Gas & Indigestion
Indigestion” refers to any number of gastrointestinal
complaints, which can include gas (belching, flatulence, or
bloating) and upset stomach.
Living with acid reflux can be hard enough, but when you add
other problems to that, it can be downright life altering. There
are some reflux sufferers who also have problems with gas and
indigestion, and those problems mixed with acid reflux are
enough to make anyone miserable. You may not think they are
related, but there are times when gas indigestion problems are
directly linked to your acid reflux, or are aggravating your
In the case of gas, it might be making your reflux worse, or
might even be the cause of it. When food sits in the stomach for
too long, it begins to break down but does not necessarily move
through the digestion tract quickly enough. That creates gas in
the stomach and can put undo pressure on the muscle between your
stomach and your esophagus that is meant to stay closed to
prevent reflux. When opened, or even pushed open repeatedly by
excess gas, you run the risk of having acid splash up into your
When it come to indigestion, you may think it is just a
natural part of acid reflux, but that might be related to the
gas problem you are experiencing. Gas indigestion problems can
feel much like acid reflux symptoms, but are more likely the
cause of your reflux. All of these things go together to make
you feel very uncomfortable.
Some sufferers think that they are producing too much stomach
acid and that is the root of all of their problems. However,
what most people don’t realize is that as you age, you actually
produce lower amounts of stomach acid, and that may be what is
at the root of your gas indigestion problems. When there is not
enough acid, food is not digested as quickly and can not move
through your system. Instead, it sits in the stomach producing
excess gas as a result. It’s a vicious circle.
What causes gas & indigestion?
Gas in the digestive tract—the esophagus, stomach, small
intestine, and large intestine—comes from two sources:
- swallowed air
- normal breakdown of certain undigested foods by harmless
bacteria naturally present in the large intestine, also called
Aerophagia, or air swallowing, is a common cause of gas in
the stomach. Everyone swallows small amounts of air when eating
and drinking. However, eating or drinking rapidly, chewing gum,
smoking, or wearing loose dentures can cause some people to take
in more air.
Burping, or belching, is the way most swallowed air—which
contains nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide—leaves the
stomach. The remaining gas moves into the small intestine, where
it is partially absorbed. A small amount travels into the large
intestine for release through the rectum. The stomach also
releases carbon dioxide when stomach acid mixes with the
bicarbonate in digestive juices, but most of this gas is
absorbed into the bloodstream and does not enter the large
Breakdown of Undigested Foods
The body does not digest and absorb some carbohydrates—the
sugar, starches, and fiber found in many foods—in the small
intestine because of a shortage or absence of certain enzymes
that aid digestion.
This undigested food then passes from the small intestine
into the large intestine, where normal, harmless bacteria break
down the food, producing hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and, in about
one-third of all people, methane. Eventually these gases exit
through the rectum.
What are some symptoms and problems of gas?
The most common symptoms of gas are flatulence, abdominal
bloating, abdominal pain, and belching. However, not everyone
experiences these symptoms. The type and degree of symptoms
probably depends on how much gas the body produces, how many
fatty acids the body absorbs, and a person's sensitivity to gas
in the large intestine.
An occasional belch during or after meals is normal and
releases gas when the stomach is full of food. However, people
who belch frequently may be swallowing too much air and
releasing it before the air enters the stomach.
Sometimes a person with chronic belching may have an upper
gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, such as peptic ulcer disease,
gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), or gastro paresis, also
called delayed gastric emptying.
Sometimes people believe that swallowing air and releasing it
will relieve the discomfort of these disorders, and they may
intentionally or unintentionally develop a habit of belching to
Gas-bloat syndrome may occur after fundoplication surgery to
correct GERD. The surgery creates a one-way valve between the
esophagus and stomach that allows food and gas to enter the
stomach but often prevents normal belching and the ability to
Another common complaint is too much flatulence. However,
most people do not realize that passing gas 14 to 23 times a day
is normal. Too much gas may be the result of carbohydrate
Many people believe that too much gas causes abdominal
bloating. However, people who complain of bloating from gas
often have normal amounts and distribution of gas. They may just
be unusually aware of gas in the digestive tract.
Bloating is usually the result of an intestinal disorder,
such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The cause of IBS is
unknown but may involve abnormal movements and contractions of
intestinal muscles and increased pain sensitivity in the
intestines. These disorders may give a sensation of bloating
because of increased sensitivity to gas.
Any disease that causes intestinal inflammation or
obstruction, may also cause abdominal bloating. In addition,
people who have had many operations, internal hernias may
experience bloating or pain. Finally, eating a lot of fatty food
can delay stomach emptying and cause bloating and discomfort,
but not necessarily too much gas.
Abdominal Pain and Discomfort
Some people have pain when gas is present in the intestine.
When pain is on the left side of the colon, it can be confused
with heart disease, which sometimes causes abdominal pain. When
the pain is on the right side of the colon, it may mimic
gallstones or appendicitis.
Herbs which is useful
The patient should undertake a fast. He should be given only warm water to drink during
this period. This will give rest to the stomach and allow the
toxic condition causing the inflammation to subside. After the
acute symptoms subside the patients should adopt an all fruit
diet for the next three days and take juicy fruits like apples,
pears, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, peaches and
melons. He may thereafter gradually embark upon a balanced diet
consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables and fruit.
The patient should avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco, spices and
condiments, meat, red pepper, sour foods, pickles, strong tea
and coffee. He should also avoid sweets, pastries, rich cakes
and aerated waters.
The patient should not
expose himself to hard mental or physical work. He should avoid
anxiety, worry and anger. He should be given complete rest. A
walk in the early morning for about a mile is very useful.
Patient should try to avoid hot drinks and foods. It's better
not to take spicy and oily foods.
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