TRAPPED GAS IN UPPER ABDOMEN

 

We all feel uneasy sometimes because of our digestive system and sometimes we feel like we have trapped gas in upper abdomen. Having gas in our digestive tract is very normal, and happens usually because of the way we eat and drink.

This gas in our body is very natural and does not cause any harm to anyone as we usually pass the gas, in a process we know as passing the gas.

There are times when this gas cannot be passed and is trapped and we feel like there is trapped gas in upper abdomen. Other than this, there are certain foods, that when left undigested bacteria find a substrate to grow on and during the consumption by bacteria gases are released and are accumulated inside the abdomen and become a cause of discomfort.

In this article we will discuss about the causes that may let this condition to occur:

  • Certain foods (lactose and gluten intolerance).

  • Constipation.

  • Inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Diverticulitis.

  • Scleroderma.

  • Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

  • Colon Cancer.

  • Medication (Loperamide, Metoclopramide, Opioids, Lomotil, Iron supplements).

  • Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome.

Further in this article we will discuss:

  • Prevention.

  • When to see a doctor?

  • Takeaway.

 

CERTAIN FOODS:

Food is made up of different components, for which different enzymes are needed by your body to digest them. If you lack the enzymes, you become intolerant to those foods containing the component.

Lactose intolerance and Gluten intolerance are two such things. Lactose is found in dairy products like milk and cheese. Your small intestines produce an enzyme called lactase that breaks down these food items and helps digest them. If your body is not able to produce this enzyme, the food items can no longer be digested properly.

Bacteria comes and eats this undigested lactose up which causes a number of symptoms with one of them being trapped gas in upper abdomen.

Gluten, on the other hand, is found in wheat, barley, etc. There are times when your body is allergic to this gluten and eating any such food item will cause you suffer from a variety of symptoms.

Common symptoms of both these conditions are:

  • Trapped gas in upper abdomen.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Bloating.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Nausea.

If you notice that certain foods make you feel bloated and you face any such symptoms, see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

 

CONSTIPATION:

Passing stools, or defecation, is very important for your body. Sometimes, because of many reasons, your body would not be able to do so, resulting in constipation. Constipation is when you pass stools less than three times a week.

Constipation occurs because of many reasons including intestinal blockage, nerve problem in intestines and around, dysfunctional muscles involved in defecation, or hormonal imbalance.

There are certain risk factors that increase your risk of constipation, some of which are:

  • Old age.
  • Female gender.
  • Not drinking a lot of fluid.
  • Low-fiber diet.
  • Less physical activity.
  • Medication- pain relievers, antidepressants, or sedatives.

Even though everyone faces constipation usually in life, which is harmless, but if it prolongs it can be harmful to your body. Symptoms include:

  • Trapped gas in upper abdomen.
  • Hard stools that are difficult to pass.
  • Inability to fully empty stools.
  • Tiresome bowel movements.

Visit a doctor if you feel like your constipation is taking too long, and is affecting your daily life.

 

INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE:

There are many genetic and unknown causes why inflammatory bowel diseases occur. Commonly known inflammatory bowel diseases are ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is when the wall of your digestive tract or your gastrointestinal tract is swollen, and ulcerative colitis is when your colon and the rectum are inflamed. These conditions can cause many symptoms, one being trapped gas in upper abdomen.

Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Bloody stools.
  • Bloating.
  • Weight loss.

In case you see any such symptom, visit a doctor. It is very important to get yourself checked for inflammatory bowel diseases as they may prove to be dangerous if not diagnosed and treated.

 

DIVERTICULITIS:

Diverticula are small pouches that may form in your digestive tract, especially in the colon. This is a common thing to happen after the age of 40, and in that case is harmless.

Presence of these pouches, or diverticula, is known as diverticulosis. If these pouches undergo inflammation and sometimes infection, it may cause a condition known as diverticulitis.

Symptoms of diverticulitis are:

  • Abdominal cramps (on the left side of your abdomen).
  • Bloody stools.
  • Constipation usually.
  • Diarrhea rarely.
  • Trapped gas in upper abdomen.
  • Bloating.

This condition has to be intervened as early as possible as delaying the visit and leaving it untreated may result in a number of complications, that would require surgical interventions.

 

SCLERODERMA:

It is a condition where your body overproduces collagen, and deposits in different body parts. Collage is a protein required to make your connective tissues. Because of more collagen deposition your skin and other connective tissues harden and tighten.

