Friday, August 18, 2017

What Your Gas Says About Your Health

Between burping, belching, flatulence and bloating, you’ve likely experienced one or all of these forms of gas. In fact, experts say that passing gas between 13 and 21 times a day is totally normal. Now typically the gas that you release—whatever its form—is primarily a mix of carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen, which is odorless. 

However, there are times when a little methane sneaks in, giving your gas a distinct smell. If you’re smelling sulfur, the likely culprits are meat, beans or cabbage.

So while gas is completely natural, if you’re experiencing an excess of it or bloating that makes you feel uncomfortable, it may be time to do some investigating to figure out if there’s something more going on.

According to Tik Pau, MD, a primary care expert with Gwinnett Medical Group, here are 8 things your body may be trying to tell you: 

1. You’re eating a lot of fructose, polyol and sulfur.

It may not actually be notorious gas producers, like broccoli and beans, that are to blame for your toots. In fact, it’s more likely foods that are high in natural sugars and sulfur. Even though many of these foods are great for your health, you can expect to be gassy after eating the following foods:

·         Apples
·         Pears
·         Watermelon
·         Cabbage
·         Asparagus
·         Leeks
·         Onions
·         Garlic
·         Avocado
·         Mushrooms
·         Cauliflower

2. You’re eating too fast.

Here’s yet another reason to slow down while you’re eating—gas. Every time you open your mouth to eat or drink something, you are also inhaling and swallowing air. And the faster you eat, the more air you’ll end up swallowing; the result is more gas. If you find yourself burping after you eat, you’re releasing air from your stomach, but if that gas makes its way farther through your digestive tract, it’ll end up coming out of the other end.

3. You have an imbalance of gut bacteria.

Many of us don’t give much thought to the complex digestive process that takes place each time we eat. Did you know there are actually more than 10 organs involved? For digestion to fully run its course, it relies on each organ to play its part. However, when medications, infections and medical conditions get involved, it can cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, which interfere with digestion and cause extra gas.

4. You’re battling IBS…

…Along with 25 to 45 million other Americans. Irritable bowel syndrome is a common, chronic condition that’s the result of an intestinal disorder, which impacts how quickly your food moves from your stomach to your rectum. In addition to excess gas, you may also experience abdominal discomfort, diarrhea and constipation.

5. You have an unknown food intolerance.

Just because you don’t have the typical symptoms of a food allergy, like hives and swelling, doesn’t mean that you aren’t sensitive to certain foods. Oftentimes food intolerances have subtle symptoms that you may overlook, like headaches, fatigue, heartburn, bloating and gas.

6. You aren’t exercising enough.

Not only can exercise help to ease digestion and provide some much needed relief if you’re feeling gassy or bloated, it can also help to prevent those feelings all together. Excess gas and bloating can be a sign that your abdominal wall needs a little more attention the next time you work out. When you keep your stomach muscles strong, this helps to move gas through the digestive tract.

7. You should drink more water.

By reaching for a carbonated beverage of some sort, you’re upping your odds for excess gas. This is because the carbonation actually creates air pockets in the intestines, which causes irritation. On top of that, if your favorite bubbly beverage has artificial sweeteners, this can really ramp up excess gas.

8. You have a tight sphincter.

You guessed it; the sphincter is actually the place where your gas passes. If you have a tight sphincter this can impact your ability to pass gas, especially if you’re in a public setting and are hesitant to fart. If gas becomes trapped, you’re more likely to feel bloated.

Trust your gut.

If you’re having difficulty getting your excess gas to pass, you can try simple things like eating and drinking more slowly, taking digestive aids, avoiding artificial sweeteners and gassy foods. It’s important to listen to your body, though, and if you’re constantly trying to tame excess gas, there may be something more going on. 

It’s time to skip the quick fixes and get rid of excess gas for good. With Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care, a knowledgeable provider will work with you to fully understand and care for all of your unique health needs from head to toe.