Gas collects in two main ways. Swallowing air while you eat or drink can cause oxygen and nitrogen to collect in the digestive tract. Second, as you digest food, digestive gases such as hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide collect. Either method can cause flatulence.
What causes flatulence?
Flatulence is very common. We all accumulate gas in our digestive system. Most people pass gas about 10 times a day. If you pass wind more frequently than this on a regular basis, you could have excessive flatulence, which has a number of causes.
It’s natural to swallow air throughout the day, normally during eating and drinking. Typically, you’ll only swallow a small amount of air. If you frequently swallow more air, you may find that you experience excessive flatulence. It may also cause burping.
Reasons that you may swallow more air than normal include:
• chewing gum
• sucking on objects such as pen tops
• drinking carbonated drinks
• eating too quickly
Your dietary choices could lead to excessive flatulence. Some foods that increase gas include:
• foods high in fructose or sorbitol, such as fruit juices
These foods can take a long time to digest, leading to the unpleasant smell associated with flatulence. Also, some foods the body can’t fully absorb. This means that they pass from the intestines to the colon without being completely digested first.
The colon contains a large amount of bacteria that then break down the food, releasing gases as they do so. The buildup of this gas causes flatulence.
Excessive flatulence causes and complications
If your diet doesn’t contain a large amount of carbohydrates or sugars, and you don’t swallow excessive air, your excessive flatulence may be due to a medical condition.
Potential conditions underlying flatulence range from temporary conditions to digestive problems. Some of these conditions include:
• food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance
• irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
• Crohn’s disease
• celiac disease
• eating disorders
• ulcerative colitis
• dumping syndrome
• gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
• autoimmune pancreatitis
• peptic ulcers
What are treatment options and home remedies for flatulence?
There are a number of ways to treat flatulence, depending on the cause of the problem. To treat flatulence at home, try the following:
• Look at your diet.If it contains a large amount of carbohydrates that are difficult to digest, try to replace them. Carbohydrates that are easier to digest, such as potatoes, rice, and bananas, are good substitutes.
• Keep a food diary. This will help you to identify any triggers. After you identify some foods that cause you excessive flatulence, you can learn to avoid them or to eat less of them.
• Eat less more.Try to eat around five to six small meals a day instead of three larger ones to help your digestive process.
• Chew properly. Avoid doing anything that may increase the amount of air that you swallow. This includes making sure that you’re chewing your food properly, and avoiding chewing gum or smoking.
• Exercise. Some people find that exercising helps to promote digestion and can prevent flatulence.
• Try over-the-counter medications.These include charcoal tablets that absorb gas through the digestive system, antacids, and dietary supplements such as alpha-galactosidase (Beano). It’s important to note that these medications will only temporarily provide relief.
When to see your doctor for flatulence
If you have unexplained flatulence, or if you experience the following symptoms along with flatulence, you should see your doctor:
• swollen abdomen
• abdominal pain
• gas that’s persistent and severe
• unintentional weight loss
• blood in stool
There are no long-term consequences for not treating flatulence. If the flatulence is due to a food intolerance or digestive issue, the problem may get worse. Other symptoms may also develop.
In some cases, prolonged excessive flatulence can lead to other issues, such as social discomfort and changes in eating habits. If it affects your lifestyle a lot, it may also affect your mood. It’s important to maintain a healthy diet and to see your doctor if the problem begins to negatively affect your life.
www.healthline.com. ( Everything You Need to Know About Flatulence). Written by Kati Blake — Updated on June 25, 2019