What Is Excessive Gas a Sign of?

Medically Reviewed on 10/5/2021

Symptoms of excessive gas

Gas is a normal, healthy feature of the digestive process. Excessive gas may be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance, GI issues, problems digesting carbohydrates, celiac disease, GERD, and other potential problems.
Gas is a normal, healthy feature of the digestive process. Excessive gas may be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance, GI issues, problems digesting carbohydrates, celiac disease, GERD, and other potential problems.

Gas is a normal, healthy feature of the digestive process. Burping and passing gas (farting) are also normal. If there is a disturbance in your digestive tract, you might have gas pain because the gas is not moving through your body as it should. If you have experienced increased gas or have a higher than normal amount of gas, there could be many reasons why this is happening. Read more to learn about possible causes.

Gas symptoms are quite normal. Usually, gas symptoms include:

  • Burping. The average person burps around 30 times a day.
  • Bloating. If you are bloated, then your stomach swells. You may also feel pain or discomfort.
  • Passing gas. Usually, you will pass gas around eight to 14 times a day. However, some experts say that up to 25 a day can be normal. Excess gas is called flatulence

In a healthy digestive tract, there are ebbs and flows in all of these symptoms. You should talk with your doctor if:

  • You experience painful symptoms consistently
  • There is a sudden change in your symptoms
  • You feel abdominal pain 
  • You have constipation 
  • You have diarrhea
  • There is a dramatic drop in your weight

You can swallow too much air when you:

  • Chew gum or swallow candy
  • Drink carbonated drinks
  • Eat or drink too quickly
  • Smoke
  • Have loose-fitting dentures

Gas is also created through bacteria in your large intestine. Your gut biome is made up of viruses, bacteria, and fungi, which aid in digestion by breaking down carbohydrates and generating gas. Some foods have carbohydrates your body can’t fully break down. Eating too many of these types of foods can create excessive gas.

A high-fiber diet can also create excessive gas. The intestine cannot digest certain fiber compounds, which causes the intestine to work overtime to break down all the fiber. If you are considering a high- fiber diet, you should incorporate it slowly. 

What causes too much gas?

Even though gas is normal and healthy, certain conditions can cause excess gas in an unhealthy or painful way. Some of these conditions are:

  • Lactose intolerance. Some people are unable to break down certain sugars in cow milk. Their inability generates quite a bit of gas. 
  • IBS and other GI issues. Irritable bowel syndrome, functional abdominal bloating and distention, functional constipation, and dyspepsia can cause excess gas. These issues can cause bloating, pain, and increase the amount of gas you produce. 
  • Issues digesting carbohydrates. Some people have problems digesting specific carbohydrates, so they have bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other symptoms after they eat or drink particular food and drink. This is because sugars like verbascose, stachyose, lactose, fructose, and sorbitol are for your digestion to break down. 

Other conditions that may affect your digestive system are:

If you think you may have any of these symptoms or conditions, you should visit your doctor. Most commonly, conditions like this are treated through:

  • Diet changes. One of the first things your doctor will try is to cut out foods that cause gas. This means cutting fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high-fat foods.  
  • Over-the-counter medicine. There are quite a few medicines you can buy in the drugstore. These medicines can let people eat foods that would typically upset their digestion. 
  • Prescription medication. You may need to get a prescription from your doctor if you suffer from severe conditions such as IBS. You also may be prescribed an antibiotic for malign bacterial growth in the small intestine.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/5/2021
References
SOURCES:

BetterHealthChannel: “Flatulence."

Cleveland Clinic: "Gas."

Mayo Clinic: "Gas and gas pains."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Symptoms & Causes of Gas in the Digestive Tract."