Feeling gassy most of the time? 5 possible reasons why

July 19, 2023

MakatiMed shares how to get instant relief and find out when it’s just too much

Pass gas. Cut the cheese. Rip one. Break wind. No matter how many other ways there are to say “flatulence” or “farting,” there is no way you can say it without a blush and a giggle. 

“Farting or the release of intestinal gas to the back passage or anus is a normal biological process of our digestive system. Farting occurs between 5 to 15 times a day, as the intestine produces anywhere from 500 to 2,000 ml. of gas daily,” notes Carlo M. Cornejo, MD, a gastroenterologist and Section Chief of Gastroenterology of the top hospital in the Philippines, Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed). “While some farts can be quiet, it’s usually the loud and smelly ones that are a huge cause for embarrassment—especially if you happen to pass gas in public.” 

As relieving as it is to expel air down there, farting, particularly when done in excess, can be a cause for concern. MakatiMed enumerates the possible reasons why you break wind more than you should—and what you can do to keep it to a minimum. 

You swallowed too much air. “Eating and drinking too fast, talking a lot, laughing heartily, chewing gum, sleeping especially if you suffer from sleep apnea, and even being anxious all make you swallow more air than usual. This accumulates in the digestive system, which leaves you bloated and triggers flatulence,” says Dr. Cornejo. To avoid feeling gassy, it is best to eat and drink slowly, try to consume smaller meals frequently, exercise regularly to help you sleep better and ease your anxiety, and be mindful of seemingly harmless acts like laughing or chewing gum. 

It is because of what you eat or drink. High-fiber foods like beans, nuts, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts); starchy foods like wheat, corn, and sweet potatoes; dried fruits like raisins and prunes; carbonated drinks; and if you are lactose-intolerant, cow’s milk and dairy products are all known to leaving you gassy. Dr. Cornejo suggests that you limit your intake of these foods and drinks or find equally nutritious alternatives if you really need to cut the wind. 

You were prescribed medication. Antibiotics, laxatives, decongestants, anti-retrovirals, and medications for hypertension, depression, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and pain relief may cause you to experience some gassiness with an unpleasant smell, MakatiMed points out. “When you find yourself passing gas more than normal while taking these medicines or experiencing other side effects, let your doctor know soonest,” shares Dr. Cornejo.

You are mildly constipated. How often you move your bowel is a case-to-case basis. For some, it’s once every other day; for others, three times daily. Ideally, it should be daily without pain and strain. “Regular bowel movement helps limit a buildup of gas-producing bacteria. Constipation or the inability to excrete waste can increase stomach gas and cause bloating and frequent flatulence,” states Dr. Cornejo. Add a moderate serving of fiber-rich foods to your diet, drink plenty of water, seek relief from over-the-counter medication, or sip a hot cup of the stomach-soothing ginger tea to improve bowel movement. 

You may have a health issue. What do diabetes, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer all have in common? Excess gassiness or burping and farting more than 20 times a day is a symptom. 

“Of course, it takes more than constant flatulence to confirm if you do have any of these or other conditions, so try not to jump the gun,” assures Dr. Cornejo. “See your health practitioner if your symptom is accompanied by other troubling signs like persistent abdominal pain, recurring diarrhea or constipation, a high fever and vomiting, blood in the stool, and unexplained weight loss.” 

For more information, please contact the Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Center or reach out to any of our Gastroenterologists through MakatiMed On-Call at +632.88888 999, email mmc@makatimed.net.ph, or visit www.makatimed.net.ph. Follow @IamMakatiMed on Facebook and Twitter.