What Causes a Person to Have Gas?


Quick Answer

The primary causes of gas in humans are air that a person swallows and bacterial breakdown of certain foods in the digestive tract, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Gas includes carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen and small amounts of other gases, including methane. Carbohydrates, such as beans, whole grains and high fiber vegetables are most likely to cause gas problems.

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Full Answer

According to WebMD, drinking through a straw, eating or drinking too fast, smoking and chewing gum all increase the amount of swallowed air in a person's digestive tract. Carbonated sodas increase the gas inside the body due to the chemical process that causes the bubbles. Some individuals who suffer acid reflux swallow air to force the acid back into the stomach. For others, swallowing is a nervous habit that increases the gas in the digestive system.

Mayo clinic recommends avoiding certain foods to reduce the amount of gas bacteria in the digestive system. Broccoli, beans and fruits high in fiber cause trouble for some people. Other problem foods include hard candies, foods that contain sugar alcohols as an artificial sweetener and dairy products.

While gas is an embarrassing problem for many individuals, it is also capable of causing pain and discomfort. If gas does not move through the digestive system normally, as with individuals who suffer irritable bowel syndrome, the sensitivity to gas pain increases, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

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