Intestinal gas is a normal by-product of the digestive process. It is also known as intestinal gas or bloating. If there is too much gas in your intestinal tract, it can block the results when you get an ultrasonography of specific tissues or organs. This is called overlying bowel gas.
Read on to learn more about the causes of excess intestinal gas and the symptoms and complications of excess intestinal gas.
Ultrasound is a valuable tool for diagnosis. They allow doctors to see your internal organs, blood vessels, or other soft tissue without the need for surgery. However, the ultrasonic waves must pass through a medium to create images.
Ultrasonic waves cannot penetrate gas or air. Therefore, when a sonographer or radiologist examines the images, they may not be able to see the area clearly. For example, if there is too much gas in the stomach, the ultrasound waves cannot pass and gaps or “obstacles” appear in the image.
Finding overlying bowel gas on a sonogram is a common experience and is generally part of typical bowel function. However, if this happens repeatedly, you may have an excess of gas in your intestinal tract.
Ultrasound is the preferred imaging modality during pregnancy as it avoids radiation while providing a clear picture of internal organs or fetal development. However, overlying intestinal gas can lead to limitations in some situations. A transvaginal ultrasound is usually recommended to avoid the areas blocked by excess gas.
It’s common to experience excess gas during pregnancy. This is due to hormonal changes that occur during this time.
Specifically, your body produces more progesterone, a hormone that has a relaxing effect on your muscles. This includes your gut muscles. As a result, your digestion slows, leading to excess gas and bloating.
Overlying intestinal gas can interfere with the results of an ultrasound when diagnosing other conditions or a standard prenatal exam. As a result, it is difficult to see the organs or tissues being tested. Your doctor may need to repeat the ultrasound to get more accurate results, but it shouldn’t permanently prevent a diagnosis.
While excess or overlying intestinal gas can be painful, it is not known to cause life-threatening side effects.
There are many possible factors that can lead to excess gas during an ultrasound, including:
Swallowing too much air
It is normal to swallow some air when eating or drinking. However, if you swallow too much air, it can get stuck in your stomach and enter your intestines. This can lead to excess gas.
The following habits can cause you to swallow more air:
- chewing gum
- Sucking on candy or objects
- drink carbonated or sweetened beverages
- eat or drink too quickly
- Drinking beverages through a straw
- wear loose-fitting prostheses
The foods you eat can also lead to excess gas. This is mainly caused by carbohydrates such as fiber and sugar.
These carbohydrates are not fully digested in the stomach and small intestine. This takes them to the large intestine, where they are broken down by bacteria. The result is excess gas.
Some foods that cause bloating are:
- High-fiber fruits such as apples, peaches, or pears
- Cruciferous vegetables (like kale and cauliflower)
- Legumes (like beans and lentils)
- Dairy products (like milk and yogurt)
- full grain
- Beverages with high fructose corn syrup (such as sports drinks)
- candy or chewing gum
- Foods with sweeteners ending in “ol” (like mannitol or xylitol)
Many gastrointestinal disorders can cause excess gas. Some conditions are temporary, while others cause chronic, lifelong symptoms. Examples of malfunctions that can cause excess gas are:
Symptoms of excess intestinal gas are different for everyone. In general, it can cause:
If your excess gas is caused by an underlying medical condition, you will also have symptoms of that particular disorder.
There are a variety of ways to control excess gas both at home and with medication. This can include:
Minimizing or avoiding the following habits can help reduce excess gas:
- avoidance of chewing gum
- avoid sucking on candy
- Avoiding carbonated drinks and using a straw
- eat slowly
- wearing properly fitting dentures
Avoiding or limiting foods associated with bloating can also help.
In addition, your doctor may recommend avoiding certain foods if you have a condition that causes bloating. This is likely if you have a disorder like:
medication or dietary supplements
Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter gas relievers such as simethicone. They could also suggest dietary supplements such as papaya enzymes or lactase enzymes used for lactose intolerance.
If you have an underlying medical condition that’s causing excessive gas, your doctor will likely prescribe prescription medications to treat the condition.
Overlying bowel gas is bowel gas that obscures or obscures other structures during an ultrasound. This can make it difficult for your doctor to examine your organs and tissues.
There are many possible causes of excess gas, including eating high-fiber foods or drinking carbonated beverages. Gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome can also cause bloating.
Depending on the cause, your doctor can help you manage your symptoms. This may include medications, supplements, lifestyle changes, or new dietary habits.