A normal but embarrassing part of life is to pass bowel gas on a daily basis. Most people also belch or burp up stomach gas occasionally. In fact, the average adult on a regular diet passes gas 10 to 20 times a day. This amounts to approximately 1 quart of gas per day. Gas should not be considered excessive unless it occurs at more than twice the normal frequency.
Older children swallow air with gum-chewing. Children with nasal allergies swallow air if they sniff a lot. Some children have a nervous habit of frequent swallowing. The carbonation in soft drinks releases gas in the stomach. Stomach gas is more likely to pass into the intestines if a child is lying down.
In general, passage of gas causes no symptoms. By age 5 or 6 most children can be taught to release gas in a quiet and socially acceptable manner. Gas does not need to be released by inserting anything in the rectum.
Air swallowing can be reduced by getting rid some of the habits listed above (for example, sucking on a pacifier).
Reduced intake of beans and carbonated beverages will decrease gas production in all children.
If you feel your child has a milk intolerance (especially if it runs in the family), only give your child 2 glasses of milk a day. Milk does not need to be completely eliminated in most people with this problem. Your child can keep eating yogurt because it is easy to digest. Supplemental enzyme lactase drops or pills can also be taken with milk products. If the symptoms continue after you've made these minor diet changes, talk to your child's healthcare provider.
Call during office hours if: