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Kush asked...

Hi, I have been suffering from excessive gas being produced in my digestive track that seems to get trapped in the final part of my large intestine (feeling pain on the left side of my abdomen as the pressure builds up, until I pass it out as wind). When I lay down there is a lot of gurgling noise coming from the abdomen (I'm guessing this is the gas travelling through my digestive track). This seems to come and go, but when it happens I feel very unwell. I know the symptoms are also worse when I eat so thin spicy or chilli. I went to see my GP over 11 months ago and he diagnosed it as acid reflux and prescribed me Renetide tablets, to be taken twice a day for a week. At the time it helped eleviate the issue. However a few months later I had the same symptoms occurs again. The GP had prescribed me additional tablets and told me to take them if it occurs again until the symptoms reduce. So I did, which was fine when I took them, however when I stopped taking the a few days later, the gas started building up again, eventually it cleared up after a few days. Now I started looking at what could be triggering this in my diet, as I kept having reoccurrence over the last 11 months. I know for a fact chilli agrivates it. So have tried to cut it out of my diet. However in the mornings I have milk and some orange juice (not together) milk is for my cereal (nut granola). I notice I was still getting gas production and build up, however not as bad as before, but not far off in terms of discomfort. So I stopped having orange juice and swapped the milk for yoghurt. This seemed to help. And have been doing this for the last 2.5 months. There is still gas being produced and growling noises from the abdomen but I'm able to pass it as wind much easily than before. Now in terms of my stool. When I have the excessive gas being produced and build up in my large intestines, my stool fluctuates between having the runs/ being watery, normal and having constipation. My symptoms last from anywhere between a few days to the worse case I've had so far - 10 days. Can someone please tell me if the symptoms match up with the diagnosis above or could it be some other underlying issue? I am a 29 year old male. Do occasionally play sports and generally my work is at a desk. I did also do upper body gym training over a year ago, for a full 12 months and was asked to have whey protein shakes daily to help my protein intake, as I have a vegetarian diet at home. The digestive issues however got excessive after doing this gym routine with the protien shakes. However I know that before I started this training, I would suffer indigestion and burning sensation when realising wind or stool after I had eaten so chilli or very spicy food. But never had the issue of trapped gas or excessive gas production like now, and if I did, I was easily able to pass it out through wind.

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The Answer

Both protein shakes and a vegetarian based diet are very likely to be causing excessive amounts of wind and gas being produced in your stomach, and the loose stool you experience may be due to the high fibre nature of your diet as a vegetarian.

It is not too unusual to experience a few days of ‘constipation’ after a period of time where loose and watery stool has been passed while the gut reverses from being overactive causing the loose stool to a slower more normal pattern. Desk based work in addition can cause slowing of gas in the bowel and trapped wind due to inactivity while sitting.

Under the circumstances you might like to think about seeking a consultation with a qualified nutritionist who can go over your diet in detail and also make suggestions on food choices and types to reduce the type of problems you are having. Additionally perhaps try to make sure you get up from your desk for regular short breaks and move around while you are doing so.

You may also find further reducing any food spicing, alcohol or caffeine may also improve your symptoms. If, however having seen a nutritionist and evaluated your diet you are still unable to make progress then a further consultation with your GP would seem sensible to rule out any other underlying causes.

The most common condition that can cause similar symptoms is Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, however, there is usually a degree of cramping and pain associated with this syndrome which you do not mention.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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