What Causes Bloating and Flatulence?
Everyone has gas in their intestinal tract, which is caused by a buildup of air. This is a normal result of swallowing and digestion. While passing gas multiple times a day is normal, when there is excessive intestinal gas present, it can lead to digestive discomfort such as bloating or be a sign of a digestive disorder.
Diagnosing Disorders Associated with Bloating and Flatulence
Individuals who are experiencing excessive intestinal gas, belching or flatulence more than 20 times a day may have an underlying digestive disorder. While there are many different disorders that can cause excess gas, some of the most common include:
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term to describe disorders that involve long-term inflammation of the digestive tract. IBD is usually categorized to include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Symptoms may include bloating, gas, diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, bloody stools and more.
Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, which is a protein in wheat, rye and barley. Common symptoms may include diarrhea, bloating, gas and fatigue.
Sometimes, there is an overgrowth in bacteria in the small intestine, which is called small intestinal bacterial growth (SIBO). This results when an occurrence slows food and waste passing in the digestive tract, which creates an optimal breeding ground for bacteria. Signs include bloating, a feeling of uncomfortable fullness after eating, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and more.
If our team believes that your bloating and flatulence may be caused by a digestive disorder, they may have you undergo some testing for proper diagnosis. These tests will help your doctor to have a better picture of what is happening in your body to best diagnose and treat your symptoms.
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Treatment Options for Bloating and Flatulence
While intestinal gas is a regular and healthy bodily function, it may be a sign of a bigger problem if it is persistent or severe, or is associated with other symptoms. There is an array of effective treatment options to address bloating and flatulence, depending on your individual symptoms. These may include:
The first step to resolving bloating and flatulence are changes in lifestyle. This may include eliminating carbonated beverages and foods that cause excess gas such as beans, cabbage, broccoli and more. It may also be recommended to limit foods with a high fat content to reduce bloating. Dietary changes depend on learning through trial and error, which may require patience.
Over-the-counter medications can be helpful in reducing gas symptoms. These may include antacids made with simethicone and activated charcoal, digestive enzymes or probiotics to help change the bacteria flora in your gut.
Your doctor may prescribe medications such as antibiotics to address specific digestive disorders such as IBS or SIBO.
Your South Denver GI Team
At South Denver GI, our team of physicians and advanced practice providers have the expertise to provide you with outstanding care. If you would like to learn more about Bloating and Flatulence or need to schedule an appointment at our office, contact us today!
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