Gas (Flatulence): Excessive
What is excessive gas?
A normal but embarrassing part of life is to pass bowel gas on a daily basis. Most people also belch or burp up stomach gas occasionally. In fact, the average adult on a regular diet passes gas 10 to 20 times a day. This amounts to approximately 1 quart of gas per day. Gas should not be considered excessive unless it occurs at more than twice the normal frequency.
What is the cause?
How can I take care of my child?
In general, passage of gas causes no symptoms. By age 5 or 6 most children can be taught to release gas in a quiet and socially acceptable manner. Gas does not need to be released by inserting anything in the rectum.
Air swallowing can be reduced by getting rid some of the habits listed above (for example, sucking on a pacifier).
Reduced intake of beans and carbonated beverages will decrease gas production in all children.
If you feel your child has a milk intolerance (especially if it runs in the family), only give your child 2 glasses of milk a day. Milk does not need to be completely eliminated in most people with this problem. Your child can keep eating yogurt because it is easy to digest. Supplemental enzyme lactase drops or pills can also be taken with milk products. If the symptoms continue after you've made these minor diet changes, talk to your child's healthcare provider.
When should I call my child's healthcare provider?
Call during office hours if:
- Your child develops loose stools that last over 7 days.
- Your child loses weight.
- You have other questions or concerns.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-08-13
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes
available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical
evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.