Why Do You Have So Much Gas All The Time? Gastroenterologist explains.

Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.

1. Eating too many gassy foods and drinks.

Faulty eating of the wrong types or the wrong amounts of food is the most frequent cause of having gas all the time.

Foods are acted up by bacteria inside your digestive tract. Certain foods produce more gas than others (reference).

Also, you may have partial intolerance to one or more of the below list of gas-producing foods.

Regular consumption of EXCESS amounts of the offending food will give you so much gas all the time.

ITEMEXAMPLES
1. Milk and dairy products– milk,
– ice cream,
– and sometimes, cheese and yogurt.
2. Vegetables– Broccoli,
– cauliflower,
– Brussel sprouts,
– onions,
– leeks,
– parsnips,
– celery,
– radishes,
– asparagus,
– cabbage,
– kohlrabi,
– cucumber,
– potatoes,
– turnips,
– and rutabaga.
3. Fruits– Prunes,
– apricots,
– apples,
– pears,
– peaches,
– raisins,
– bananas
4. Whole grains-wheat,
– oats,
– bagels,
– wheat germ,
– pretzels,
– bran/bran cereal
5. Legumes– Beans,
– peas,
– baked beans,
– soybeans,
– lima beans
6. FatsFried and high-fat foods.
7. Drinks– Carbonated beverages,
– beeer,
– carbonated medications
8. Others– chewing gum,
– artificial sweeteners

2 . Lactose Inolternance.

Lactose is a type of sugar mainly present in milk and other dairy products.

Lactose intolerance is the most common form of food intolerance. Studies show that around 25% of the white race has lactose intolerance (reference).

Shockingly, lactose intolerance may affect up to 90% among other races such as blacks, Native Americans, and Asian Americans (reference).

If you are a regular consumer of mild or dairy products, lactose intolerance can be the cause of getting so much gas all the time.

What causes lactose intolerance?

The lactose sugar needs an enzyme called (lactase) to be digested and absorbed. Lactose intolerance occurs when your small intestine cannot produce enough (lactase) (reference).

The lactase enzyme deficiency can be:

  • Primary lactase deficiency: is a hereditary disease leading to gradual loss of lactase enzyme function (most common cause).
  • Secondary lactase deficiency: due to injury to the intestinal mucosa as with gastroenteritis, celiac disease, IBD, chemotherapy, or antibiotic use.

Symptoms suggestive of lactose intolerance:

  • Diarrhea after eating ice cream and other dairy products.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Bloating and distension.
  • Passing too much gas (flatulence).
  • Nausea after eating dairy products.
  • Fullness and early satiety.
  • Vomiting can occur in severe cases.
  • Less commonly: Headache, muscle aches, joint pain, mouth ulcers, and impaired concentration (reference).

Lactose intolerance is a widespread condition. So, consider consulting your doctor if you consistently get so much gas all the time.

Also, you can run a small experiment by eliminating dairy for a week and notice the changes in gas amounts. Tell your doctor or nutritionist if cutting lactose improves your condition.

More: What happens if you ignore lactose intolerance?

3. Other forms of food intolerance and allergy.

Food intolerance occurs when your gut has trouble digesting or absorption certain types of food or food component.

As a result, the undigested and/or unabsorbed foods remain longer inside your intestines.

Bacteria then consume the stagnant food and produce extra gas (even with average amounts of food).

The more you eat from the offending foods, the more you will get so much gas all the time.

Food intolerance is widespread, affecting up to 20% of people (reference).

Food intolerance is different from food allergy. Food allergy is defined as an allergic reaction to food (mediated by your immune system).

The differences between food intolerance and allergy are explained in the table below.

