Stomach bloating: Tips from a local gut health expert |12 July 2019
Stomach bloating has the potential to cause some people intense grief, and according to Dr Murthy Pillay, quite a number of people in Seychelles suffer from this problem, adding that it is common in adults, but that any age group can be affected, especially infants.
While it is normal for anyone to have gas/wind in the stomach, Dr Murthy cautions that excessive amounts are troublesome and may be due to some underlying digestive disorder.
Dr Murthy is a local gastroenterologist (specialist in digestive diseases) and founder of Dr Murthy’s Medical & Gastro Clinic.
In the following interview, he enlightens us about stomach bloating and some ways in which we can prevent it, or at least manage the symptoms.
Seychelles NATION: What causes stomach bloating?
Dr Murthy Pillay: Gas in your stomach is primarily caused by swallowing air when you eat or drink, and keeping your mouth open, especially while sleeping.
Gas forms in your large intestine (colon) when bacteria ferment carbohydrates – fiber, some starches and some sugars – that aren’t digested in your small intestine.
Bacteria also consume some of that gas, but the remaining gas is released when you pass it from your anus. Most stomach gas is released when you burp.
High-fiber foods that commonly cause gas include:
- Beans and peas (legumes)
- Whole grains
Other dietary factors that can contribute to increased gas in the digestive system include the following:
- Carbonated beverages, such as soda and beer, increase stomach gas.
- Eating habits, such as eating too quickly, drinking through a straw, chewing gum, sucking on candies or talking while chewing results in swallowing more air.
- Fiber supplements containing Psyllium, such as Metamucil, may increase colon gas.
- Sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol, found in some sugar-free foods and beverages may cause excess colon gas.
Medical conditions that may increase intestinal gas, bloating or gas pain include the following:
- Anxiety; hormonal changes in women such as menopause or during periods.
- Chronic intestinal disease: Excess gas is often a symptom of chronic intestinal conditions such as diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, Coeliac Disease and also Functional Bowel Disorder such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Small bowel bacterial overgrowth: An increase or change in the bacteria in the small intestine can cause excess gas, diarrhea and weight loss.
- Food intolerances: Gas or bloating may occur if your digestive system can't break down and absorb certain foods such as the sugar in dairy products (lactose) or proteins such as gluten in wheat and other grains.
- Constipation: Constipation may make it difficult to pass gas and cause bloating.
Seychelles NATION: What are the signs and symptoms of stomach bloating?
Dr Murthy Pillay:
- Excess burping/flatus
- Pain, cramps or a knotted feeling in your abdomen
- A feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen (bloating)
- An observable increase in the size of your abdomen (distention)
Seychelles NATION: How can we prevent and manage stomach bloating?
Dr Murthy Pillay: Firstly, you should avoid the precipitating or triggering factors mentioned in the causes which are under our control, take regular exercise and manage your eating habits.
People who suffer from excess gas after eating whole grains and fruits should just cut down their intake until they feel comfortable.
Many anti-flatulent products are available in the market which can be used, but if it’s lasting for a long period of time, then you need to see a doctor to find out if there is any underlying digestive problem and treat it accordingly.
For more information, contact Dr Murthy’s Medical & Gastro Clinic:
- Address: Lodge Street, Victoria, Mahé
- Telephone: +248 4224 290
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: drmurthysclinic.com