How Much Gas is Too Much?
Although many people are often too embarrassed to talk about gas, nearly everyone wonders how much gas is too much? Everyone has gas and eliminates it by either burping or passing it through the rectum. It's a perfectly normal bodily function. And while many people think they pass too much gas, on average most people generate between one and four pints of gas daily and pass gas between 12 and 25 times a day.
Burping or belching is the result of swallowing too much air when eating and drinking. Burping can also be caused by chewing gum, smoking, or wearing loose-fitting dentures. Flatulence is the result of the normal breakdown of undigested foods by harmless bacteria in the colon. Some types of foods cause more gas than others. For example, a diet high in carbohydrates causes more gas, while a diet high in fats and proteins causes less gas.
- Vegetables especially broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, artichokes, and asparagus
- Fruits including pears, apples, and peaches
- Whole grains such as whole wheat and bran
- Soft drinks and fruit drinks
- Milk and milk products including cheese and ice cream and packaged foods prepared with lactose, such as bread, cereal, and salad dressings
- Foods containing sorbitol, a dietary sweetener found in dietetic foods and sugar-free candies and gums
Although the most common symptoms of gas are belching, flatulence, bloating, and stomach pain, they can also be the signs of serious health problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn's disease. Chronic belching can also be a symptom of peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying.
If you're troubled by the discomfort of gas, changing your diet may help. To determine which gas-producing foods are the most bothersome for you, try keeping a food diary for a specific amount of time, writing down all the foods and beverages you consume each day and recording the number of times you pass gas per day.
If giving up your favorite foods to eliminate gas symptoms is too difficult for you, taking an over-the-counter digestive supplement, such as Beano, can help you eat the foods that normally cause gas for you. Eating slower, avoiding gum chewing, and quitting smoking can all reduce the amount of air you swallow and cut down the amount of gas you have.
If frequent belching or excess gas becomes worrisome to you, talk to your doctor to eliminate the possibility of a serious health problem.
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