For most people, the signs and symptoms of gas and gas pain are all too obvious. They include:
- The voluntary or involuntary passing of gas, either as belches or as flatus.
- Sharp, jabbing pains or cramps in your abdomen. These pains may occur anywhere in your abdomen and can change locations quickly.
- A "knotted" feeling in your abdomen.
- Swelling and tightness in your abdomen (bloating).
Gas pains are usually intense, but brief. Once the gas is gone, your pain often disappears. In some cases, however, the pain may be constant or so intense that it feels like something is seriously wrong.
Gas can sometimes be mistaken for:
- Heart disease
When to see a doctor
It's considered normal to pass gas as flatus between 10 to 20 times a day.
Call your doctor if your gas is accompanied by:
- Severe, prolonged or recurrent abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bloody stools
- Weight loss
- Chest pain
In addition, talk to your doctor if your gas or gas pains are so persistent or severe that they interfere with your ability to live a normal life. In most cases, treatment can help reduce or alleviate the problem.
Apr. 30, 2011
- Gas in the digestive tract. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gas. Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Living with gas in the digestive tract. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/gas-in-the-digestive-tract. Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Gas-related complaints. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec02/ch008/ch008d.html . Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Abraczinskas D, et al. Intestinal gas and bloating. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 4, 2011.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. March 15, 2011.