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A Doctor Answers a Reader's Question About Excessive Gas

DrSugar Answers: Excessive Gas?

DrSugar is in the house and answering your questions.

Dear Doc Sugar,
I'm having a lot of trouble lately with gas. Yeah, it's really embarrassing, but no matter what I eat (high fiber, low fiber, healthy food, junk food) I start farting constantly. A month ago, I lost a lot of weight because I couldn't handle how bad my gas pains were.

I'm going to give you a few details that might help you, help me. The farts aren't like normal ones. They're high pressured, loud, and sound like I opened a valve to let air out. Sometimes they don't even smell; it's just air. Then I can feel my abdomen deflate. I don't want to go to the doctor yet (because I know they're going to ask for a stool sample, and I think that's so ick), so I was hoping you could help with an explanation and advice.
— One Gassy Gal

To see what DrSugar has to say on this matter,


Flatulence is a normal phenomenon that occurs in everyone, but it can become a big problem for some people, as you have described. Gas comes from two main sources: air that you swallow and gas produced during the digestion of food. Sometimes excessive flatulence can represent intolerance to certain foods such as dairy products or gluten. Eliminating dairy from your diet is a good first step to evaluate whether the problem could be related to lactose intolerance, which is a very common problem. There are also a wide range of foods that have been implicated as “gassy foods,” and an extensive list can be found at GICare. This site also gives information on how to prevent excessive gas, and it might help you.

The fact that your gas is sometimes odorless could provide an interesting clue as to the source of your excessive gas. It has been observed that gas from swallowed air is generally odorless, and gas from the digestion of food usually has an odor. It is possible that your gas problem is from swallowing too much air. Swallowing air can happen when food is eaten very quickly. It can also occur by drinking through straws and drinking carbonated beverages. Try eating slower, taking smaller bites, and avoiding carbonated beverages for a few weeks to see if this helps. If your problem persists, or is associated with pain or diarrhea, it would be best to see a doctor. Many problems can be solved without the dreaded stool sample.

If you have a question for DrSugar, send me a private message here and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

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