Normally, people joke about a person who farts. It is scientifically known as flatulence, i.e. “flatus expelled through the anus”. The health condition refers to the exhalation of gas or wind that passes through the digestive system and exits through the anus. The medical term ‘flatus’ refers to the gas developed in intestinal tract.
When a person farts, it leads to embarrassment. You experience distress and feel uncomfortable when you suffer from excessive flatulence when among a crowd. It is worse when you suffer from the problem while attending a conference or are among people in an elevator.
Minor tweaks to your lifestyle and dietary habits can avoid the problem of excessive flatulence. You should not be ashamed of it because it is a biological process such as burping or sweating. Medical research has concluded that an average person farts roughly about 15 times daily.
You tend to consume minute particles of air while eating, drinking, or swallowing the saliva. The air is stored in your stomach. Your digestive system comprises of gas containing oxygen and nitrogen. When you eat food, it releases carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane gases after digestion due to the reaction of food items with the gastric juices.
The excess build up of gas is exited by the means of burping or flatulence. Often, you might be caught unaware of passing wind, especially when it is a small amount and not accompanied with odor. However, if the passing wind has a foul smell, it is probably because of the presence of sulfur. It occurs due to indigestion where the food particles start decomposing in turn forming sulfur.
The main causes of flatulence include anxiety, aging, malabsorption of nutrients, constipation, bowel infection, specific food items, and childbirth.
Other notable causes include:
- Residual food present in the colon
- Malabsorption of carbohydrates that disrupts the functions of good bacteria in the stomach
- Transformation of intestinal bacteria as result of medication
- Movement of swallowed air to the colon
Signs & Symptoms
Because it is a normal biological reaction, you should not worry much about this problem. However, several home remedies and self-care measures are available to treat this health issue. In the majority of cases, flatulence is nothing to worry about; it is a normal human condition, which can be treated with self-care techniques.
“When should I visit the doctor for flatulence?” It is a common question as they are unaware about the severity of the condition. When you develop a severe problem of flatulence, you will be passing wind quite often and odorous. However, you may check for certain symptoms that would confirm the occurrence of a digestive health issue.
Normally, you will experience abdominal pain and bloating when you suffer from flatulence.
The troublesome indicators are as follows:
- Frequent and involuntary episodes of passing wind
- Excessive gas released at a time
- Odorous flatulence
- Acute stomach cramps and abdominal pain
- Feeling of presence of knots in abdomen
You may suffer from flatulence due to several attributes and it may be a side effect of some digestive disorder. The constituents of intestinal gas include:
- Exogenous sources such as the air you swallow from the external environment. When you consume food or water, you tend to undergo an acidic reflux when the food particles are exposed to the gastric juices. Hence, your body produces excess saliva.
- Endogenous sources: it refers to the gas produced in your stomach. Some food items cannot be broken down into smaller molecules by the digestive system. Hence, it causes indigestion in the small intestine that leads to flatulence when the particular food item enters large intestine.
Food items causing flatulence
Mint, onions, and tomatoes relax the tensed muscles present beneath the stomach that helps the excessive air to pass and exit the body through burping.
You develop flatulence when the lower part of your stomach is exposed to bacterial infection due to improper reaction of gastric juices with carbohydrates. Some food items comprise of carbohydrates that are not converted into energy by the intestinal tract; hence, they travel through the stomach and the bacteria ferments such food particles leading to flatulence. A common food contributing to the health condition is beans, which has a rich content of carbohydrates that the intestinal tract cannot absorb properly. Farting is more to do with bacteria in the lower bowel that are particularly partial to carbohydrates.
Fruit juices that contain a high quantity of fructose lead to the development of gas as well as bloating. Few people consume slimming chocolates when they follow a weight loss regime. However, such chocolates may develop flatulence because they contain fructose or sorbitol, which does not get absorbed by the body and you pass wind.
Overall, your diet must include less quantity of food items that have non-absorbed carbohydrates to avoid the problem of excessive flatulence. A list of such food items include:
- Slimming foods containing fructose or sorbitol
- Fruit juices
- Root vegetables
- Fizzy cola or drinks
- Hot drinks gulped immediately
Is overeating an attribute of flatulence?
Definitely. Overeating leads to excessive swallowing of saliva and air that inadvertently causes belching. Overeating exerts pressure on the intestinal tract for digesting the food particles, which makes you feel uncomfortable. Hence, the stomach naturally releases some air through reflex action in the upward direction that exits through the mouth by the means of belching.