What is Gas?
What Is Gas?
Gas affects about 140 million people every year.* So, if you suffer from gas, flatulence or a bloated stomach, you're in good company. Gas, burping, and bloating are all normal conditions.
Gas is made in the stomach and intestines when your body breaks down food into energy. Bloating is a feeling of fullness in the abdomen, which can make you feel uncomfortable. Although people may think that they pass gas too often or have too much gas, it is rare to have too much gas.+
Gas consists mainly of the odorless gas carbon dioxide.** Small amounts of other gases are also present, for example methane and hydrogen sulphide. The unpleasant smell of intestinal gas is caused by hydrogen sulphide or other compounds. These other compounds are mostly amines, which are produced when proteins break down in the colon. Over-the-counter gas remedies like Gas-X® can relieve the discomfort, pressure, and abdominal bloating caused by gas.
Belching or burping (eructation) is the voluntary or involuntary, at times noisy release of air from the stomach or esophagus through the mouth. Burping 3 to 4 times after consuming a meal is normal and is often caused by swallowing air. Additional causes of burping include nervous habits or other medical conditions, for example an ulcer or a gallbladder problem.+
All people pass gas. However, some people produce more gas than others. It is normal to pass gas from 6 to 20 times in one day. Although this may be embarrassing or annoying, excess intestinal gas is not usually caused by a serious medical condition.+
- * Arbor Study, 2002.
- + National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health.
- ** Cleveland Clinic