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The Causes of Intestinal Gas In the Digestive Tract

Updated on November 23, 2013

The Many Causes of Intestinal Gas in the Stomach

Gas, also, known as flatulence, in the intestinal tract is a most common complaint that is both, uncomfortable and embarrassing. Gas in the intestinal tract can cause bloating. Flatulence was once known as the "vapors." Gas in the intestines can cause a lot of pain. Intestinal gas is made up of carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. It can, also, be made up of methane. The gas is passed through the anus and sometimes is accompanied by a foul odor, but not always. There are resident bacteria that live in the large intestine(colon) that cause gas, and, also, some foods are known to cause gas to form. which is a problem. The odor that sometimes accompanies the gas smells like sulfur(rotten egg smell), and is associated with passing gas through the anus. There are some foods are not digestible, but are digestible by the harmless bacteria that live in the large intestine. The large intestine is the colon, which contains the rectum and anus. When the bacteria digest the indigestible foods, they cause intestinal gas to form. The formed gas may cause great discomfort, distention, belching, and mild to even severe pain. Intestinal gas can cause extreme pain.


Chili tastes great, May cause intestinal gas.
Chili tastes great, May cause intestinal gas. | Source

Causes of Gas Formation

The many causes of gas in the intestinal tract include: swallowed air when eating and drinking too fast, drinking carbonated beverages, smoking, bacteria in the large intestine, and eating foods that are known well for causing gas, for example: the beans in chili. Drinking soft drinks always causes belching, burping and pressure in the esophagus. Chewing gum and drinking through straws may cause air to be swallowed. Eating and drinking causes more air to be swallowed. Hard candy can cause air to be swallowed. Digestive is slowed down by eating fatty foods giving the fatty foods more time to ferment. Lactose (milk sugar), sorbitol, fructose may form gas in the intestines. People, who are lactose intolerant can't break down lactose, which causes intestinal discomfort and gas. These foods that cause intestinal gas are: beans, lentils, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, onions, carrots, apricots, and prunes. Some vegetables that contain starches may cause gas in the digestive tract. It may help to reduce the amount of foods that one may eat that causes intestinal gas to get some relief from intestinal gas. Foods affect individuals in different ways. Some foods may cause intestinal gas in some people, but not so much in others. Chili sure can taste great, but the beans in the chili may lead to the formation of intestinal gas in the digestive tract.

Help for Intestinal Gas

Intestinal gas can be treated, especially if it is excessive and is causing mild or severe pain. Tests can be performed to find the causes of excess gas, and gas can be seen on x-rays. Breathe tests can detect whether or not hydrogen and methane are present in the breathe. A doctor may be able to find the causes of gas and may help to treat the problems of excessive gas in the intestines. There are over the counter drugs that may help relieve intestinal gas. Charcoal tablets may help to relieve gas in the digestive tract. Charcoal tablets can be bought from a chemist or health food store.


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    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thanks for your comment. That sounds very interesting about the beans--I will have to look up Blazing Saddles on Youtube and try to fnd the beans scene. I'll bet that was really funny! I think that I saw the movie, but it must have been years ago.

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear gail641,

      The build up of gas is a very normal part of our digestive system.

      When very seriously ill in hospital a few years back we were shown by the doctors and nurses how to relieve the gas pressure. It seems very surreal now but had a certain humour - night time was like the beans scene from Blazing Saddles !

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thanks, crissytsu. Thats good to know for anyone who would want to try charcoal tablets. Walmart would be a good place to go.

    • crissytsu profile image

      crissytsu 5 years ago from Texas

      Adding to what Nell Rose said about charcoal..I used to work at the Walmart pharmacy and they usually had it behind the counter if you asked for it...just FYI

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thanks, charcoal sounds like a really good idea. I have trouble with my digestive system with too much gas as my mother did. I'll have to try charcoal tablets. Thanks. Gail

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      The best thing for flatulance is charcoal, you can buy charcoal tablets from a chemist or health shop, great little things, and completely safe to use, great info! nell

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thanks, NotPC.

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Thank you! I know a lot of people have trouble with it and it is bothersome to have stomach trouble.

    • NotPC profile image

      NotPC 5 years ago

      Very informative and well written hub!