7 Common Causes of Excess Stomach Gas

It's important to learn to identify foods which cause us to produce excess stomach gas and try to limit our intake in order to prevent painful or uncomfortable episodes later on.
7 Common Causes of Excess Stomach Gas

Last update: 21 November, 2019

Gas and flatulence are common issues for many people. Gas is caused by the bacteria that live in your intestines. However, internal problems or reactions to external agents can make it worse.

While it’s not a serious health problem, it can sometimes happen so often so that it becomes an embarrassing issue for the person suffering from it. And while you can try to hide it, gas can often accumulate, causing unpleasant odors and increased social anxiety, as this study shows.

Because of this, it’s essential to know what causes gas and what you can do to reduce it. Today, we want to share the most common causes of gas so that you can take the necessary steps to avoid it. Let’s take a look!

1. Imbalances in the bacterial flora

Intestines and bacteria.

An excess of gas can be the result of a bacterial imbalance in the flora that protects your intestine. According to a number of studies, this imbalance can also lead to irritable bowel syndrome.

Because the pH of the stomach tends to change quickly, the production of gas can increase, and certain bacteria begin to thrive.

  • In these cases, la Revista Chilena de Nutrición (the Chilean Journal of Nutrition) recommends increasing your consumption of probiotic and prebiotic foods. These are ideal for repopulating your gut with healthy bacteria.

2. Fermentation of food in the intestine

Some of the bacteria that are present in your digestive tract are responsible for fermenting certain foods to facilitate their breakdown during the digestive process.

This activity usually occurs in the large intestine. However, sometimes bacteria can pass into the small intestine and generate early fermentation.

Since the food still isn’t fully digested at this stage, the gas will continue to increase as it passes through the system until it is released as flatulence.

The most worrying thing is that this can cause bloating, pain, and other symptoms that can affect your quality of life.

3. Eating too quickly

Woman eating healthy to avoid flatulence and gas.

Whether it be due to a lack of time, or because they are distracted, people who finish their lunch too quickly, tend to suffer from regular episodes of flatulence, according to a study by la Revista Cubana de Estomatología (The Cuban Journal of Stomatology).

This is because they wind up swallowing large amounts of air during meals. In turn, this increases the amount of gas in the intestines, leading to belching and flatulence.

4. Excessive consumption of dairy products

Although some people never have trouble processing dairy products, they may start to cause issues over time. Age and regular exposure to certain factors may lower levels of the enzyme lactase, which is responsible for aiding the digestion of dairy products.

If you develop digestive symptoms or problems after eating this type of food, your body may be trying to signal that you are lactose intolerant, according to this investigation lead by the Servicio de Gastroenterología del Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal (the Gastroenterology department at the Ramon and Cajal University Hospital in Madrid).

  • In this case, the only solution is to see your doctor, who will be able to advise you as to what to do next (eg. lactose test, monitoring).

5. Hormonal changes

Flatulence can be embarrassing.
The hormonal changes that women undergo during menopause, along with hormone-related diseases
, can lead to an excessive build up of gas.

Although scientists have yet to determine exactly which hormones cause this reaction, it has been shown that those who suffer from it undergo some very clear changes in their digestive activity.

6. Gluten sensitivity

Gas can be a clear sign of food allergies or other disorders, such as celiac disease. These autoimmune conditions can lead to severe problems with absorption, which increases the likelihood of small ruptures in the lining of the small intestine.

This, in turn, triggers inflammation in the abdomen, pain, and other symptoms that prevent proper digestion. It is therefore crucial to identify this condition early on, especially as you’ll need to make changes to your diet to control the problem.

7. A build up of waste

A woman grasping her abdominal fat.

Constipation, or the build-up of waste in the intestines, is a potential cause of excess gas and other digestive disorders. According to this study carried out by a number of health centers in Spain, it can also be an indication of some pre-existing health issue.

When waste stays in the colon, it alters the bacterial flora and your body produces more gas than normal.

In addition, your intestines have difficulty absorbing nutrients and disposing of the waste your body doesn’t need.

  • When you suffer from this condition, it’s a good idea to increase your consumption of water, fiber, and other foods that have digestive properties. If the situation continues, be sure to consult with your doctor.

Remember that the most effective way to control this problem is to improve your eating habits. This includes reducing your intake of products that stimulate gas production. Consider all of these recommendations and talk with your doctor if you think it’s necessary.

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  • Brown-Esters, O., Mc Namara, P., & Savaiano, D. (2012). Dietary and biological factors influencing lactose intolerance. International Dairy Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.idairyj.2011.09.010
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