Scleroderma is more common in women, and occurs commonly between 30 and 50 years of age. It is an untreatable condition, but symptoms cannot be treated so that the quality of your life gets better.

Depending on what tissue is affected, you’ll have symptoms:

  • Tight and hard skin.
  • Shiny skin.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon (fingers or toes turn pale and numb in cold temperature or stress).
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Heartburn.
  • Bloating.
  • Trapped gas in upper abdomen.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Heart, lung, or kidney involvement.

 

SMALL INTESTINAL BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH:

Everyone has bacteria in his or her digestive tract to help function the system properly and to help digest and break the food down in a required manner. Sometimes, due to some conditions, harmful bacteria accumulate and causes a number of problems.

These bacteria come into play when food is stuck in our small intestine and cannot move around properly. This can happen for a number of reasons including diverticulosis (formation of small pouches in your small intestines), surgical problems, blockage in your digestive or gastrointestinal tract, diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, scleroderma, or some drugs.

Symptoms include:

  • Trapped gas in upper abdomen.
  • Bloating.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • Weakness.
  • Decreased appetite.

 

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME:

It is a disorder in which a person faces many digestive or gastrointestinal symptoms. Not all with irritable bowel syndrome visit a doctor to get themselves checked, but sometimes the symptoms may be severe enough to force you get yourself checked.

Symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Constipation.
  • Bloating.
  • Trapped gas in upper abdomen.
  • Chances in appearance of stools.
  • Abdominal cramps.

Immediately see a doctor if you like you are losing weight, you see blood in stools, vomiting, or difficulty in swallowing. The abdominal cramps and pain should go away with you defecating, if it doesn’t see a doctor as soon as you can.

 

COLON CANCER:

It is a cancer of large intestine. In this cancer, initially masses of cells are deposited inside the colon which block the tract. These masses aren’t always cancerous, but can turn cancerous.

There are many risk factors for colon cancer including increasing age, African American race, positive history of colorectal cancer, colon polyps, and untreated ulcerative colitis.

Symptoms include:

  • Constant change in bowel movements.
  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • Blood in stools.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Trapped gas in upper abdomen.
  • Weight loss.
  • Weakness.

With increase in the stage of cancer, you may feel a number of more symptoms that are going to be severe enough for you to visit a doctor. It is always recommended not to ignore even a small symptom, especially weight loss and bloody stools.

 

MEDICATION:

Certain drugs that decrease gastrointestinal motility or the motility of your digestive tract can cause trapped gas in upper abdomen. These drugs include Loperamide, Metoclopramide, Opioids, Lomotil, Iron supplements

 

SUPERIOR MESENTERIC ARTERY SYNDROME:

Superior mesenteric artery supplies part of the stomach and part of the small intestine called duodenum to large intestine. In this syndrome, duodenum is compressed between your aorta and the superior mesenteric artery. This doesn’t let the food go beyond the small intestine and causes obstruction there.

Symptoms of this syndrome include abdominal pain, vomiting, feeling fullness very soon after eating, and trapped gas in upper abdomen.

 

PREVENTION:

First and foremost, thing is to keep a check on whatever triggers your condition. If it is a particular food that triggers your condition, avoid having that and notice a change.

Along with these little things, what else you can do is:

  • Save yourself from dehydration.
  • Avoid foods that cause trapped gas in upper abdomen.
  • Don’t swallow or drink too fast.
  • Increase in physical activity.
  • Try over the counter medication for bloating.

 

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR:

If trapped gas in upper abdomen is manageable and that you can manage it at home, it is not required to be checked by a doctor. But in case this condition is constant, and doesn’t go away with home remedies, or if it severe enough to make it difficult for you to do the daily chores, you will have to visit a doctor.

Symptoms, when seen, should visit a doctor:

  • Blood in stools.
  • Change in consistency of your bowel movements.
  • Change in the cycle of bowel habits.
  • Unexplained and sudden weight loss.
  • Constant constipation or diarrhea.
  • Constant abdominal pain.

 

TAKEAWAY:

Passing gas is a natural phenomenon and is necessary for the normal functioning of your body. Sometimes, trapped gas in abdomen might be for a very brief period, and will improve with minimal changes like exercising, changing diet, avoiding trigger foods, or taking medicine, but there are times when the symptom remains.

In case it persists, and the pain and discomfort lead to inability of fulfilling your daily activities, you should visit a doctor and get yourself checked. Difficulty in swallowing, weight loss, loss of appetite, bloody stools, and constant pain which doesn’t improve are some of the symptoms that should be taken care of.

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