Excessive Gas in IBS and SIBO Patients
Also, the speed with which air or gas moves through the intestines plays a crucial role. In healthy people, most of the gas that is passed from the lower intestine is formed in the large bowel and is not sent from the upper intestines.
Different individuals describe excessive gas in different ways, which are based on their experiences in the past. There are many individuals who consider excessive gas as excessive burping or excessive belching, while others consider it as excessive flatulence or passing of gas.
There are others who associate excessive gas with the feeling of fullness in their abdomen. Although most people go through these periods of excessive gas, especially flatulence, it is when their symptoms become long-lasting that they become concerned.
Common Problems Associated with Excessive Gas in IBS and SIBO Patients
Belching or burping
The most common reason for burping is excessive gas in your stomach, which may evolve from swallowed air. Discomfort in your intestine for any reason, however, may also cause excessive belching. As a result, belching does not necessarily show the occurrence of excessive gas in your stomach.
Distinguishing excessive gas in your stomach with other causes of gas is easy. If belching brings relief, it is due to excessive gas in your stomach. Otherwise, it is caused by any other underlying causes.
Even though excessive belching or burping may indicate excessive gas, it is not so. It rather indicates abdominal discomfort caused by other underlying conditions. It is sometimes seen that excessive belching occurs because of swallowed air in people with acute psychiatric issues related to anxiety.
Bloating and distension
It is a feeling among individuals with IBS and SIBO that their abdomen feels fuller than it normally should be, but it does not essentially mean that their abdomen is enlarged. Abdominal distention is the enlargement of your abdomen, usually caused by an accumulation of excess gas.
Continuous distention of the abdomen can be caused by enlarged organs, tumors, or accumulation of fat or fluid within your abdomen.
There is another form of distension called intermittent distention of the abdomen, which is caused by not just excessive intestinal gas but also functional or physical obstruction of your intestines.
Belching and flatulence
Passing gas through belching and farting is virtually universal. Individuals fart around 15-20 times a day on average. The number that indicates plenty of burping is not known.
Flatulence occurs due to the accumulation of gas produced by bacteria within your intestines (typically the colon) when the bacteria digest polysaccharides and dietary sugars that are transmitted to the colon undigested.
Causes of Excessive Gas
Excessive gas and flatulence may occur due to any of the following reasons:
- Some gut bacteria have a greater ability to produce excessive gas
- Maldigestion or malabsorption of polysaccharides and sugars seen in people with chronic pancreatitis, celiac disease, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
What Foods Can Cause Excessive Gas
Foods that may cause excessive gas are usually categorized as FODMAP, which is an acronym for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols”.
People often try to follow a low-FODMAP diet, but it is not easy to cut out these dietary constituents since they are present in most food items. Any medical condition, such as SIBO and IBS, causing excessive gas and flatulence can be improved by following a low-FODMAP diet, but you need to consult a dietitian.
If it can successfully reduce gas and flatulence, you may slowly reintroduce some of the foods that you have excluded. Examples of foods that can cause gas include:
Common vegetables like garlic, leeks, asparagus, lettuce, and onions; grains including rye, wheat, and barley; nuts like pistachios and cashew; legumes such as kidney beans, baked beans, lentils, soybeans, and chickpeas
Dairy products including milk, margarine, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt
Fruits such as boysenberries, apples, figs, pears, watermelon, and mangoes, as well as honey and high-fructose corn syrup
Fruits such as cherries, blackberries, apricots, apples, pears, avocados, peaches, nectarines, and plums; sweeteners including xylitol, mannitol, and sorbitol; vegetables like mushrooms, green pepper, pumpkin, and cauliflower.
With such a long list of food items that need to be avoided, it cannot be easy to start following and maintaining a low-FODMAP diet. This is the reason why it is important to identify the condition responsible for the production of excessive gas and manipulate your diet accordingly.
Treatment Options for Excessive Gas
There are various treatment options available for excessive intestinal gas. Some of those are described below.
- If malabsorption or maldigestion is caused by a disease of the cells lining your intestine, you need to identify the specific disease. Your doctor may suggest a small intestinal biopsy for identifying the disease. Then, that condition can be improved with targeted treatment. If celiac disease, for example, is found to be the cause, you may start a gluten-free diet.
- If the passage of food, gas, and liquid through the small bowel is hindered by physical obstruction, then surgical correction is required. If it is found to be functional, then medications that facilitate the activity of muscles of your small intestine and stomach are given. Metoclopramide (Reglan) or erythromycin are some of the examples of these types of medications.
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is usually treated with antibiotics. This treatment, however, is temporarily effective or may not be effective at all. If it provides a temporary benefit, you may occasionally or even continuously be treated with antibiotics. However, if it is not effective, prebiotics or probiotics may be given. See our SIBO Elimination Toolkit to learn more about antibiotics and other effective SIBO & IBS treatment options.
Treating excessive intestinal gas by finding out the specific cause with medications and altered diet plans can be difficult. There are plenty of home and natural remedies that help soothe or eliminate intestinal gas.
If you are affected by maldigestion or malabsorption of specific sugars, such as lactose, fructose, or sorbitol, then you can cut out the offending sugars from your diet.
In the case of milk with lactose, an alternative treatment procedure is available. If you have lactose intolerance, you can include enzymes similar to intestinal lactase to milk before drinking it. This will help break down the milk lactose into galactose and glucose, thereby assisting you in absorbing the lactose normally. Some people eat yogurt, as it does not produce as much gas as milk.
Certain types of fruits and vegetables contain starches that are not well digested by people but are readily digested by bacteria. Reducing the intake of vegetables and fruits such as cabbage, beans, Brussels sprouts, lentils, onions, apricots, carrots, and prunes, as well as foods that contain whole grains, should lessen gas and flatulence.