When Should Passing Gas Become Worrisome and What Can Be Done About It?

Often times people worry that they are passing gas more than what normal people do. On an average people pass gas around 25 times every day. This may increase by a few notches if you have indulged on overeating or drinking the night before. However, if an individual feels that he is passing gas way too many times in a day then he or she starts wondering whether there is something wrong with the digestive system or if there is something more serious going on with their body.

Passing excessive gas is a natural phenomenon which should not be a cause of worry. It is normally caused due to consuming too much of aerated drinks like soda, overconsumption of alcohol, and eating too much spicy food. Anxiety at times also increases the frequency of an individual passing gas.

However, certain medical conditions may also cause an individual to pass excessive gas. This article gives an overview as to when an individual should worry about passing excessive gas and what can be done about it.

When Should Passing Gas Become Worrisome?

Before answering this question it is important to know as to how much is too much. As stated above, on an average an individual passes gas about 25 times in a day. If this goes on to 30 or even 35 it may be considered as excessive but should not be a cause of worry since certain food and drinks may be at play here. However, if it crosses more than 50 then it may be quite abnormal.

This is the reason if an individual feels that he is passing gas abnormally then consulting a physician should be considered. The physician may recommend maintaining a diary to account for the number of times the individual passes gas in a day. The physician will also encourage the individual to maintain a food diary highlighting the various foods he or she has taken for the day.

Another thing to consider here is whether the gas has a foul odor. The smell of gas depends on the food that one eats and the resultant gasses that are produced by those food products during the process of digestion. A foul smelling gas may not be a sign of a medical condition but may warrant an investigation especially if the individual does not mention about eating anything that may result in a foul odor. Foods which produce foul smelling gas include eggs, meat, and fish.

If the physician finds that the frequency of passing gas of an individual is abnormal then a detailed history of the patient will be taken which will include any prior history of any digestive tract conditions. The physician will also ask about any other accompanying symptoms such as bloating or abdominal pain which may point towards conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive system disorders.

Before visiting the physician, the individual should make sure to carry the symptom diary mentioning any alarming symptoms like unintentional weight loss, blood in the stools, change ion bowel habits, diarrhea alternating with constipation. Based on the symptoms, the physician will recommend certain laboratory tests to identify a cause for the symptoms and if necessary start treatment for it.

What Can Be Done About Excessive Gas?

Once a cause for the excessive gas is identified then the physician will start treatment for it. If the individual does not have any medical condition causing excessive gas then the physician may prescribe medication like simethicone which reduces the frequency of gas. Additionally, the physician may recommend certain lifestyle changes which include

  • Stopping cigarettes if the individual is a smoke
  • Introducing insoluble fiber in the diet like vegetable peels
  • Restriction of carbohydrates
  • Chewing the food thoroughly before swallowing as the digestive process starts in the mouth
  • Drinking plenty of water especially in the morning to prevent constipation
  • Abstain from using straws
  • Abstaining from any carbonated beverages like soda
  • Sitting for some time after eating and not lie down immediately
  • Exercising a minimum of half an hour on a daily basis to not only stay fit but also aid in digestion of food
  • Eating few small meals every day instead of two large meals
  • Applying heat to the abdominal muscles to relax them and calm down any inflammation due to excessive gas

In case if a medical condition is identified as a cause of excessive gas then treatment related to the condition will be started to prevent any worsening. Treatment in most cases is in the form of medications; however, if a serious medical condition like ovarian cyst is believed to be the cause of excessive gas then surgery may be the route to go.

In summary, passing excessive gas it not something to worry about in most cases; however, there are certain medical conditions of which some are potentially serious that may result in an individual passing gas abnormally.

If an individual feels that he or she is passing gas at an abnormally high frequency then it is better to get that checked with a physician to identify a cause and treat it in time to prevent any unwarranted complications.

On an average an individual should pass gas about 25 times in a day. The frequency at which passing gas should become worrisome is when it increases to 50 and above as it signals an underlying medical condition which requires medical treatment.

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