What Is Flatulence?
Flatulence is defined medically as the release of gas from the digestive system through the anus. It is also called farting, passing wind, or having gas. It is a normal physiologic process, and the cause for this is the collection of gas inside the digestive system.
The gas can get collected in two different ways:
1. Swallowing air during eating or drinking leads to a collection of nitrogen and oxygen.
2. Another reason is the collection of digestive gases like hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide while digesting the food in the digestive system.
Both these causes are capable of causing flatulence.
How Is Flatulence Caused?
Flatulence is a very commonly observed phenomenon. In every other individual, gas accumulates in the digestive system, and many of them pass gas nearly ten times a day. If someone passes gas more than ten times or more often, it could indicate excessive flatulence, which can have many causative factors.
1. Swallowing Air:
Swallowing of air is a natural phenomenon that happens while eating or drinking throughout the day. However, frequent inhalation or swallowing of air or excessive swallowing of air can cause flatulence, which can also lead to burping.
The following could be the reasons for excessive swallowing of air:
2. Dietary Choices:
Consumption of various foods can also lead to flatulence. Some of them are as follows:
Can Excessive Flatulence Cause Any Complication?
Suppose the flatulence is not physiologic like, due to consumption of high sugar or carbohydrate-containing foods or swallowing of air. In that case, the excessive air could be due to some underlying health condition. The various diseases could be temporary or may involve some permanent disorder of the digestive system.
Following is the list of possible diseases:
Various food intolerances like lactose intolerance.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
How Can Flatulence Be Diagnosed?
When you visit your physician, you will be enquired about your current problems, signs, symptoms, frequency, dietary habits, medical and personal history, etc. Also, your physician will try to perceive the triggering points for you. If required, a physical examination will also be conducted. In addition, various other examinations and laboratory tests can be performed, like blood tests that will help assess the presence of any infection in the body. Also, the tests will help understand any possible food intolerances and any other underlying medical conditions.
During the first visit, the doctor will guide you with specific steps like maintaining a diet schedule to understand the type of diet consumed on a daily basis. Then, you will be advised to change your eating habits based on the diet schedule. The doctor might also suggest you consult a dietician depending on the cause of your flatulence. If you are suffering from any underlying medical condition, you will be prescribed certain medicines to get relief from it or to manage it. Finally, the physician will write you some more tests to confirm the diagnosis and help you pursue the best treatment for the medical condition causing flatulence.
How Can Flatulence Be Treated?
There are various methods of treating flatulence, and it depends on the underlying cause. Therefore, medical treatment will be suggested by your physician. Although the following measures can help manage flatulence, seeking the help of a physician to treat any underlying condition present, if any, is always advisable.
One can follow the below-mentioned methods to manage flatulence:
Replace the diet if you consume an excessive carbohydrate that is difficult to digest. The good alternatives are potatoes, rice, and bananas which are easy to digest.
This diary will help in assessing the triggering foods. Once the causative foods are identified, you can either avoid them or minimize their consumption.
You shall try consuming five to six small meals a day instead of three larger meals. This will help in a better digestive process.
Avoid performing anything which can increase the amount of air being swallowed by you. For example, avoid chewing gum and smoking. Chew your food properly before swallowing to decrease the workload of the digestion process.
Exercising helps in promoting digestion and, thus, can prevent flatulence.
These over-the-counter medications include charcoal tablets which absorb gas from the digestive system, antacids, and dietary supplements like alpha-galactosidase. These can give temporary relief only, and you should consult your physician before consuming these.
How Can Flatulence Be Prevented?
There are a few ways to prevent flatulence and the home remedies mentioned above.
You can try the following foods as they are known to cause less gas:
Carbohydrates like gluten-free bread, rice bread, and rice.
Vegetables like lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes, and okra.
Fruits like grapes, berries, cantaloupe, cherries, avocado, and olives.
Meat and poultry.
Everyone responds differently to various food types. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the diet and modify it as required. If required, seek the help of a dietician.
What Is the Prognosis of Flatulence?
As such, there are no known severe complications of flatulence. However, in some people with food intolerance, worsening of the condition is possible. It can also impact the individual’s overall quality of life by affecting the social life and leading to discomfort and mood changes.
Flatulence is when excessive gas is accumulated in the digestive tract. It can be physiologic or pathologic in nature and can be managed. You can consult a specialist online through online medical platforms, which are available at just one click away to get all the information you need.
Frequently Asked Questions