Bloating Gas Pains: Intestinal gas (bloating) is typically caused by the fermentation of undigested food in the the large intestine by “friendly” bacteria.
Fermentation produces gas, which distends and bloats the intestines and causes discomfort.
Components of food that human digestive systems commonly have trouble completely digesting.
Include insoluble plant fiber, excessive amounts of fructose, milk sugar (lactose) and gluten protein.
Passing gas, dietary modifications and certain medicines can help you alleviate gas pain from bloating.
Bloating Gas Pains
1. Don’t be afraid to pass gas.
Probably the most straightforward method of alleviating abdominal pain from gas accumulation is getting rid of it by passing the gas (also called flatulating or farting).
Most peoples and cultures regard passing gas in public as bad manners, so be discreet about it and go to the bathroom to pass gas.
To help facilitate passing gas, go for a leisurely walk outside and/or lightly massage your abdomen in a downward manner, which may help push the gas out of your large intestine.
- The gas produced by fermenting bacteria in your large intestine is a combination of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane and sulfur compounds — which contribute to the foul odor.
- Flatulence often becomes more common with age, often due to a decreased production of digestive enzymes.
2. Try to relieve the pain by belching.
Another way to pass gas, albeit from the opposite end, is by burping or belching.
Although you don’t make much impact on lower intestinal gas by belching.
It can certainly get rid of excess gas in the stomach and upper intestinal tract.
Accumulation of air in the stomach can occur from gulping liquids or eating food too quickly, drinking through a straw, chewing gum and smoking.
The accumulated air can be relieved easily, quickly and painlessly by belching.
Although drinking too much carbonated liquid can cause bloating.
A few sips of something fizzy is helpful for promoting belching and gas release.
- Natural remedies sometimes used to encourage belching include ginger, papaya, lemon juice and peppermint.
- Much like passing gas, many peoples and cultures (but not all) regard loudly belching in public as bad manners, so act accordingly.
Bloating Gas Pains
3. Avoid foods that cause gas.
Some foods have a tendency to create intestinal gas because they are difficult to digest or contain compounds that irritate the stomach or intestines.
Common gas-causing or bloating foods include beans, peas, lentils, cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, prunes, and mushrooms.
Eating too much insoluble fiber (found in most veggies and the skins of some fruits), fructose sugar (found in all fruit, particularly sweet berries) and gluten (found in most grains such as wheat, barley and rye) can also lead to bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.
If you love to eat raw veggies and fruit, then eat smaller portions, chew them slowly and allow more time for digestion.
- People with celiac disease are particularly sensitive to gluten, which irritates their intestines and triggers abdominal pain and bloating.
- Other intestinal disorders that cause people to be more sensitive to bloating include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- Beverages that can trigger bloating include coffee, fructose-rich drinks, beer and carbonated sodas with artificial sugar (aspartame or sorbitol).
Bloating Gas Pains
4. Eat foods that won’t increase bloating and gas pains.
Ginger, raw honey, peppermint, chamomile, cinnamon, cucumber, banana, pineapple, fennel and flax seeds, probiotic yogurt, and kale.
5. Avoid dairy if you’re lactose intolerant.
Lactose intolerance is the inability to produce enough (or any) lactase enzyme, which is needed to properly digest and break down milk sugar (lactose).
Undigested lactose ends up in the large intestine and provides a substrate for friendly bacteria to ferment and use as food — which produces gas as a byproduct.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance include flatulence, bloating, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
As such, reduce or avoid dairy product consumption if you suspect a lactose intolerance problem, particularly cow’s milk, cheese, whipping cream, ice cream and milkshakes.
- The ability to make lactase drops off rapidly after childhood, which means there’s more risk of lactose intolerance as you get older.
- If you want to continue to consume dairy products without the risk of gas and abdominal pain due to lactose intolerance, then buy some lactase enzyme capsules from a health food store or pharmacy.
- Take a few enzyme capsules before you indulge in food that contains dairy.
6. Mix a teaspoon or two of baking soda in some water.
Gas pains can be caused by acid in the stomach.
Baking soda is a base, which will work against the acid to calm the gas pains.
Bloating Gas Pains
7. Consult with your doctor.
Aside from eating gassy foods and being lactose intolerant.
There are many medical conditions that cause bloating and abdominal pain.
As such, if you have frequent gas pains, make an appointment with your family physician and get a physical examination in order to rule out anything serious.
8. Bloating Gas Pains
Medical conditions that typically cause bloating and stomach pain include gastrointestinal infections (viral, bacterial and parasitic), stomach ulcers, intestinal blockage, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, food allergies, intestinal or stomach cancer, gallbladder disease and acid reflux.
- If your gas pains are caused by an infection or food poisoning, your doctor might recommend short-term antibiotics. However, over-use of antibiotics kills friendly intestinal bacteria and can actually lead to more GI symptoms.
