For most people, the signs and symptoms of gas and gas pain are all too obvious. They include:
- 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 and get better quickly.
- A 'knotted' feeling in your abdomen.
- Swelling and tightness in your abdomen (bloating).
Sometimes, gas pains 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 and 20 times a day. That amount varies from day to day, however.
Call your doctor if your gas is accompanied by:
- Prolonged abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
- A change in stool color or frequency
- Weight loss
- Chest pain
- Persistent or recurrent nausea or vomiting
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.
May 02, 2014
- Abraczinskas D, et al. Intestinal gas and bloating. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 17, 2013.
- Gas in the digestive tract. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gas. Accessed Dec. 17, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Dec. 20, 2013.
- Living with gas in the digestive tract. American Gastroenterological Association. http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/digestive-conditions/gas-in-the-digestive-tract. Accessed Dec. 20, 2013.
- Gas-related complaints. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal_disorders/symptoms_of_gi_disorders/gas-related_complaints.html. Accessed Dec. 20, 2013.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 9, 2014.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. Jan. 20, 2014.
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