Food intoleranceFood allergy
Affects 15-20% of the populationAffects nearly 2-5% of adults
Difficulty digesting certain types of food (not immune-mediated allergy).An immune-mediated reaction to certain foods or food components.
Causes “recurrent acute” or “chronic” attacks of diarrhea, so much gas, and bloating.Usually causes acute attacks related to the ingestion of offending food.
Intestinal symptoms: diarrhea, extensive gas, bloating, distension (looking pregnant), and abdominal painIntestinal symptoms are the same
No extraintestinal symptomsExtraintestinal symptoms like rashes, urticaria, swollen lips or face, or severe life-threatening allergic reactions.
The severity of your symptoms is proportional to the amount you eat from the offending food.Even trace amounts of the offending food can produce severe symptoms.
Common offending foods:
  • Lactose intolerance (dairy products).
  • Fructose malabsorption.
  • alochol intolerance.
  • FODMAP intolerance (as with People with IBS).
Common offending foods: (examples)
  • Raw meat, seafood.
  • Nuts, peanut
  • Mustard.
  • Rice
  • Some vegetables and fruits

4. Irritable Bowel syndrome (FODMAP Intolerance).

FODMAPs are a group of foods that contain short-chain sugars that are rapidly fermentable. FODMAP is considered a type of food intolerance.

FODMAP intolerance is very common among people who have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Bloating and so much gas sensation are present in nearly 99% of patients with IBS.

MORE: Bloating with IBS, what is the causes?

Eating FODMAPs can lead to excess bloating and distension. In addition, FODMAP intolerance produces symptoms of IBS, which include:

  • Recurrent abdominal pain (at least one day per week for several months.
  • Abdominal pain comes in periods of flare-ups and remissions.
  • Abdominal pain is
  • Change in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation).
  • Changes in stool form (harder or looser stool).
  • IBS can be diarrhea-predominant, constipation-predominant, or mixed.
  • Bloating and distension. IBS is one of the most common causes of distension that can make you look pregnant.

Characteristics and sources of common FODMAPs

  Sugar typeFoods containing
FFermentable
OOligosaccharidesFructans, galactooligosaccharidesWheat, barley, rye, onion, leek, the white part of spring onion, garlic, shallots, artichokes, beetroot, fennel, peas, chicory, pistachio, cashews, legumes, lentils, and chickpeas
DDisaccharidesLactoseMilk, custard, ice cream, and yogurt
MMonosaccharides“Free fructose” (fructose in excess of glucose)Apples, pears, mangoes, cherries, watermelon, asparagus, sugar snap peas, honey, high-fructose corn syrup
AAnd
PPolyolsSorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, and xylitolApples, pears, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, watermelon, mushrooms, cauliflower, artificially sweetened chewing gum, and confectionery

You will notice similarities between the offending foods in food intolerance, gassy foods, and FODMAP foods.

We currently don’t fully understand the mechanism of IBS and food intolerance. However, These foods are evidenced to cause bloating and so much gas.

6. False Diet Habits.

Diet habits and the swallowing of air can be a reason why you have so much gas all the time.

Examples of the faulty habits that lead to excessive air swallowing:

  • Eating too fast.
  • Talking while eating.
  • Aerophagia (due to anxiety and psychological disturbances.).
  • Smoking.
  • Carbonated beverages.
  • Anxiety (aerophagia): swelling of air during times of stress and anxiety.

7. SIBO.

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is an abnormal increase in the overall bacteria inside your small intestine.

SIBO results from certain diseases such as Crohn’s disease, diabetes, antibiotic use, or specific surgeries.

SIBO leads to a complex of symptoms as:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Bloating and too much gas all the time.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss, malnutrition.

SIBO is widely recognized nowadays due to advancements in its diagnosis. However, SIBO is still underdiagnosed in many countries.

Also, SIBO is linked to many other digestive diseases such as IBS. Talk with your doctor about the possibility of SIBO as a cause of too much gas.

Learn more.

8. Other Causes.

The below causes often have more severe distinctive symptoms other than gas. They can cause too much gas all the time, but it is not the most prominent symptom.

  • Celiac disease: characterized by diarrhea, anemia, nausea, and weight loss in severe cases.
  • IBD: often presents with changes in bowel habits, with blood and mucus in stool.
  • Functional dyspepsia: discomfort or pain in the upper-middle abdomen after eating.
  • Functional abdominal bloating.
  • Bile acid diarrhea: causes severe diarrhea with urgency.
  • Chronic pancreatitis (pancreatic Exocrine insufficiency): causes fatty or greasy diarrhea.
  • Chronic infections as chronic giardiasis.
  • Some medications such as overuse of antacids, laxatives, anti-diarrhea medicines, and opioiod anallgesics.
  • Intestinal adhesions.
  • Changes in the atmospheric pressure.