Flatulence is the emission of a mixture of gases called 'flatus' present in the intestine. It is the state of having excessive stomach or intestinal gas. This can result in uncomfortable feelings of bloating, as well as increased belching (burping) or passing of gas from the rectum.
Whether you like it or not flatulence is a condition that all of us experience at some point of time or the other. Flatulence itself, although not life threatening, can be a major source of embarrassment when it happens in social settings making for some really awkward situations. Most people pass gas about 14 times a day.
Causes of Flatulence:
Excess gas in the digestive tract can come mainly from 2 sources: increased intake of gas, or increased production of gas.
1. Swallowed air (Aerophagia): This can occur with improper swallowing while eating or even unconscious swallowing of air out of habit. Activities that cause you to swallow air include rapid drinking, chewing gum, use of tobacco products, drinking carbonated beverage, etc. Most people burp or belch to expel this excess swallowed air. The remaining gas moves into your intestine for release through the rectum.
2. Breakdown of undigested foods: Some of the undigested food passes from the small intestine into the large intestine, where normal, harmless bacteria break down the food, producing hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and, in about a third of all people, methane. Eventually these gases exit through the rectum.
Symptoms of Flatulence:
Symptoms of flatulence are increased passage of gas, abdominal bloating, belching and abdominal pain or discomfort
When to Seek Medical Care:
Seek medical attention whenever symptoms other than simply excess flatulence occur, such as discomfort with cramps, change in bowel habits, diarrhea, constipation, blood in the stool, fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and swelling.
Treatment of Flatulence:
Experience has shown that the most common ways to reduce the discomfort of gas are changing diet, taking medicines (after consulting with a health expert), and reducing the amount of air swallowed.