Excessive Intestinal Gas and Stress

Intestinal gas is the great leveler. Normally considered poor manners and a possible source of embarrassment, the belching and passing of gas is an everyday normal bodily function.

Did you know that we typically expel air 12-25 times per day?

While only about 1% of the air expelled is odorous, the human nose is very sensitive to the gas – meaning that even small amounts of gas could be embarrassing!

There are many causes for excessive gas, one of which is stress. 

Here we describe

  • some of the causes of gas, 
  • how stress can increase the amount of gas that you pass, and 
  • what you can do about it.

Causes of excessive intestinal gas

You may be wondering if you have too much gas and what you can do about it? 

While in some cases too much gas can be dangerous, in most cases it is the social consequences of excessive gas that people fear.

Gas in the intestinal tract can vary and become particularly noticeable after eating.

The source of intestinal gas comes from two sources. These are:

  1. The gulping or swallowing of air which is known as an exogenous source of gas. 
  2. The food that we eat and the byproducts of colonic bacteria that produce methane and other gases from the breakdown of food. This cause of intestinal gas is endogenous.

This gas can be released through belching or flatulence.

There are a number of causes of excessive intestinal gas other than stress. Some of these are:

  • antibiotics which can increase gas,
  • eating foods that are difficult to digest,
  • eating foods that you have a low tolerance to,
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • swallowing air while you eat.

How stress causes gas

Stress can increase the amount of gas in the intestine in a couple of ways. 

  1. When stressed and anxious we swallow more air. This can be a source of excess gas in the intestine.
  2. Excessive emotional stress also results in an increase in hydrochloric acid in the intestinal tract and stomach. This increase in stomach acid can cause gas in the intestine to build up.

So what can you do about stress and excessive gas?

You could adopt eating patterns that reduce swallowing of air, such as eating slowly and not talking while eating, gas in the intestine may also be best managed by observing what you eat. 

For example, beans, which contain complex carbohydrates (raffinose and stachyose) can be difficult to digest and thereby increase gas.  Now we are not saying to take beans out of your diet but pre-soaking beans may be a worthwhile strategy to reduce gas in the intestine.

If stress is causing excessive gas?

If you think that stress is causing you gas there are a number of things that you can do. 

Keep a stress diary. Often a first step in dealing with stress is to keep a stress diary. A stress diary allows you to collect objective data on your stress levels and the biggest causes of stress for you. 

This allows you to implement stress management strategies that target your sources of stress. 

While most people are more concerned about the social implications of gas in the intestine, if various lifestyle changes and stress management practices do not alleviate intestine gas then please visit your doctor.

› Intestinal Gas

Subscribe and get our new Stresshack ebook that takes you from OMG to OM in 15 minutes

Recent Articles

  1. Intestinal Gas and Stress

    Aug 29, 15 08:56 AM

    Intestinal gas can painful and embarrassing. There are many causes for excessive intestinal gas, one of which is stress. If your gas is caused by stress, stress management activities can be used.

    Read More

  2. Stress Weight Gain: Can Stress Make You Fat?

    Aug 27, 15 09:08 PM

    Is stress weight gain affecting you? Can stress make you fat? Stress and weight gain are linked in several ways. Stress increases cortisol,may reduce exercise habits and increase emotional eating.

    Read More

  3. How does stress affect health?

    Aug 27, 15 12:32 AM

    How does stress affect health? Research shows the effects of stress on body and mind influence stress related illness.

    Read More