Gas and bloating can be uncomfortable at times but they are normal and we all experience it from time to time. However for some, even minor gas and bloating can be extremely uncomfortable. If you experience excessive gas or prolonged bloating it may be a sign of a more serioushealth issue like celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, or Crohn's disease. Read on to learn more about gas and bloating, what’s normal, what’s not, and how you can take steps to be less bloated and reduce gas.
First, What Causes Gas?
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Formed in the digestive system, intestinal gas is a mixture of oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen, methane, and other odorless vapors. (What a mix going on inside of us!) The last is the interesting part, all of these gasses are odorless. So when do things get stinky? It’s when these various gases mix with the bacteria in our intestines, then you get that really unpleasant sulfur odor gas.
OK, where do these gases come from? A few places actually.
One way gas gets into our bellies is when we swallow air when we eat or drink. You probably never think about it but we are taking in extra air when we enjoy our lunch or have a drink.
Gas can also occur when certain foods are not fully broken down in the gut like gluten and sugar in dairy products, fruits, and beverages. Another interesting fact is that foods that cause gas in one person may not cause gas in another.
There are other factors that may cause intestinal gas: if there is are bacterial change in the small intestine, if you have poor absorption of carbs, if there is food residue in the colon, and if you experience digestive system issues like constipation, lactose/fructose intolerance, or celiac disease.
So Where Does All This Internal Gas Go?
There are two main ways in which the body releases gas: through the mouth, called belching (burp!), and through our rectum, called flatulence (fart!). When gas gets trapped in the stomach, that’s bloating. More on that in a bit.
How Common Is It to Pass Gas?
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Yes, it is common, normal, and part of life to pass gas. On average a person passes gas 5 to 15times a day. Whoa! You may be thinking, ok are you sure because I didn’t smell anything? Well, it turns out that 99% of our gas is odorless.
Intestinal gas is a natural result of food digestion so everyone experiences that gassy feeling from time to time. However, sensitivity to being gassy varies from person to person and for some, even a small amount of gas may feel very uncomfortable.
There is such a thing as excessive gas, which is where you pass gas more than 20 times a day. Oftentimes, excessive gas is a symptom of chronic intestinal conditions, like ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, or Crohn's disease which is why you should consider speaking with your doctor.
Let's Talk Bloating. What Causes Bloating?
So you may have guessed that bloating and internal gas are linked. Abdominal bloatingoccurs when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract has a buildup of gas. Your stomach may feel tight and full like there is a balloon in your belly.
As you may have expected, the causes of gas buildup are the same reasons you may be bloated.
It is important to note that too much intestinal gas means something may be going on with your digestion. Although we can get gas by swallowing air while eating and drinking, many of those gases escape through burps before they even reach our intestine.
Intestinal gas is commonly caused by too much fermentation in the digestive system. Why is this happening you may ask? It could also be for a number of reasons like we ate too much or too fast or could be caused by gastrointestinal conditions like carbohydrate malabsorption, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), functional digestive disorders, or other hormonal or digestive issues.
Again, if excessive bloating continues and is accompanied by other serious illness symptoms, then it is best to see your doctor.
How to Reduce Gas and Bloating?
There are a number of ways to reduce gas and bloating naturally:
Adjust Your Diet
You may want to adjust what's in your pantry to see what food you have that causes gas and bloating. Watch out for culprits like beans, carbonated drinks, dairy products, garlic, beer, and sugar alcohols like xylitol, lactitol, mannitol, sorbitol, maltitol, and isomalt, which can cause bloating. Again, beans may be fine for some and not fine for others. Pay attention to how your body is reacting to certain foods.
Up Your Fiber Intake
Fiber is essential to our dietary health and the USDA recommends that women have at least 25 grams a day and men 38 grams. If new to fiber, start off slowly as your body needs time to learn how to process the increase in fiber. Fiber is great for boosting your digestive health, it improves regularity, helps you feel fuller longer, regulates blood sugar, and boosts immunity (70% of our immune system is located in our gut).
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Moving eases bloating discomfort. Even though the last thing you may want to do is move after a big meal, moving helps. The goal is to get the stomach to empty faster so that gas is can move readily into your small intestine and cause fewer issues. Even walking can help with the passage of gas through our body’s digestive tract and even relaxation exercises such as meditation and yoga.
Yes, if only it were that easy to reduce stress. Binge-watching reality TV shows, putting on your fav Spotify playlist, taking a bubble bath or doing some yoga, whatever helps you relax we support. Some people are moresensitive to the intestinal stretching that comes with gas relatives to others, and stress can increase this sensitivity and stimulate colon spasms. This is especially true for those dealing with a chronic condition such as irritable bowel syndrome that causes abdominal fullness, gas, and bloating.
Try an Herbal Tea.
Herbal teaslike peppermint tea, chamomile, ginger, woodworm, and fennel may help with bloating. Pretty straight forward, right?
Can I Eliminate Gas Entirely?
If your issues with gas and bloating are not related to a medical condition, you can take these steps to be less gassy:
Eat smaller meals throughout the day. Small meals consumption reduces the amount of stress on our digestive system, which reduces the amount of gas you experience.
Consume foods that typically cause the least amount of gas. These are plain animal proteins like beef, chicken, fish, and turkey; vegetables like bell peppers, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini; fruits like blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries; fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha, and grains like oats, rice, and quinoa. Avoid fatty foods that slow down digestion, resulting in more time to ferment leading to excessive gas.
We know you're hungry (maybe even a little hangry) but try to slow down when eating and drinking. When we eat and drink too fast, it increases the amount of air we swallow. Slowing down can reduce air and possibly how much we fart.
Avoid fizzy drinks like soda and beer as this can cause gas bubbles to build up in your digestive tract.
Reduce smoking and chewing gum.This behavior makes us swallow excess air that leads to digestive tract buildup.
Bonny Fiber is Here to Help
Increasing fiber consumption is a great way to get healthier today and helps in addressing gas and bloating. We also know that it is hard to hit the daily recommended fiber goals, 95% of Americans do not. Bonny supplements can help.
Bonny is a custom blend of psyllium husk powder and inulin that is good for the gut and can help naturally alleviate gas and bloating. Our supplements are all-natural, plant-based and taste AMAZING.
Bonny is available in delicious flavors like Super Strawberry and Apple Pie.If you are new to the fiber supplements game, it is best to start slowly to allow your body time to adjust. Take Bonny with a large glass of cool water to help the fiber do its job.
As always, we wish you pleasant poops!