Gas in your digestive system is part of the normal process of digestion. Getting rid of excess gas, either by burping or passing gas (flatus), also is normal. Gas pain may occur if gas is trapped or not moving well through your digestive system.
An increase in gas or gas pain may result from eating foods that are more likely to produce gas. Often, relatively simple changes in eating habits can lessen bothersome gas.
Signs or symptoms of gas or gas pains include:
- Passing gas
- Pain, cramps or a knotted feeling in your abdomen
- A feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen (bloating)
- An observable increase in the size of your abdomen (distention)
When to see a doctor
Talk to your doctor if your gas or gas pains are so persistent or severe that they interfere with your ability to function well in daily life. Gas or gas pains accompanied by other signs or symptoms may indicate more-serious conditions. See your doctor if you experience any of these additional signs or symptoms:
- Bloody stools
- Change in consistency of stools
- Change in frequency of bowel movements
- Weight loss
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Persistent or recurrent nausea or vomiting
Seek immediate care if you experience:
- Prolonged abdominal pain
- Chest pain
Gas in your stomach is primarily caused by swallowing air when you eat or drink. Most stomach gas is released when you burp.
Gas forms in your large intestine (colon) when bacteria ferment carbohydrates — fiber, some starches and some sugars — that aren’t digested in your small intestine. Bacteria also consume some of that gas, but the remaining gas is released when you pass gas from your anus.
Common foods that cause gas
Certain high-fiber foods may cause gas, including:
- Beans and peas (legumes)
- Whole grains
While high-fiber foods increase gas production, fiber is essential for keeping your digestive tract in good working order and regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels.