What Is Flatulence?
Flatulence (passing gas or wind) is a normal and healthy by product of our digestion.
Suffering from excessive flatulence can be embarrassing and sometimes uncomfortable, there are many contributing factors however if persistent it can strongly indicate digestive problems or imbalance in the gut.
Looking at when excessive flatulence is experienced, (for example worse after certain foods, kind of bloating caused) can be helpful in determining the underlying cause. Lifestyle can also play a large role (for example rushing meals)
These are some of the common reasons for experiencing excessive / painful flatulence (gas or wind):
- Poor digestion
- Poor diet (excess of sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates)
- Constipation (can cause food to ferment and putrefy if too long in the gut, producing excess gas)
- Bacterial imbalance in the gut (for example candida / yeast overgrowth)
- Spasms of the gut, creating wind pockets (IBS)
- Poor function of digestive enzymes (for example problems breaking down carbohydrates or proteins in food which leads to fermentation)
- Low levels of stomach acid
- Food intolerances / sensitivity / allergies
- Some food additives (sorbitol. fructose)
- Rushing food and swallowing air
- Not chewing food thoroughly
- Chewing gum
- Drinking a lot of fizzy / carbonated drinks
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Eat regular balanced meals, portions of around 2 cupped hands in one sitting
- It is better to eat more fruit, vegetables, wholegrain foods and starchy carbohydrates, protein, dairy rather than high sugar foods, and processed foods
- Avoid foods you are sensitive to
- Chew, chew, chew your food!
- Eat when not under stressed or rushed to avoid gulping food down
- Cut down on fizzy drinks
- Cut down on stimulants that can irritate the gut such as alcohol, tea, coffee, cigarettes
- Keep alcohol intake within recommended guidelines
- Stay hydrated, aim to take your fluids away from mealtimes to allow the digestive enzymes and stomach acid to effectively digest your food
- Probiotics can help restore healthy bowel flora
For Medical Advice / Information
- Contact NHS Direct or use their online self assessment tool: https://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/en/CheckSymptoms/Topics/Flatulence
- NHS Choices website https://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Flatulence/Pages/Introduction.aspx also has further information and help, including a useful video explaining common causes of flatulence.
- Read more about stomach upsets https://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/11november/pages/probiotic-yoghurt-diarrhoea-stomach-upset.aspx