Bloating, belching and intestinal gas occur when excess air is swallowed or when the breakdown of food does not occur properly during digestion. These symptoms may also be accompanied by abdominal pain and cramps that could vary in severity and duration. In some cases, intestinal gas and the accompanying symptoms may become persistent and severe and may interfere with daily functioning. In such cases it is advisable to consult a doctor as it may be indicative of some underlying condition.
Intestinal gas is usually eliminated from the body through belching or flatulence. But when this does not happen, the gas builds up in the digestive system and results in bloating. Abdominal pain also commonly occurs due to bloating and the discomfort is only relieved when the gas is passed or a bowel movement takes place. Bloating may occur due to consumption of foods rich in fat. Smoking, stress, lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome can also lead to bloating. People who have some kind of infection or blockage in the gastrointestinal tract may also experience bloating. In order to reduce bloating, you need to avoid foods which are likely to produce gas. Carbohydrate foods often lead to gas formation and hence the consumption of these should be restricted or avoided. Such foods include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, baked beans, lettuce and fruits such as pears and apples.
The body expels excess air from the stomach through belching. Air is swallowed when you consume food too quickly or when you overeat. Talking while eating and chewing gum can also cause swallowing of air. People also tend to swallow excess air when they drink carbonated beverages or drink liquids through a straw. In some cases, individuals swallow air due to nervousness. Those with gastro esophageal reflux disease or GERD also tend to swallow excess air in order to clear the buildup of stomach contents in the esophagus. Persistent belching may also be a symptom of peptic ulcer disease, gastritis or gastroparesis. You can avoid belching by ensuring that you eat slowly. Also avoid sipping too quickly on beverages and refrain from using a straw. Those prone to gas buildup should avoid having carbonated beverages. Other habits to avoid include smoking and chewing gum. Those who wear dentures should make sure that they are fitted well as if they are not, excess air may be swallowed. It is also advisable to treat heartburn through medication or natural remedies in order to prevent belching.
Intestinal gas occurs when the undigested food undergoes fermentation in the colon. Gas can also be formed when there is incomplete breakdown of food. Foods that contain gluten or sugar may sometimes remain undigested leading to formation of gas. Other causes of intestinal gas include imbalance in the levels of intestinal bacteria. This could occur due to the intake of certain medications or improper absorption of carbohydrates. Swallowed air could also reach the colon and result in buildup of gas. Some people experience intestinal gas formation due to constipation. This causes the food to stay inside the colon for longer periods of time and hence fermentation takes place. To avoid intestinal gas it is necessary to avoid foods such as beans, onions, cabbage, bananas, lentils and carbonated beverages. Those who face a problem with dairy products should opt for lactose-free foods. Fat leads to slower digestion and hence it is advisable to keep your daily diet low in fat. Although fiber assists in the process of digestion, it can sometimes lead to gas formation. Therefore it is advisable to cut down on fiber rich foods until the problem of intestinal gas subsides. Apart from the foods we eat, the manner in which we eat also affects digestion. Meal times should be a relaxed affair and you need to ensure that you do not eat in a stressful state or when in a hurry. To allow proper digestion to take place, you can take a short walk after your meals. In case of too much discomfort due to intestinal gas, you can use over-the-counter medications. In most cases, bloating, belching and intestinal gas subside on their own. But in case you notice other symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, blood in the stools, weight loss, chest pain or fever, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately.
Natural remedies are quite beneficial in treating problems related to digestion. Ginger is one of the best natural treatments for intestinal gas. Chew on a piece of ginger after your meals to allow for proper digestion. You can also add some lemon juice and salt to the ginger. Another effective remedy for poor digestion is holy basil. Chew on some holy basil leaves every morning to prevent bloating and abdominal discomfort. To avoid intestinal gas, you can also consume a drink of warm water with some honey and lemon juice every morning.