All of us, whether we admit it or not, have a story about the one that got away: Maybe you were on a first date and ate something that didn’t agree with you. Or you were in a quiet movie theater, or thought you were alone, but it turned out you weren’t. Embarrassing? Oh, yes. But take heart: Gas -- farting, belching, whichever end it comes out of and whatever you call it -- happens to us all.
In fact, most people pass gas around 13 to 21 times a day. That’s normal.
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a condition that happens when there’s a problem with your pancreas, mainly with how well it helps you digest food.
Your pancreas makes enzymes that break down the fats, proteins, and starches you eat so your body can use them. If the organ can’t do its job, you can have digestive and other problems, such as:
Loss of appetite
Loose, pale, oily, foul-smelling stools
Gas and bloating
But if you can’t control it, it’s embarrassing. Even worse, it can start to affect your life.
Gas and bloating can make your body hurt. They can also make it hard for you to feel at ease, which can deal a serious blow to everyday life. When you’re out with friends, at work, or sharing an intimate moment, nothing kills a good time like worrying about whether you’ll let one slip on accident. Between your physical pain and the anxiety in your mind, having excess gas can be a drag.
But there’s good news: Truly excessive gas is pretty rare. Even if you think you’ve got a bad case, chances are you probably fall somewhere in the normal range.
Track Your Triggers
But what if you don’t? What can you do? For starters, keep a record of what you eat and how it makes you feel. Some foods are naturally gas-powered (hello, beans, you magical fruit). But did you know that most carbohydrates cause gas? Steer clear of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, pears, apples, most dairy products, and anything containing high-fructose corn syrup.
Here’s the kicker, though: It’s different for everyone. So while your brother might live on yogurt and cabbages and have no funky issues, those same foods may make you run for cover.
That’s why keeping a food journal can help. Carry a small notebook or use the memo app on your smartphone. Make it as easy for yourself as possible. Before too long, you’ll start to see patterns. Then, once you know your triggers, you can avoid them. It may really be as easy as that.