Gas Pain: Here's What you Can Do

The best way to avoid gas pain is to follow a proper diet and avoid foods you have an intolerance to or that cause flatulence. It's also always best to ask a doctor to rule out more severe health problems.
Gas Pain: Here's What you Can Do

Last update: 05 June, 2021

Gas pain can be extremely annoying and even disabling. In fact, it’s not uncommon for doctors to mistake it for appendicitis, gallstones, or even a heart problem!

The appearance of gas is normal during the digestive process. Doctors estimate that a person expels, on average, between 13 and 21 gases per day, through belching or flatulence. However, gas pain occurs when gas becomes obstructed.

Generally, gas pain isn’t considered a serious problem and can usually be solved with only minor changes in diet. However, there are also cases where this is a symptom of a more serious health problem.

Everything you need to know about gas

A person with stomach pain

Gases are formed in the large intestine or colon, by the action of bacteria. These ferment carbohydrates that aren’t digested in the small intestine. Such carbohydrates include some starches, sugars, and fiber.

Gases are formed for various reasons. Among them are some of the following:

  • Swallowing air. Without realizing it, people swallow air when they eat or drink. That air usually stays in the stomach and is then released through belching.
  • High-fiber foods. These increase gas production. These include beans, peas, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Carbonated beverages. Sodas or beers increase gas production.
  • Supplements and sugar substitutes. Fiber supplements and artificial sweeteners also increase gas production.
  • Improper habits. Eating too fast, chewing gum, or drinking through a straw, among others, are habits that lead to swallowing more air and causing more gas.
  • Medical disorders. Chronic intestinal disease, food intolerances, constipation, and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine also cause high gas production.
  • Use of medications. Some drugs alter the intestinal flora and increase gas.

Gas pain

Gas pain occurs when gas becomes trapped or fails to move easily through the digestive system. This pain is sharp and is often accompanied by cramping in the abdominal area, a feeling of tightness, bowel sounds, and swelling in the belly.

Passing a lot of gas is rarely a sign of a medical problem; on the other hand, retaining gas can be a symptom of digestive difficulties. When gas pain is very intense or occurs very frequently, you must visit a doctor.

You also have to consult a specialist when the pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Change in the frequency of bowel movements
  • Change in stool consistency
  • Blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Recurrent nausea or vomiting

What can I do to eliminate the discomfort?

A woman eating a stawberry

The most advisable measure to eliminate gas pain is to make changes in the diet, avoid food that favors the problem. It’s best to reduce or eliminate high-fiber foods, dairy products, sugar substitutes, carbonated beverages, fried and fatty foods, and fiber supplements.

Dietary changes are usually enough to solve the problem. Doctors highly recommend keeping a diary for at least one month. This should record the foods consumed and the digestive reaction they cause. This way, you can better identify the triggers of gas pain.

It’s always very convenient to visit the doctor so that they can determine if there is any other issue that’s at the origin of this problem. It’s also important to be aware of food intolerances.

Other useful tips for gas pain

To solve this problem, we suggest adopting healthy habits, such as the following:

  • Eat smaller portions of food and chew slowly
  • Avoid chewing products such as chewing gum
  • Exercise regularly
  • Quitting smoking
  • Don’t voluntarily withhold gas or hold in the urge to defecate
  • Don’t drink through straws
  • Drink natural water frequently
  • Drink tea, especially anise, chamomile, mint, or ginger
  • Consume probiotics

When gas pain occurs, you can put a warm cloth over the abdomen. The heat helps the muscles of the intestine to relax and this facilitates circulation and expulsion of gas. Heat also helps to reduce the sensation of pain.

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