Flatulence: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Exercises
How Do We Define Flatulence?
Flatulence is the process of passing gas from digestive system through the rectum. The most common name of this process is farting. Flatulence is a common phenomenon but excessive Flatulence can be embarrassing for an individual, especially when in a social event or around others. It is usually caused due to eating something which produces excess gas in the digestive system or by swallowing air. It can easily be treated by subtle alterations in the diet, lifestyle, knowing about sitting postures that can help relieve flatulence which will be covered later on in this article.
What Are The Causes Of Flatulence?
There can be many causes of Flatulence but it is mainly caused by swallowing air: Swallowing air is a normal process and it happens while breathing or eating, although sometimes people swallow more air than they release causing Flatulence. Some of the ways by which an individual can swallow air are:
- Chewing gum
- Due to loose fitting dentures
- Not chewing food properly while eating
- Having excess of soft drinks which have excess carbon dioxide.
Another cause for Flatulence is the food that one eats. Majority of the food that one eats is carbohydrate. Most of the carbohydrates in the food get absorbed by the body but some carbohydrates are not able to be absorbed and pass into the colon. The colon has different types of bacteria which then start to break down these unabsorbed carbohydrates producing gas causing Flatulence. Some of the foods which have high amounts of carbohydrates which are not absorbed by the body are:
Apart from the above, there are certain underlying pathological conditions which can also cause Flatulence including the following:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Celiac disease
- Lactose intolerance
When Should Flatulence Be Considered As A Sign Of A More Serious Illness?
Usually Flatulence is a normal process and is not a disease condition for which one should consult a physician but there are certain cases such as those illustrated below where Flatulence can be considered as a sign of an underlying medical condition. Physician consultation is imperative if an individual has the following symptoms along with passing gas:
- Persistent pain in the abdomen along with bloating
- Frequent episodes of diarrhea and constipation
- Unintended weight loss
- Bowel incontinence
- Blood in stools
- High grade fever
- Muscle and joint pains.
These symptoms can indicate an underlying serious medical condition and a consultation with a physician should be immediately sought in order to diagnose and treat the condition.
What Are Treatments For Flatulence?
There are various ways to treat Flatulence. Most of the times, Flatulence can be self treated at home. Here, the first thing to take care of is the diet that one takes. If one eats a diet which contains large amount of carbohydrates then it becomes difficult for body to digest it which results in formation of gas. So, it is best to incorporate a diet plan in which there are carbohydrates which are easier to digest like rice and bananas. One can also maintain a food diary in which one can note down any foods which produces gas and try and stay away from it. It is also beneficial to eat smaller meals two or three times a day instead of one large meal. In addition, since swallowing air can also cause Flatulence it is beneficial to minimize the air that is swallowed. This can be done by chewing the food properly and avoiding things like chewing gum. Smoking should also be completely stopped. Regular exercising also prevents formation of gas and facilitates digestion. Additionally, there are quite a few medications available in the market to reduce Flatulence although their effect is only temporary. One of them is charcoal tablets which facilitates gas absorption.
In case, the cause of the Flatulence is unknown and there are other symptoms observed along with Flatulence then it is imperative to discuss the symptoms with the primary care physician. The treating physician will try to identify any triggers to the symptoms based on what an individual describes. A blood draw may be conducted to make sure that there are no infections in the body. If no pathological condition is identified, then the physician will refer the individual to a dietician who will formulate a detailed diet plan which will avoid foods that trigger Flatulence.
Exercises For Flatulence Relief
Yes, there are certain sitting postures which one can practice to get rid of flatulence.
The best way to get rid of Flatulence is to bend down and touch the feet while in a sitting posture, as this method presses the stomach and the abdominal areas and helps in reliving gas.
Another way is to get down on all fours and let the gas pass out naturally. When doing this, one should make sure that the knees are kept a bit apart with each other and the heels are close with each other. To do this, one should sit on a flat surface and pull the knees so that they are near the chest. Now, fold the hands around the legs very gently move forwards and backwards. This allows the gas to pass naturally and reduces occurrence of persistent passing of gas.
Another effective way of reducing Flatulence is by bending the knees and back enough so that the stomach gets pressed and the gas passes out.
Walking after having a meal aids in digestion and is helpful for preventing formation of gas.
What Can Happen If Chronic Flatulence Is Not Treated?
There are no long-term consequences for not treating flatulence. If the flatulence is caused by a food intolerance or digestive issue, the problem may get worse, or other symptoms may develop.
In some cases, prolonged excessive flatulence can lead to other issues, such as depression and eating disorders. It is important to maintain a healthy diet and to see your doctor if the problem begins to negatively affect your life.