Flatulence is the state of having an excessive stomach and/or intestinal gas which is typically released from the anus with sound and/or odor (foods that contain sulfur are more likely to produce a smelly gas).
According to the data, the amount of residual gas remaining in the bowels at any given time is up to 200ml and most people pass gas 12-20 times a day.
Therefore, some flatulence is normal, particularly when eating a whole foods high-fiber diet.
Problems occur when excessive gas is coupled with other symptoms, and it can be a sign that something inside is going wrong, particularly when it comes to digestion of certain foods.
Common symptoms may include:
- rumblings in the lower abdomen;
- abdominal discomfort and distension;
- loud flatus;
- smelly flatus;
- passing wind often.
When to Call the Doctor
It may be a good idea to call your doctor if:
- there is a knotted sensation or bloated feeling in the abdomen;
- excess amounts of gas accumulate;
- jabbing pains occur in the abdomen;
- there is a consistently foul smell;
- gas is commonly released involuntarily;
- symptoms start to become more severe;
- flatulence occurs frequently.
A number of factors can cause excessive flatulence, including:
- carbonated beverages, like – beer and soda;
- beans and lentils, especially when not cooked properly;
- foods that contain sorbitol, a sugar substitute found in some sugar-free gums and candies;
- fructose, especially when used as a sweetener in soft drinks;
- dairy products containing lactose, like – cheese, cream, yogurt, butter, ice cream, and evaporated and condensed milk;
- cruciferous vegetables, like – broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, garden cress, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.
Swallowing Too Much Air
Aerophagia is the medical term for excessive and repetitive air swallowing.
Swallowing too much air due to a variety of reasons may lead to excessive flatulence since this air can only be released in the form of gas. Possible causes are:
- wear loose-fitting dentures;
- chew gum;
- suck on hard candy;
- drink carbonated drinks;
- smoke tobacco;
- eat or drink too fast.
Side Effect Of Some Medications
- antibiotics, such as – streptomycin, amoxicillin, and erythromycin;
- statins (a class of lipid-
lowering medications), such as – pitavastatin, atorvastatin, simvastatin, fluvastatin, rosuvastatin, lovastatin, and pravastatin;
- antifungal medicines (medications used to treat fungal infections), such as – amphotericin, clotrimazole, ketoconazole, econazole, fluconazole, miconazole, or terbinafine;
- some laxatives (medicines which loosen stools and increase bowel movements);
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as – ibuprofen, indomethacin, aspirin, etodolac, diflunisal, diclofenac, or celecoxib.
- dietary fructose intolerance – it is a condition in which you have digestive symptoms, like – gas, bloating, or diarrhea after consuming foods which contain fructose;
- lactose intolerance – a digestive problem which occurs when the human body is unable to digest lactose, the natural sugar found in milk;
- celiac disease – a serious autoimmune disorder which is caused by a food intolerance to gluten, a protein that is found in rye, wheat, and barley;
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a common condition which affects the digestive system;
Bad Gut Bacteria
The bowel contains a host of bacteria that help digestion by fermenting some of the food components.
However, an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria can lead to digestive problems and excessive intestinal gas.
Tests can help identify causes such as bacterial overgrowth in the intestines, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or a blockage somewhere in the digestive tract.
These tests include:
- imaging tests;
- breath test;
- contrast X-rays;
- blood tests;
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts which are good for you, particularly your digestive system.
Probiotics encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria in the digestive system, that reduce symptoms of flatulence as it helps in digestion.
The following foods may help to reduce flatulence:
- foods high in insoluble fiber – particularly husks and seeds;
- Juices made from spinach, kale, or cucumbers;
These symptoms are often due to the fact that you can not or do not want to swallow something.
At the same time, you don’t want to admit it, and by swallowing the air you simulate the real act of swallowing.
Another cause may be that you have swallowed too many things that you didn’t like, you haven’t made peace with that and now you are about to explode.
You have to be more selective and get in touch only with what you want and what you can digest properly.
Accept yourself completely, including your limits, and learn to say “no.” You will be able to relax again and the flow of life will pass through you much easier.
Avoid Foods With Artificial Sweeteners
Some people develop flatulence, diarrhea, or both when they consume foods that contain artificial sweeteners.
For instance, mannitol and sorbitol are found in chewing-gums, candies, and sugar-free sweet foods.
Avoid Dairy Products
Consumption of food that contains lactose (like milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, cakes, or some cookies) and the lack of enzymes used to break it down may lead to the production of large amounts of gas.
Note – about 74% of Native Americans, 53% of Mexican Americans, 90% of Asian Americans, and 70% of African Americans are lactose intolerant.
Constipation increases the risk of experiencing bacterial fermentation and overproduction of intestinal gas. The leading causes of constipation can be attributed to numerous factors, including:
- ignoring the urge to use the toilet;
- abuse of laxatives;
- changes in routine, like – travel or pregnancy;
- some types of medications;
- low amount of dietary fiber in the diet.
If you suddenly begin to eat large amounts of dietary fiber, your body may respond with gas.
Therefore, introduce your fiber slowly and avoid highly processed foods.