Select a Topic
- What is Intestinal Gas?
- Symptoms of Intestinal Gas
- What Causes Intestinal Gas?
- Foods for Intestinal Gas Relief
- Tips on How to Clear Intestinal Gas
What is Intestinal Gas?
During the process of digestion, food is broken down into molecules that the body can use to fuel itself. However, sometimes food does not break down completely and food remnants make its way into the large intestine in a semi-digestive state where it then ferments.
Billions of hungry bacteria (the natural "intestinal fauna") that we all have in our large intestine then produce a variety of gases such as methane, hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide as by-products of this fermentation process. These vapors are known as intestinal gasses, and can cause stomach bloating until they leave the body as flatulence through the anus.
Symptoms of Intestinal Gas
Symptoms of intestinal gas may include:
What Causes Intestinal Gas?
The causes of intestinal gas vary, and may include:
- Carbonated beverages (e.g. beer and soda)
- High altitudes
- Menstrual cycle
- High fiber foods
Intestinal Gas in Children
Children can be very sensitive to their environments, which can lead to distress if overstimulation occurs, leading to intestinal disturbances, bloating and gas. Try to minimize your baby or child’s activity levels and see if the problem is alleviated – for example, limit visitors, taking your child along on errands, and eliminate background noise like a T.V. or radio, which can disrupt comfort levels.
Foods for Intestinal Gas Relief
As intestinal gas may result from the breakdown of certain foods, it is helpful to know which are likely to produce more sensitivity and limit consumption. In addition, eating or drinking any food too rapidly can lead to swallowing excessive air, which can lead to gas.
- Lactose, a natural sugar found in dairy products, is a very common cause of intestinal gas. Limit intake of milk, cheese, dressings, ice cream, and other dairy to see if the condition improves. Many packaged foods may also contain lactose, so check ingredient labels on breads and cereals.
- Raffinose is a complex sugar that is known to produce gas, with beans containing a very high amount. Other foods with raffinose include cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, and whole grains.
- Fructose, a simple sugar, is also a common contributor to gas, so limit onions, artichokes, pears, and wheat.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, found in dietetic foods, sugar free soda and gum. Sorbitol is also naturally present in certain fruits like apples, peaches and prunes.
- Many carbohydrates and starches, such as potatoes, noodles, and breads contribute to gas when they are digested.
- Foods high in soluble fiber may also cause gas, such as oat bran, beans, barley, nuts, seeds, lentils.
Tips on How to Clear Intestinal Gas
- Limit Fizz. Soda drinks can be your worst enemy, as they can augment your intestinal gas. Also avoid beer. If you do drink a beverage like beer, pour it in a glass first to let some of the fizz out.
- Drink different kinds of herbal teas. Try a cup of tea from ginger, mint, cinnamon, or chamomile tea, and add a little sugar, or honey.
- Hydrate. Drink plenty of water and clear soups (broths without cabbage or beans).
- Try not to swallow air - you can do this by eating slowly and chewing properly. Avoiding chewing gum and hard candy - and quit smoking in a natural manner.
- Foods or Foe? Foods that cause problems are usually those high in fiber or carbohydrates, which are hard to digest. Some of the culprits include: beans, peas, whole grains, cabbage, grapes, plums, raisins, corn, onions, soft drinks, red wine, beer and foods containing milk or wheat (for people who are intolerant to them).
- To help promote digestion, soothe gastric upset, and even stimulate bowel movements, try abdominal massage, which, can help all of the above conditions affected by intestinal gas.