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Chronic gas is caused by a variety of issues, such as bacteria in the intestines, certain dietary choices and swallowing too much air. Irritable bowel syndrome may also cause a person to experience symptoms of gas, as might certain prescription medications used to treat an unrelated illness. While stomach gas is a normal occurrence, chronic gas is caused by an abnormality that needs to be addressed.
A normal person will experience flatulence an average of 14 to 20 times each day. Such is considered a normal amount of gas for both women and men. Individuals experiencing the symptoms of gas more than this amount for a prolonged period of time, however, may have chronic gas.
A certain amount of bacteria in the large intestines is normal. Generally, stomach bacterium derives from the breakdown of foods inside the stomach. When bacteria reach an abnormal level, however, chronic gas is often the result.
Certain food types are known to elevate bacterium levels in the stomach under certain circumstances. Foods that produce excess bacterium include carbohydrates, certain types of sugars, dairy products and certain insoluble fibers, such as wheat bran. When these foods enter the large intestine for further processing, they often produce malodorous excessive gas symptoms.
The symptoms of chronic gas typically include stomach pain, cramps and bloating. A primary sign of excessive gas, however, is chronic flatulence. Upon identifying and addressing the cause of excessive gas, chronic flatulence usually disappears.
Swallowing too much air is a common cause of chronic gas. Generally, this is the result of cigarette smoking, gum chewing or eating too fast. While most air swallowed is relieved through belching, air in the stomach sometimes makes its way to the large intestine. Chronic behaviors that cause this type of gas also contribute to chronic flatulence.
Chronic gas may also be a sign of an underlying condition or illness. For instance, individuals with problems absorbing carbohydrates are more likely to develop symptoms of excessive gas. Also, individuals with a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease will likely experience stomach pain and bloating.
A buildup of a particular type of bacteria, known as Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers, will also cause chronic gas symptoms. While most stomach bacteria are gained through the diet, this particular strain of bacteria may be passed between people. Researchers also believe that this bacterium increases a person’s risk of developing stomach cancer later in life.