What is Flatulence?
It is spoken of meteorism when the abdomen is swollen and globulous by the presence of air in the intestine. Gasses or flatulence refer to the output of an excess of intestinal gas by the anus.
In most cases, gas (flatulence) is safe and passive. For example, improper food, fast meals and stress, as well as a number of intestinal diseases can lead to gases. Depending on their cause, flatulence may be accompanied by diarrhea, abdominal pain, abdominal cramps or constipation (intestinal obstruction) and feeling of heaviness.
The gases can also be due to other intestinal affections, as well as diseases of the pancreas and of the vesicle. To make a precise diagnosis of the flatulence (gases), the main thing is to carry out a complete anamnesis. It is important for doctors to know what patients take medications, which previous diseases or diseases that accompany gases before, what patients have eating habits and their lifestyle. After an in-depth physical examination, other diagnostic measures may be necessary depending on the case. These include ultrasound tests on the abdomen, x-rays or blood tests.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is highly recommended if you suffer from flatulence and from other types of gases. In addition, there are several home remedies that relieve the flatulence such as artichoke leaves, cumin seeds, mint oil, anise or fennel. They are taken as an infusion or as natural remedies. They contain bitter substances that stimulate the secretion of gastric juices and they have a carminative effect which help to expel gases by reducing the production of intestinal gas by our intestinal flora and producing a spasmolytic effect in the stomach muscles.
What Causes Flatulence?
The causes of gases are often harmless. Eating habits and lifestyle are the most frequent reason for a bloated belly and an excessive outflow of intestinal gas (flatulence).
Among the foods that give rise to an excessive production of gases by the intestine are cabbage, broccoli, artichoke and onion. Over-filling, high-fat, sweet food or eating in a hurry also generates gases. Soda, alcohol, and coffee can also generate gases in our body. Intestinal tract of newborns should begin to get accustomed to food and many infants tend to have worms during the first weeks of life.
Stress and fear also favor the onset of gas. Flatulence and diarrhea are also frequent and typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Food intolerances are also among the causes of gases like lactose intolerance, as well as celiac disease, an intolerance of the small intestine to a substance that contains cereals (gluten). When there is an imbalance in the intestinal flora, as for example in fungal infections and bacterial overgrowth in the intestine, or as a result of antibiotic treatment may also appear bloating and flatulence. Other medications, such as oral diabetes drugs can cause side effects as gases. Certain intestinal conditions as well as diseases of the pancreas and of the vesicle can produce gases.
To diagnose the causes of gas (flatulence), doctor must know what medications are being used, if there are previous diseases and if there are other symptoms that accompany the gases. It is also important to know the eating habits and lifestyle of the patient. Performing a physical examination is critical to determine the cause of flatulence. The physical examination is based on a thorough examination of the patient’s abdomen, palpating and listening with the stethoscope. In certain cases, doctor should make a touch of the rectum with the finger (rectal examination).
Depending on the result of the previous tests and alleged cause, additional tests may be necessary to make a reliable diagnosis in case of gases. These include sonography (ultrasound) of the abdomen, x-rays, blood, urine and stool tests, as well as evidence of food intolerance (eg, lactose intolerance test). In certain circumstances, it is necessary to perform an esophagogastroscopy or colonoscopy, extracting small samples of tissue (biopsy). Imaging tests, such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCT) which is the visual representation of the pancreatic and vesicular tract may also help to find the causes. As a general rule, it is not usually necessary to resort to such complex tests to achieve a diagnosis in case of gases. Often, a food intolerance test provides enough information about the cause of flatulence, so the doctor does not need to do additional testing.
In the case of gases (flatulence), the treatment is selected according to the specific cause. Gases are usually innocuous in most cases and are conditioned by the patient’s eating habits. Even so, doctor must exclude in a precautionary way the existence of a cause of organic origin.
Anyone suffering from bloated belly (bloating) and strong expulsion of intestinal gas (flatulence) should pay attention to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, as well as avoiding foods such as peas, legumes, celery or brussels sprouts. In addition, it is advisable to eat slowly and chew well, talk little or no talk during the meal, perform enough physical activity and watch that the bowel rhythm is regular. On the other hand, it is advisable to avoid foods and drinks that cause gas (flatulence) or intolerance. You can use a dietitian to get good eating habits.
As a remedy against gases are at the following:
Home remedies (such as artichoke leaves, cumin seeds, peppermint oil, anise or fennel) in the form of infusion or tablets. These vegetal substances contain bitter elements that stimulate the secretion of the gastric juices and they have carminative effect which elp to expel the gases by diminishing the gas production by our intestinal flora and producing a spasmolytic effect in the stomach musculature. Antifoam preparations (such as dimethicone or simethicone) in the form of chewable tablets or suspension. Anti-foam preparations eliminate gas bubbles in the intestine. However, the use of antifoams against chronic gases has not proven to be effective. Digestive enzymes (eg pancreatin) in the form of tablets. Digestive enzymes serve as a treatment against the flushes derived from a pancreas insufficiency, as they help to digest starch, fats and proteins when pancreatic enzymes can not perform that function.
In the treatment of gases that are associated with abdominal cramps, anti-cancer drugs, those acting on the smooth muscles of the intestinal and biliary system (such as buscapine) or those spasmolytic that relax the smooth muscle in a selective intestinal way (such as Mebeverine).
Some additional information about flatulence
- Intestinal gas or flatulence can be caused by a variety of causes but eating habits and lifestyle are the main source of swollen belly and flatuence. In addition, there are foods that favor the gases which you must be aware of your body.
- Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower or red cabbage produce gas because they are rich in fiber (cellulose) , sulfur and raffinose. All these substances cause gases in general. It is recommended to cook with cumin or anise seeds to reduce this effect.
- To some people, lettuce causes gas. It is a vegetable that contributes fiber, cellulose that is difficult to digest by the stomach and produce more gastric juice which increases the acidity. In the large intestine also undergoes a slow fermentation process that produces flatulence.
- Most foods contain carbohydrates and sugars can produce flatulence. Fructose is a natural sugar that we can find in fruit, but also in vegetables such as artichokes.
- This vegetable also contains fructose, glucose, sucrose other carbohydrates that produce gases.
- Tomato is used in the Mediterranean Diet which contains fructooligosaccharides (a type of soluble fiber composed of fructose). It is recommended to consume tomato peeled better in cases of flatulence.
- This vegetable also contains complex carbohydrates, specifically, raffinose and fructose. They should not be consumed daily if gas is to be avoided.
- Green pepper is also rich in fiber and fructose. It is a difficult food to digest. If you want to also consume green pepper, it is better to choose orange, yellow or red pepper.