- Certain medications often lead to bloating and flatulence such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen), laxatives, antifungal medicines and statins (for high cholesterol), so talk to your doctor about your prescriptions drugs.
- Your doctor may want a stool sample and may check the blood for celiac disease and do a breath test for lactose intolerance. An X-ray or colonoscopy may be necessary in some cases.
9. Ask your doctor about taking hydrochloric acid.
Normal food digestion, especially of protein-rich meals, takes lots of stomach acid, which is concentrated hydrochloric (HCl) acid.
A lack of stomach acid production (a common condition of aging) can lead to inadequate protein digestion.
Which can ferment in the intestines and produce gas.
As such, ask your doctor about testing for stomach acid production.
And then consider taking supplemental HCl if you no longer produce enough naturally.
- To help with protein digestion, eat your meat, poultry or fish course at the beginning of a meal instead of starting with bread and/or salad.
- The stomach tends to dump the hydrochloric acid in as soon as you start eating.
- But carbohydrates need very little (compared to protein) to digest.
- Betaine hydrochloride is a popular supplemental form of HCl that you can get at most health food stores. Remember to take the tablets after you eat, not before or during your meal.
10. Consider taking alpha-galactosidase enzyme.
As noted above, a common reason some foods cause intestinal gas is because the human body can’t digest certain complex sugar compounds (such as insoluble fiber and sugars called oligosaccharides).
Taking over-the-counter products with alpha-galactosidase (Beano, Suntaqzyme, Bean-zyme) can help correct this problem because the enzyme breaks down complex sugars before they reach your intestines and start to ferment.
Take a tablet containing alpha-galactosidase right before you start eating foods high in fiber (most veggies, fruit and legumes) to help prevent gas formation and abdominal pain.
- The sugar enzyme is derived from food-grade mold called Aspergillus niger.
- Which can cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to molds and penicillin.
- Alpha-galactosidase breaks down galactose into glucose effectively.
- But it may interfere with diabetic medication.
- Consult with your doctor if you’re diabetic and thinking of taking products that contain it.
Bloating Gas Pains
11. Try taking probiotics.
Probiotic supplements contain strains of healthy bacteria that are normally found in your large intestine.
These “friendly” bacteria can be destroyed by over-using antibiotics.
Taking laxatives, drinking too much alcohol, consuming heavy metals and getting colonoscopies.
An imbalance of healthy intestinal bacteria leads to digestive problems and GI symptoms.
If you think you’re at risk for bacterial imbalance in your intestines.
Then consider taking probiotic supplements to get relief from gas pain.
Probiotics are safe and commonly found in health food stores.
- Probiotics are available as tablets, capsules or powders and must be taken on a regular basis in order to maintain effective concentrations/colonies in your large intestine.
- Whichever supplement you choose should be enteric coated or microencapsulated to survive being digested by stomach acid, so it can make it to the intestines and still be viable.
- Fermented foods are also a good source of friendly bacteria and include natural yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, fermented soy products (natto, miso, soy sauce, tofu), sauerkraut and even unpasteurized beer.
12. Consider laxatives for constipation.
Constipation is infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools.
Which can happen from eating way too much fiber (or almost none at all) or not drinking enough fluids.
Chronic constipation is usually defined as fewer than 3 bowel movements a week for many weeks or months, but most cases of constipation last for just a few days.
Constipation can lead to intestinal pain and cramping that’s similar to gassy pain.
But the cause of the discomfort is often very different.
Medicinal treatment for constipation involves taking laxatives, which promote bowel movements.
13. Bloating Gas Pains
Laxatives work by either bulking up your stool (FiberCon, Metamucil, Citrucel).
Softening your stool, helping fluids move through your colon (milk of magnesia).
Or lubricating your colon (mineral oil, cod liver oil).
- Elderly people with poor diets usually get constipation from not consuming enough fiber, which is why eating prunes or drinking prune juice is often recommended.
- Constipation in children and younger adults is more often caused by eating too much fiber at a time, such as carrots or apples.
- If constipation is caused by eating way too much fiber.
- Then gas production and bloating from bacterial fermentation is possible too.
- As such, much of the advice above for getting rid of gas pains would apply.
14. More tips
Eating too much too quickly can cause bloating and abdominal pain regardless of the type of food, so dish up smaller portions, take smaller bites and chew slowly.
Avoid chewing gum and sucking on hard candy because you tend to swallow more air than normal.
Check your dentures frequently, because if they fit poorly you’ll tend to swallow excess air when you eat and drink.
Lay on your stomach and try to let the gas out.
While laying on back, gently rub your stomach in downward motion to help drive the gas down.
Drink a lot of water. Avoid becoming dehydrated at all costs.
Keep a food diary and record how different types of foods affect you.
Note that it normally takes up to six hours to digest food.