Passing gas and belching are a normal part of your child's digestion, yet sometimes excess gas can cause bloating and discomfort. A non-critical case of gas will remedy itself; however, vomiting in combination with these symptoms is a cause for concern. In certain cases, vomiting might indicate that your child is in need of immediate medical care. Consult with your child's pediatrician to ensure she is properly diagnosed and treated for her symptoms.
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Gas Symptoms and Vomiting
Gas is produced when your child swallows air eating, chewing gum and drinking too quickly. It also forms when bacteria in the body break down certain foods for digestion. Much of the air from the stomach is belched out, but another portion travels through the digestive system to be released as gas, notes the website Centra Care Health Library. However, symptoms of excess gas, bloating and vomiting might point to side effects from medication or a gastrointestinal disorder. Additionally, babies who experience gas and vomiting after eating might be lactose intolerant. If your child's vomit is green or contains blood, call your doctor immediately.
Some people lack or have a shortage of enzymes that digest carbohydrates, resulting in gas symptoms that include bloating and belching, as well as nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. People's bodies respond differently to carbohydrates. What foods trigger one person might not bother another. However, the website HealthHype.com notes sugars that most often cause gas are raffinose, lactose, fructose, and sorbitol. Beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, other vegetables and whole grains contain raffinose. Lactose is found in milk and milk products such as ice cream and cheese. It is also used in processed foods such as cereal and salad dressings. Fructose is used to sweeten soda pop and fruit drinks and is naturally present in tree fruits, berries, honey, onions, wheat and some vegetables. Oat bran, beans, peas and most fruits contain sorbitol.
Bloating and vomiting are some symptoms of gastroparesis, paralysis of the stomach muscles that prevent or delay the stomach from emptying its contents into the small intestine. Causes of this condition include diabetes and hypothyroidism. The Mayo Clinic notes an intestinal obstruction also produces abdominal pain and bloating, nausea and vomiting. Furthermore, irritable bowel syndrome – or IBS – is a common disorder that causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and sometimes constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic, certain foods – such as chocolate and some fruits and vegetables – stress and hormones might trigger these symptoms. Finally, appendicitis affects children ages 10 and up. Symptoms include aching pain that begins around the navel and shifts toward the lower right abdomen, nausea, vomiting and abdominal swelling. In this case your child will not be able to pass gas, the Mayo Clinic notes. If you feel your child is suffering from any of these conditions, call a physician immediately.
Treatment depends on the cause of your child's symptoms. You might change your child's diet, coach her to eat and drink more slowly, or consult with her pediatrician about medication. Some over-the-counter drugs address excess gas and contain digestive enzymes that will allow your child to eat foods that normally give her gas. If, however, your child's symptoms are due to a gastrointestinal disorder, treatment will be more specific. Gastroparesis is treated with diet changes, drugs, electromechanical devices or surgery, while IBS is treated with anti-diarrheal medications, antibiotics and drugs specifically for IBS. An intestinal obstruction and appendicitis require hospitalization.
- Mayo Clinic; Gastroparesis; November 2009
- Centra Care Health Library: Pediatrics -- Gas and Bloating
- Health Hype: Excessive Belching, Burping, and Bloating -- Causes and Treatment
- Mayo Clinic; Intestinal Obstruction; September 2010
- Mayo Clinic; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; July 2011
- Mayo Clinic; Appendicitis; August 2011
- Baby Care Advice: Gas