Ulcerative colitis (UC) can increase the amount of hydrogen sulfide in your digestive system. This extra gas can result in more frequent flatulence, but changes to your diet and medications may help.

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In the United States, approximately 600,000 to 900,000 people have ulcerative colitis (UC).

UC is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that happens when the lining of your colon, rectum, or both becomes inflamed. This causes tiny sores to develop in your digestive tract.

Some of the most common symptoms of UC are abdominal pain, bloody stools, diarrhea, and increased abdominal sounds. Increased flatulence can also happen if you have UC.

This article will take a closer look at why UC may cause you to have extra gas and what you can do to help reduce this flatulence.

According to experts, individuals with UC produce more hydrogen sulfide in their digestive tract. This extra gas can cause stomach pain and diarrhea. The gas also needs to exit the digestive system somehow, through flatulence.

Plus, people with UC often have inflammation in their colon, which makes it harder to break down hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide can encourage more inflammation. This creates a cycle that may lead to even more gas.

If you have UC, you may also have another condition that’s contributing to excess gas. One 2018 study found that 76.8% of participants who had UC also had gastritis, a condition where the lining of the stomach is inflamed. As with UC, a potential symptom of gastritis is extra gas.

Gas caused by UC can have a very strong odor because of the increase in hydrogen sulfide and amino acid fermentation in the digestive tract. The smell can vary greatly depending on a number of factors — from medications you take, foods you eat, how your body responds to being gassy, and beyond.

Changes to your diet may help reduce the amount of gas in your digestive tract.

One way to track what types of foods may cause you to have more gas is to keep a food journal. Logging the foods you eat throughout the day and noting when you have more gas than usual may help you and your doctor pinpoint the types of foods triggering your flatulence.

You may also want to consider trying a low FODMAP diet to see if it helps reduce gas for you. FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable, oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols. Although it sounds complicated, what it really means is that this type of diet limits foods with certain sugars that aren’t easily absorbed in your gastrointestinal tract.

With a low FODMAP diet, you’ll want to avoid foods such as:

  • wheat, barley, and rye
  • garlic
  • some fruits, such as apples, apricots, cherries, grapes, pears, and watermelon
  • some vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, beets, cauliflower, leeks, and onions
  • legumes and pulses, such as lentils and most beans
  • sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup
  • milk, yogurt, custard, oat milk, and soy milk
  • apple juice and orange juice

You may also want to consider making certain lifestyle changes like:

  • eating smaller meals
  • eating your food more slowly
  • drinking plenty of water
  • limiting your intake of alcohol, carbonated drinks, and caffeine
  • getting regular exercise and not sitting for prolonged periods of time
  • avoiding tight-fitting clothing

If, after making dietary and lifestyle changes, you still have too much gas, talk with your doctor or a dietitian, if you have access to one.

They can work with you to create a treatment plan to reduce the amount of hydrogen sulfide gas in your digestive tract. This may include making changes to your medications or making additional dietary changes.

Your doctor may also recommend adding new medications to help reduce the amount of gas you have.

If your flatulence is causing you to feel depressed or embarrassed, it may be helpful to talk with a therapist. They can help with any emotions you may be experiencing.

Is there a time of day or night when ulcerative colitis flatulence is more common?

Symptoms of UC are most likely to occur when the condition is flaring. The exact timing for this will vary depending on your exposure to triggers. Some individuals have reported more symptoms in the morning, which may be a result of the colon becoming activated when you wake up.

Can you take Gas X for ulcerative colitis?

It’s best to always talk with your doctor before taking any medications, even over-the-counter medication, for UC symptoms. This is because some medications may contain ingredients that could worsen your symptoms. Your doctor can help determine a safe treatment plan that works well for you.

Does a gastric sleeve do anything for gas from ulcerative colitis?

There is not a lot of research on this, but a study from 2016 did conclude that bariatric surgery could help reduce IBD symptoms in individuals with obesity.

What kind of doctor treats ulcerative colitis and gas?

Your primary care doctor may be involved in the diagnosis and treatment of your UC. They may also refer you to a gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases.

UC is frequently associated with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloody stools, but it can also cause you to be more gassy than usual.

Avoiding certain foods and making some lifestyle and medication changes may help reduce the amount of hydrogen sulfide gas in your digestive tract, which may help make you less gassy.

It’s important to also keep in mind that you may have more gas than usual for reasons unrelated to UC. If having too much gas is making you uncomfortable, be sure to talk with your doctor so they can work with you to find a solution.