A normal but embarrassing part of the human condition is to pass rectal gas on a daily basis. In fact, the average child on a regular diet passes gas 10 to 20 times a day. The main causes of normal gas are swallowed air or gas producing foods. Every baby is somewhat gassy because of air swallowed during sucking. Children at a later age swallow air with gum chewing. Children with nasal allergies and colds swallow air with sniffing.
The main food that contains gas is carbonated soft drinks. In fact, carbonated beverages also are a common cause of a temporary stomach ache. Some foods, such as beans, are made up of complex carbohydrates that can't be completely digested. In fact, eating beans can increase gas production 10-fold.
In general, the passage of gas causes no discomfort. By age 5 or 6 most children have learned to release gas in a quiet, socially- acceptable way. If excessive gas persists, often it's because your child has lost the ability to completely digest lactose, the sugar found in milk products. This lactose problem is fairly easy to treat, either by reducing milk intake or by adding a lactose enzyme to the milk.
If you feel that your child has excessive gas, and it's unexplained, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.