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Gas and Bloating

As your body breaks down the food you eat, it releases gas into your intestinal tract. In addition, when we chew, drink, and swallow all day long, we take in air that builds up pressure in our bodies as well. This can accumulate in both the upper and lower intestinal tract and can lead to bloating and feelings of fullness and discomfort. Although gas and bloating are common at any age, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, symptoms may become particularly more prevalent after the age of 40.

The Facts About Gas and Bloating

The average person produces between one and four pints of gas per day, but must expel some of this through belching and flatulence since the intestinal tract can only hold a fraction of this. While gas builds up in both the upper and lower digestive tracts, the reasons for accumulation in each are different.

Upper Digestive Tract

When we swallow air it goes into our stomach. If we don’t release it through belching, it gets pushed into our upper and lower intestines and eventually expelled as gas. Activities such as talking while eating, eating too fast, smoking, chewing gum and drinking through a straw can cause gas in the upper digestive tract, as well as anxiety.

Lower Digestive Tract

The foods we consume cause gas in the lower digestive tract. Bacteria in the colon triggers a fermentation process that reacts on high fiber foods that aren’t fully digested. These include whole grains, beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, asparagus and some other vegetables. Starches, sugars, dairy products and pasta can cause gas as well.