6 Common Excessive Gas Causes

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The best way to combat gas related to a food sensitivity is to pay attention to your body, possibly with the guidance of a medical professional. Your doctor will probably ask you to start keeping a food diary to help find patterns between what you’re eating and what you’re feeling. This way, you can take note of what foods might be causing issues for you so you can decide whether you want to eat them only once in a while or avoid them altogether.

3. You’re swallowing too much air…like literally.

One commonly overlooked cause of gas is actually ingesting air, which causes it to accumulate in the esophagus, according to the Mayo Clinic. It happens when you do anything that causes you to swallow an excessive amount of air, such as “drinking carbonated beverages, smoking, eating or drinking too fast, [or] talking while eating,” Dr. Balzora explains.

It can also be caused by chewing gum, sucking on candies all day, or breathing through your mouth while you sleep. If you have gas in the morning or wake up feeling completely full, it might be because of the way you’re breathing as you sleep. It also turns out that swallowing air can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a condition where stomach acid travels up the esophagus (instead of staying where it belongs), but we’ll get into that a bit later.

If swallowing air is simply something you do when you’re nervous, this situation is called “aerophagia,” and it can contribute to excessive gas. So if you think swallowing air might be at the root of your gas issues, Dr. Schnoll-Sussman suggests taking a look at your daily habits and seeing where that extra air might be coming from. For instance, you might be able to minimize the amount of air you ingest by opting for non-carbonated beverages (sorry, seltzer fans!), trying not to talk while you eat, and avoiding chewing gum.

4. You’re eating large meals too quickly.

It’s simply a fact that large, fatty meals take a long time to digest and, therefore, hang out longer in your gut and build up more gas than smaller, less fatty meals. That lengthy digestion can lead to the classic post-burger-and-fries feeling of bloat and gassiness. On top of that, eating quickly increases the chance that you’ll inhale some air along the way, just adding even more gassiness.

That doesn’t mean you can’t eat large meals (please, by all means, enjoy your burger!), but it does mean that you might just have to accept some (totally normal) discomfort along the way.

If you’d rather skip that feeling, you can stick with more frequent smaller meals rather than less frequent larger meals. And no matter what you’re eating, you can do your best to eat mindfully, paying attention to every bite and how it affects your body without rushing.

5. You don’t go for that post-meal walk or stretch.

After eating a deliciously satisfying meal it’s tempting to just sit back and relax. Or, more likely, you’re eating your lunch at your desk and just staying there is the easiest thing to do.

On the other hand, one of the best things you can do for your digestive tract is keep up some form of regular physical activity. We’re not saying you need to do burpees after every meal (that would be ill-advised), but if you’re dealing with gas right this second, you can try going for a quick walk or doing some stretches designed to move digestion along and ease your gassiness. Experts aren’t totally sure why it helps, but it does.

6. You might have a gastrointestinal condition.

Gas can be a symptom of many gastrointestinal disorders. If it’s isolated, it’s most likely your diet or excessive air-swallowing. But if you’re experiencing other symptoms like belly pain, heartburn, changes in your weight, or frequent bouts of diarrhea, that could mean your gas is a sign of a more serious issue. For instance, GERD, celiac disease, and even intestinal blockages can all be causes of excessive gas. Additionally, your excessive gas coupled with other ailments like abdominal pain could be a symptom of gastritis or peptic ulcer disease, according to Hopkins Medicine. So if your gas doesn’t resolve itself (one way or another) or if it’s causing any other concerning symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor.

Finally, know that gassiness is a normal part of life. It’s a good time to remind you that passing gas (even sulfuric gas) is healthy, so if your belches and farts aren’t excessive, this might not be something you need to worry about. It’s normal to expel about 1 to 4 pints of gas, per day! So try to think of any lingering awkwardness as a sign that your digestive processes are humming along. “It’s important to understand that farting is normal,” Dr. Balzora reiterates. “But it shouldn’t be ignored if you’re having other symptoms.”

If you feel like your gas is excessive, you’ve noticed an overall change in your gastrointestinal habits, your flatulence comes with other symptoms (abdominal pain, for instance), or you’re anxious about whether or not something is normal, it’s always worth checking in with a doctor who can help put your mind—and your gut—at ease.

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