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Let's Talk Flatulence — and When to Be Concerned

Let's Talk Flatulence — and When to Be Concerned

Passing gas is part of the human condition, no matter how inconvenient you may find it. In fact, the average human passes gas about 10-20 times per day, which is a sign of a healthy digestive tract that’s busily processing the foods you eat.

If your farting consistently exceeds this average, and you’re also feeling other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, it might be time for a closer look.

To help you figure out whether your flatulence might warrant investigation, Dr. Sam Weissman takes a deeper dive into the role that gas plays in your digestive process and when it might be concerning.

Why there’s gas in your digestive tract

The gasses in your intestines are made up of:

These gasses come from two sources: 1) Many gasses are the byproduct of gut bacteria that are breaking down the foods that pass through your intestines. As the bacteria process the food, they release gasses and, when these gasses build up, they escape out your rectum; and 2) When you eat, you often swallow air, which can either come back up as a belch or it can travel through your intestines and come out the other end in the form of flatulence.

Common causes of excess gas

There are many reasons why you might have excess gas in your digestive tract, and we’ll cover a few here.

The biggest offender when it comes to gas and flatulence are carbohydrates called FODMAPs, which stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These carbs lead to increased fermentation in your gut, which leads to gas.

FODMAPs are found in a wide range of foods — from Brussels sprouts and beans to apricots and apples, with onions and garlic being two of the worst offenders. For a more complete high-FODMAP foods list, click here.

Outside of what you eat, certain medications can lead to excess gas, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, laxatives, and statins.

More worrisome causes of excess gas

When we become more concerned about your flatulence is when it’s consistently excessive and also accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

With these symptoms, your excess gas may stem from a larger issue, such as irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, a dietary intolerance, pancreatitis, or an intestinal infection, to name a few.

Ultimately, if your excessive flatulence is causing you problems and discomfort, it’s best to come see us for a full evaluation. After reviewing your symptoms and your medical history, we can run a few tests that will help us identify the source of your excessive gas so that we can put you on the road to relief.

To get on the road to better gastrointestinal health, we invite you to call our Brighton Beach area office in Brooklyn, New York, at 609-793-9375 or request an appointment through this website.

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