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Diagnostic Tests for Flatulence

Diagnostic Test list for Flatulence:

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Flatulence includes:

  • General inspection - note gulping of air and repetitive belching.
  • Physical examination
    • Examine the gastrointestinal system to exclude signs of organic disease - e.g. bowel obstruction, abdominal masses.
  • Blood tests
    • Hemoglobin looking for anemia that may suggest malabsorption of iron, folate, B12
    • Albumin level looking for evidence of hypoalbuminaemia that may suggest Malabsorption
    • Amylase and lipase to detect pancreatic disease
    • Celiac antibody screen
  • Stool tests
    • Fecal occult blood test
    • Stool microscopy for ova and parasites and culture (may need multiple samples to detect Giardia parasites)
    • Quantitative stool fat analysis - if steatorrhea (fatty, pale colored, extremely smelly stools that float in the toilet and are difficult to flush away) is present. Steatorrhea is due to excess fat in the stool and is characteristic of malabsorption of nutrients which may be due to celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, previous gastrectomy and cystic fibrosis.
  • Lactose tolerance test - can be done in cases suspected of lactase deficiency.
  • Radiology investigations
    • Abdominal X-Ray is not normally required unless bowel obstruction is suspected
    • Upper abdominal ultrasound scan if suspect gallstones
    • Barium enema
    • Small bowel series
  • Colonoscopy - may be indicated.
  • Two week trial of a lactose free diet - will help to confirm a suspicion of lactose intolerance.
  • Hydrogen breath testing - may confirm a diagnosis of lactose intolerance, small bowel bacterial overgrowth and short small bowel.

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Flatulence causes:

Tests and diagnosis discussion for Flatulence:

Because gas symptoms may be caused by a serious disorder, those causes should be ruled out. The doctor usually begins with a review of dietary habits and symptoms. The doctor may ask the patient to keep a diary of foods and beverages consumed for a specific time period.

If lactase deficiency is the suspected cause of gas, the doctor may suggest avoiding milk products for a period of time. A blood or breath test may be used to diagnose lactose intolerance.

In addition, to determine if someone produces too much gas in the colon or is unusually sensitive to the passage of normal gas volumes, the doctor may ask patients to count the number of times they pass gas during the day and include this information in a diary.

Careful review of diet and the amount of gas passed may help relate specific foods to symptoms and determine the severity of the problem.

Because the symptoms that people may have are so variable, the physician may order other types of diagnostic tests in addition to a physical exam, depending on the patient's symptoms and other factors. (Source: excerpt from Gas in the Digestive Tract: NIDDK)

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Flatulence:

The following list of conditions have 'Flatulence' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Flatulence or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Flatulence:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Flatulence' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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