed with excess sugar, they produce excess gas. There are a number of foods that trigger this production of gas.
Foods that contain a large amount of sugar are high on the list. So are beans and cabbage which contain a certain fiber that is difficult to digest and is perfect food for bacteria. Beans also contain large amounts of a complex sugar called raffinose. Cabbage contains this sugar to a lesser extent. Gas-producing foods include:
Vegetables: beans, peas, cabbage, broccoli and onions.
Fruits: apples, bananas, prunes, dried fruit, melons
Fiber: oatmeal, whole grains
Sugar: large amounts of sugar, such as sugar in sodas, or lactose in milk.
The bacteria in the intestines absorb the undigested sugars and grow rapidly. As they grow they multiply; and as they multiply, they produce gas. However, foods that produce gas in one person may not in another. The balance of the good and bad bacteria determines why some people have more gas than others. Lactose intolerance by some people is a familiar cause. So too is carbohydrate malabsorption. Even swallowed air which migrates to the colon can cause intestinal gas.
Other Causes of Intestinal Gas
Other causes of intestinal gas and numerous bowel movements include ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome and pancreatic insufficiency. In severe cases, the cause could be diseases like colon and rectal cancer or hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).Antibiotics and medications can also cause changes in intestinal bacteria resulting in intestinal gas and numerous bowel movements.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Problems with intestinal gas and bowel movements usually resolve on their own, if you observe the cause and respond accordingly. For example, try to avoid the foods that you suspect caused the problem to occur. Eat fewer fatty foods and cut back on high-fiber foods. You may even try an over-the-counter remedy. such as Lactaid or Dairy Ease.
Consult your doctor if symptoms do not improve following changes in your eating habits. Be on the lookout for severe diarrhea, blood in stools, nausea and vomiting or abdominal and rectal pain. While intestinal gas and numerous bowel movements are common, the above mentioned symptoms can be the cause of an underlying digestive problem and you should seek medical help urgently.
Unless your doctor is dealing with the severe case of an underlying disease, there really are no easy tests that can assess causes of intestinal gas and numerous bowel movements of patients. A doctor may order routine blood tests and X-rays but they do not help in diagnosis of such complaints.
Treatment options are usually simple over-the-counter drugs to take care of the gas problems. Avoiding the foods which you know cause you gas are the best treatment options. Even chewing sugarless gum with the sweetener sorbitol can cause gas problems; so in this scenario, prevention is better than cure.
1. Gas In the Digestive Tract
2. intestinal Gas (Stomach Gas)