Everybody farts and burps. Gassy symptoms are just a fact.
Still, most of us would rather not spend too much time talking about our gas. It may be natural, but it’s not exactly a winning conversation-starter.
Today, I think we need to make an exception. Gas may be gross, but it matters!
In general, passing gas is good for you. It’s healthy! But sometimes, it’s a sign of deeper colon problems that could mean something more dangerous is going on in your body.
Gassy symptoms are a powerful communication tool for our bodies. Sometimes, your farts and burps are the only warning sign you get that something is seriously wrong.
Some symptoms might be plain old indigestion, while others are trying to tell you that you have a blockage in your digestive tract or other serious colon problems brewing.
That’s why we all need to learn which red flags to pay attention to, and make sure we bring them to the doctor right away when they show up.
Scroll through to learn more.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
What Is Gas And How Do You Treat It?
Gas is a totally natural byproduct of our digestive systems. It’s basically excess air that builds up inside the body when we eat.
Many foods, like high-fiber foods, release gas when they are broken down. You can also end up with excess gas from drinking soda or swallowing air when you eat.
Moderate gas is not a problem — the average person passes 4 pints a day! But excessive or atypical gas can be treated by a gastroenterologist.
Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine focused on treating the whole digestive system, and can help you out if you experience troubling, gassy symptoms.
It might surprise you to know that most of the gas you pass is odorless. Just 1 percent of it is the stinky gas that most of us notice the most.
This gas is made up of hydrogen sulfide (sulfur) and is totally normal — in small doses.
If you notice all of your farts are exceptionally smelly room-clearers, it might indicate bacterial overgrowth in your intestine.
It could also be linked to a food sensitivity that is profoundly irritating your system.
Some food sensitivities, like celiac and Crohn’s, are serious and require fast-acting medical attention.
Sometimes, gas builds up in your intestines. The excess gas presses on the walls of your system and can cause cramping pain that shifts and moves in your belly.
Normally, this just means you’re a little bit “backed up” and there’s no room for the gas to make its usual exit.
However, if you experience gas pain all the time, with no relief after you poop, it could mean something more serious is obstructing your bowl.
Gas pain that will not fade can signal that there’s a blockage, like a tumor, or another irritation triggering the pain, like an ulcer or inflamed appendix.
Gas bloating is an uncomfortable symptom that often accompanies gas pain.
With this kind of bloating, so much gas builds up in your body that it actually causes your belly to swell out and distend from the pressure. You might also get a lot of grumbles from your belly.
This is another symptom that’s totally normal if it just happens occasionally, but severe gas bloating can indicate that you have a condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that causes digestive sensitivity and inflammation.
A gassy stool is a any bowel movement that is interrupted in the middle by gas.
You might notice that the BM is broken up into pieces or is loose (almost like diarrhea) because there were pockets of gas trapped inside.
The occasional gassy poo is nothing to worry about, but if every bowel movement is interrupted by flatulence, you might need to get your pancreas checked.
If your pancreas is misfiring, your food won’t be digested and compacted properly. You’ll end up with loose and gassy stools instead.
Does it feel like you are always struggling to contain a toot? You might have excessive gas.
In other words, your body is producing way more gas than it should be. This might indicate that your diet is too high in sugars and fiber.
Excessive gas can also point to something like IBS or, in more severe cases, to colon cancer.
Usually, we worry more about gas that’s passed at the end of the digestive tract, but belching can also reveal serious health concerns.
Most belches are just trapped gas from our meal, but you should watch out for ‘sulfur burps.’
These stinky, rotten-egg burps can signal IBS. But they can also be associated with the parasite Giardia.
We’ve heard about intestinal gas pain, but what about pain when you actually pass gas?
If you’re experiencing a stinging and burning sensation, it might indicate that you have a painful problem like anal fissures or hemorrhoids.
These conditions aren’t too serious at first, but you should treat them right away to keep the conditions from getting more dangerous and painful.
How Should You Deal With It?
So if you’re experience uncomfortable gas, what should you do?
You can try over-the-counter treatments at first, but you probably want to talk to a gastroenterologist about what might be causing your upset stomach.
You may also find that you have a food sensitivity, in which case, a registered dietician should be able to help you change your lifestyle to suit your tummy’s needs!
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you tell your doctor the problem, instead of worrying that it might be embarrassing.
SHARE if you agree that we should make it easier for everyone to get the help they need for gas troubles!