Digestive System Home > Intestinal Gas

Intestinal gas is present in everyone. Many people who think they have too much actually have normal amounts. Common symptoms are belching, flatulence, bloating, and abdominal pain. Ways to reduce the discomfort this gas can cause include changing your diet, taking nonprescription medicines, and reducing the amount of air swallowed.

What Is Intestinal Gas?

Everyone has intestinal gas and eliminates it by burping or passing it through the rectum. However, many people think they have too much when they really have normal amounts. Most people produce about 1 to 4 pints a day and pass gas about 14 times a day.
 
Intestinal gas is made up primarily of odorless vapors -- carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sometimes methane. The unpleasant odor of flatulence comes from bacteria in the large intestine that release small amounts of gases that contain sulfur.
 
Although having intestinal gas is common, it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Understanding the causes of intestinal gas and knowing the treatment options will help most people find relief.
 

Symptoms of Intestinal Gas

The most common symptoms of intestinal gas are:
 
  • Belching
  • Flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain).
     
However, some of these symptoms are often caused by an intestinal disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), rather than too much gas.
 
(Click Intestinal Gas Problems and Symptoms to learn more.)
 

Treatment for Intestinal Gas

The most common ways to reduce discomfort are changing your diet, taking nonprescription medicines, and reducing the amount of air swallowed.
 
Digestive enzymes, such as lactase supplements, actually help digest carbohydrates and may allow people to eat foods that normally cause gas.
 
(Click Intestinal Gas Treatment for more information.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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