Gas pains, otherwise known as gas, flatulence, bloating, or intestinal gas. We all get it. While gas pains are by no means a serious condition, it can be annoying, uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and definitely embarrassing. There are a number of things that can cause gas pains, but it is most often a result of being constipated or diarrhea. When gas builds up in the intestines it can become painful if you are unable to get rid of it with ease.
Although gas pains are a natural part of being a human, there are things you can do to decrease the amount of gas your body produces or at least relive any discomfort or pain associated with gas pains. Signs and symptoms of gas pains include voluntary or involuntary passing of gas, sharp, jabbing pains or cramps in your abdomen (these pains may occur anywhere in your abdomen and can change locations quickly and get better quickly), a 'knotted' feeling in your abdomen, or swelling and tightness in your abdomen aka bloating.
The normal or average number of times a person passes gas a day is about 10 to 20 times a day. This may vary. It is important to know when gas pains are more serious. Gas pains are more serious when they are associated with other signs and symptoms such as prolonged abdominal pain, bloody stools, a change in stool color or frequency, weight loss, chest pain, or persistent or recurrent nausea or vomiting.
What causes gas pains? Gas is created in your body when bacteria in the colon ferment carbohydrates that were not digested in the small intestine. The culprit is often foods that are high in fiber, which is mostly healthy foods. It is important for us as humans to get a good amount of fiber, but it can also cause gas. Certain high-fiber foods that cause gas include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Gas can also form when a person swallows air (which often happens when we eat or drink), has another health condition like diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease, is intolerant to certain foods containing lactose or gluten, consumes artificial additives, or is constipated.
Tips to prevent gas pains:
· Drink before eating. Drinking about 30 minutes before a meal can help your stomach digest better.
· Eat and drink slowly. Eating or drinking fast can make you swallow a lot of air, which can cause gas.
· Take digestive aids. Over-the-counter digestive aids contain enzymes that can allow the body to digest better.
· Avoid artificial sweeteners. These can make gas worse.
· Avoid filling up on air. Smoking, chewing gum, and drinking through a straw can fill your stomach with air and cause gas.