Search

Gas - flatulence

Definition

Gas is air in the intestine that is passed through the rectum. Air that moves from the digestive tract through the mouth is called belching .

Gas is also called flatus or flatulence .

Alternative Names

Flatulence; Flatus

Considerations

Gas is normally formed in the intestines your body digests food.

Gas can make you feel bloated. It can cause crampy or colicky pains in your belly. See: Abdominal pain .

Common Causes

Gas can be caused by certain foods you eat. You may have gas if you:

  • Eat foods that are difficult to digest, such as fiber. Sometimes, adding more fiber into your diet can cause temporary gas. Wait a little bit. Your body may adjust and stop producing gas.
  • Eat or drink something your body cannot tolerate. For example, some people have lactose intolerance and cannot eat or drink dairy products.

Other common causes of gas are:

Home Care

The following tips may help you prevent gas:

  • Chew your food more thoroughly
  • Do not eat beans or cabbage
  • Do not drink carbonated beverages
  • Do not chew gum
  • Eat more slowly
  • Relax while you eat
  • Walk for 10-15 minutes after eating

Call your health care provider if

Call your doctor or nurse if you have:

  • Gas and other symptoms such as stomach pain, rectal pain, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or weight loss
  • Oily, foul-smelling, or bloody stools

What to expect at your health care provider's office

Your doctor or nurse will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, such as:

  • What is your diet like?
  • Has it recently changed?
  • What foods do you eat commonly?
  • What foods have you eaten recently?
  • Have you increased the fiber in your diet?
  • How fast do you eat, chew, and swallow?
  • Would you say that your gas is mild or severe?
  • Does your gas seem to be related to eating milk products or other specific foods?
  • What seems to make your gas better?
  • What medications do you take?
  • Do you have other symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, early satiety (premature fullness after meals), bloating , or weight loss ?

Tests that may be done include:

Prevention

References

Bailey J. FPIN's Clinical Inquiries: Effective management of flatulence. . 2009;79:1098-1100.

Ohge H, Levitt MD. Intestinal gas. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. . 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 16.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.