Causes of Severe Gassiness and How to Curb the Problem By Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com
Everybody experiences a little gas now and then. It's not always pleasant but it is a fact of life. Sometimes though, it's not just 'gas' but rather gassiness that is downright severe. When this happens, it can pass beyond embarrassing and become a real problem. But what causes severe gassiness and what can you do to prevent or minimize it? You'll never be able to entirely eliminate gas there are steps you can take to address the problem. Let's take a look and see.
For the most part, gas is in the body is the result of swallowed air or it is produced as part of the digestive process. Nearly all of the gassiness that arises from swallowing air is released through the mouth as a burp or a belch. This type of gassiness is generally not too much of a problem. It's the gassiness that makes its way into the intestinal track that can become severe and quite problematic.
As our bodies breakdown the foods we eat the chemical processes produce small amounts of gas. Some of this gas is absorbed into the bloodstream and some of it makes its way into the esophagus, where it is released through burping or belching. The remaining gas heads down into the small intestine, where it is partially absorbed. The leftover gas moves on down into the large intestine where it is released through the 'back door' as flatulence.
So now that we have a basic understanding of gas, let's move on to a discussion about severe gassiness and how to curb the problem when it happens to you. The majority of the gas that goes into the lower intestinal track (large intestine) is produced when bacteria in the digestive system ferment carbohydrates that didn't get digested in the small intestine. Not surprisingly, different foods produce more gas than others. Foods that are high in fiber tend to produce more gas than others.
Unfortunately, some of the healthiest foods--fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes--produce the most gas. Many people who start eating healthier by switching from simple carbohydrates (those found in white breads and processed foods) to complex carbs are surprised to find that they are suddenly very gassy. While these high fiber foods have many health benefits, gassiness is an inevitable side effect.
For the most part though, eating these high fiber, healthy, complex carbs does not cause severe gassiness. The type of gas that is produced by eating these foods is generally fairly mild. The health benefits realized from eating these foods outweigh the minor issue of gas that they produce.
Severe gassiness largely arises from some sort of medical condition or intolerance. For example, millions of people cannot tolerate lactose, which is found in nearly any kind of dairy product. A person who is lactose intolerant who--purposely or inadvertently--consumes lactose is often faced with the sudden onset of severe gassiness that may include abdominal pain and bloating in addition to flatulence and belching.
Other food or ingredient intolerances can produce severe gassiness in some people. Other common offenders include: sugar; raffinose (a complex sugar found in cabbage, brussel sprouts and others); fructose; and sorbitol. For some people, these foods or ingredients don't produce much gas at all but for others, the resulting gassiness can be severe. Some bodybuilders note intolerance to some of the ingredients in protein powders, which results in the onset of severe gassiness. Lastly, some medicines or medical conditions can cause serious gassiness. Some of these conditions can be quite severe and require medical attention.
Now let's move on to how you can curb the problem of severe gassiness. If it's just an occasional problem that crops up now and then and doesn't last long, then chances are, your severe gassiness is related to something you ate and will pass soon. If however, your severe gassiness occurs frequently, gets progressively worse or lasts for a prolonged period, then it may stem from a medical condition or intolerance to something.
You can first try changing your diet by keeping track of the foods you eat to see if you notice any patterns or relationships between certain foods and severe gassiness. If you're eating them you might also want to try eliminating high fat foods from your diet. If none of this helps then you should most definitely consult a medical professional to determine if you have an illness or condition that is causing the problem.
A doctor may recommend dietary changes, a non-prescription medicine such as antacids or charcoal tablets. In some cases doctors will also suggest a prescription medicine to address the issue. In any case, severe gassiness is not something you should take lightly. It can not only be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but occasionally harmful as well.