Many people experience occasional bouts of stomach pain and abdominal gas. These two symptoms often occur together and can be due to a variety of causes. Although gas and gas pains are common, MayoClinic.com suggests that you see your doctor if gas pains interfere with your regular activities, as this can be an indication of a serious condition.
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, most individuals produce between 1 and 4 pints of gas each day. Two sources can create gas within your digestive tract, including your stomach, esophagus, small intestine and large intestine. Gas in your lower abdominal tract usually comes from swallowing air, while gas in your lower tract often occurs when bacteria break down undigested food particles.
While abdominal gas can cause pressure and pain in your stomach, a burning sensation may signal the presence of a condition known as acid indigestion, also called dyspepsia. Acid indigestion occurs when the acids from your stomach irritate the lining of your esophagus or ulcerated areas within your stomach that do not contain a protective membrane that guards against stomach acid.
Along with a gnawing or burning pain in your stomach, you may notice burping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, people with dyspepsia may unintentionally swallow and release air, leading to additional gassiness and belching.
Lactose, a sugar in milk, may cause stomach pain and gas in some individuals that lack adequate amounts of the enzyme lactase, which aids in digestion. Other foods that may increase the incidence of gas and abdominal pain include fatty foods, beans, onions, broccoli, apples, peaches, soft drinks and dietetic foods that contain sorbitol. Certain digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal blockage and an infection may also cause gas and pain. Stress, anxiety and smoking can also contribute to your symptoms.
Avoiding foods that cause gas is one way to avoid the uncomfortable symptoms. Over-the-counter antacids may provide relief for occasional, mild heartburn. Eating slowly, while temporarily cutting back on high-fiber foods may also minimize your symptoms. MayoClinic.com recommends you contact your doctor if changing your eating habits doesn’t improve your symptoms or if you have persistent heartburn, abdominal pain, fever or weight loss.