Stomach gas is normal, but it can result in bloating and abdominal cramping, along with an urgent need to belch or pass gas through your rectum (flatulence). Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can be embarrassing. If you pass gas as often as 10 to 20 times daily, you need not be concerned, as this is normal. However, if you are having gas and stomach pain more frequently, you may want to seek some type of treatment for relief.
Certain foods and beverages can cause excessive gas. These include sugars, beans, certain vegetables (such as cabbage and broccoli), lactose (diary products), fructose (foods like onions, artichokes, wheat and pears), sorbitol (most fruits), starches (such as corn, pasta and potatoes) and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber breaks down in the large intestine and can result in gas as it is processed. Other causes include swallowing too much air, a side effect of antibiotics, constipation or laxatives.
Diet changes are often recommended to avoid the foods that cause excessive gas. Limiting foods with a high fat content can help lessen bloating, which means less stomach pain. Avoid foods that contain sugars (such as lactose, fructose and sorbitol), starches and soluble fiber. It is good to eat insoluble fiber, found in foods like whole wheat, wheat oats, some vegetables (green beans and leafy green vegetables), seeds and nuts, because they prevent constipation and do not cause excessive gas. Not everyone has problems with the same foods. Determine which foods are causing you problems and avoid them.
Over-the-counter remedies may aid your digestion of gas-causing foods. Examples are Dairy Ease and Lactaid for those who are lactose intolerant, and Beano, which helps with your digestion of foods like vegetables and beans. Drinking a cup of peppermint tea may sometimes bring some relief. If you continue to have gas and pain despite changing your diet, your doctor may prescribe a medication to relieve your symptoms, particularly if it is due to a bowel disorder.
Several smaller meals spaced throughout the day may help. Take your time when you eat and chew each bite thoroughly. Drinking through straws, chewing gum and sucking on hard candies can all result in more swallowed air, so they should be avoided. Cigarette smoking also increases how much air you are swallowing. Do not eat when you are stressed or in a hurry to avoid indigestion. Regular exercise may also relieve some of your symptoms.
Stomach pain and gas can also be a sign of an inflammatory bowel disease, such as colitis or Crohn's disease. Another possible condition is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus from your stomach. Peptic ulcers can also cause these symptoms. If you are experiencing chronic gas, pain and bloating, you should consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.