Why Do I Have Gas? Everyone has gas. Burping or passing gas
through the rectum is normal. Because it is embarrassing to burp or
pass gas, many people believe they pass gas too often or have too
much gas. They do not realize that passing gas 14 to 23 times a day
is normal. An occasional burp during or after meals is normal, too.
It is rare for a person to have too much gas.
Most of the time gas is odorless. The odor comes from sulfur made
by bacteria in the large intestine. Sometimes gas causes bloating and
pain. Not everyone has these symptoms. It probably depends on how
much gas the body makes and how sensitive a person is to gas in the
What Can I Do About Gas? Changing what you eat and drink can
help prevent or relieve gas. If you feel like you have too much gas,
you might want to try these things before going to the doctor.
1. Cut down on foods that cause gas. The amount of gas caused by
certain foods varies from person to person. The only way to know your
own limits is through trial and error. These are some foods that
- Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts,
onions, artichokes, and asparagus.
- Fruits such as pears, apples, and peaches.
- Whole grains such as whole wheat and bran.
- Soft drinks and fruit drinks.
- Milk and milk products, such as cheese and ice cream.
- Packaged foods that have lactose in them, such as bread,
cereal, and salad dressing.
- Dietetic foods and sugarfree candies and gums.
Shopinprivate Note: The product Bean-O is
designed to cut down on gas even if you continue to eat the foods
you love. You might find it worth a try.
2. Drink plenty of water, non-"fizzy" liquids, and clear soup.
- Try not to drink liquids that cause gas, like soda and
beer. If you do drink these liquids, pour them into a glass first
to let some of the "fizz" out.
3. Reduce the amount of air you swallow. Here are some ways to
avoid swallowing air:
- Eat slower and chew more. This will cut down on the
amount of air you swallow when you eat.
- Avoid chewing gum and eating hard candy.
- If you smoke, try to cut down or quit.
- If you have false teeth, see your dentist to make sure they
4. Keep a diary. Write down the foods (and the amounts) that seem
to cause you the most problems. Also keep track of the number of
times you pass gas. You may be surprised to find that it is within
the 14 to 23 times a day that is considered normal.
If you are troubled by gas, you may want to see your doctor. Take
your diary with you to help you answer the doctor's questions about
eating habits and symptoms.
1. Everyone has gas in the digestive tract.
2. People often think they pass too much gas when they don't.
3. Passing gas 14 to 23 times a day is normal.
4. Two ways to reduce the amount of gas you have are the
- Cut down on the foods that cause gas.
- Reduce the amount of air you swallow.
National Digestive Diseases, Information Clearinghouse, 2
Information Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3570
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Health under the U.S. Public Health Service. Established in 1980, the
clearinghouse provides information about digestive diseases to people
with digestive disorders and to their families, health care
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