Foods That Trigger Gas, Bloating, and Abdominal Pain
Gas, bloating, and abdominal pain? Many things may cause these gastrointestinal symptoms. For some individuals, these symptoms develop after eating specific foods. But to make things more confusing, sometimes these symptoms are delayed for several hours after eating. The delay in symptoms makes it more difficult to pinpoint which foods are problematic.
Moreover, it’s not typically one single food that upsets the gastrointestinal tract. Rather, it’s an entire class or family of foods. For example, milk may trigger gas and bloating in some, but it’s likely that all dairy products would cause the same symptoms in these individuals. Similarly, garlic may cause abdominal pain for some, but it’s likely that onions, beans, and artichokes would do the same for these people. In the same way, some individuals may be sensitive to certain fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, carrots, potatoes, and apples. These foods all contain sucrose (table sugar), which may cause bloating and abdominal pain as well as chronic diarrhea.
Individuals who are sensitive to dairy products may experience constant gas and bloating when they consume milk products. Lactose intolerance occurs when an individual lacks the enzyme known as lactase. Lactase is needed to assist the body in breaking down the sugar known as lactose. Most people who experience gastrointestinal upset from products containing lactose have symptoms within the first few hours after consuming the offending food.
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable, oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide, and polyols. FODMAPs are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that are commonly poorly absorbed from the small intestine. For individuals experiencing gastrointestinal disorders, FODMAPs may cause gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. FODMAPs are found in many foods including garlic, wheat, apples, pears, honey, cashews, and high-fructose corn syrup.
When an individual sensitive to FODMAPs consumes a food containing the offending carbohydrate, symptoms may be delayed for up to 24 hours, making it incredibly difficult to identify the trigger food.
Those born with Congenital Sucrase Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID) are unable to tolerate sucrose (table sugar), whether it occurs naturally in a food or is added as an ingredient to a food. Individuals with CSID lack the enzyme sucrase, which is required to break down sucrose. Without sucrase, the body is unable to digest and absorb sucrose, and symptoms of gas, bloating, and abdominal pain occur. Foods containing sucrose include apples, bananas, carrots, beans, corn, as well as processed foods such as pies, cookies, cakes, and sodas. For those with CSID, a low-sucrose diet typically helps decrease gastrointestinal symptoms, but medication management may be needed as well.
Identifying the is not always easy. But, relief of gastrointestinal symptoms is possible when the correct diagnosis is made. Speak with your physician, who may ask you to keep a food journal in an attempt to pinpoint problematic foods.
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