Intestinal gas is always present throughout the length of the digestive tract, from the stomach to the rectum. We notice intestinal gas only if it is excessive or causing pain.
Excess intestinal gas in the stomach or upper intestine may result in excess burping or belching. Excess intestinal gas in your lower intestine may result in increased gas being passed from your anus (flatulence). Excess gas from either location can cause cramping or pain, often without an obvious pattern.
Most people burp occasionally and people pass gas rectally several times a day as a normal part of daily activities and food breakdown. Sometimes, excessive intestinal gas can indicate a digestive disorder.
By itself, intestinal gas is rarely a sign or symptom of a serious condition. It can cause discomfort and embarrassment, but it's usually just a sign of a normally functioning digestive system. If you're bothered by intestinal gas, try changing your diet.
However, see your doctor if your gas is persistent or severe, or if it's associated with vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, unintentional weight loss, blood in the stool or heartburn.
June 11, 2013
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- Wilkinson JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 12, 2013.