Flatulence, commonly referred to as farting, is caused by a build-up of gas in the bowel.
Usually, intestines generate about 500-2000ml of gas which is passed out from the anus at regular intervals.
Flatus contains various types of gases like nitrogen, carbon dioxide and methane.
The smell of the flatus mainly depends on the ratio of gases, which is again influenced by the foods you consume.
What causes flatus?
Normally, flatus is generated by foods high in fiber, digestion, and by the contents of intestinal bacteria. Irritable bowel syndrome can also be a cause of flatulence.
- Swallowed air can also be a great cause of flatus. For example, people with sleep apnea use a positive pressure air mask at night to aid sleeping, to allow them to swallow a great amount of air, which becomes a component of the alimentary canal gas.
- Improper breakdown of several foods can allow some materials to ferment, thus releasing additional gas. Polysaccharides along with oligosaccharides are important among the flatus-causing substances.
- Sugars can also produce intestinal gas. Fructose naturally exists in various foods and is used as a sweetener in various fruit drinks and soft drinks.
- Sorbitol is also a sugar found in various foods and is used as a sweetener in dietetic foods, gums and sugar-free candies.
Why to be a Vegetarian?
Meat in your diet can generate flatus with a bad odor, so vegetarianism is recommended if you want to avoid this.
Also, some foods that produce greater amounts of flatus can contain essential nutrients, and should not be completely eliminated. Just limit their consumption.
Here are foods that commonly cause flatulence:
- Fruits: Apricot, apple, pear and peach;
- Dairy products: Milk, if you have lactose intolerance;
- Dried fruits: Prunes and raisins;
- Legumes: Peas, beans, nuts, soybeans, oatmeal and chickpeas;
- Foods containing high insoluble fibers: Husks and seeds;
- Vegetables: Onion, eggplant, carrot, cabbage, sprouts, and Brussels sprouts.
Laxatives that cause flatulence:
Various laxatives including sorbitol, lactulose, and some fiber preparations can cause flatulence. They should not be used regularly until prescribed by your doctor.
How to reduce intestinal gas?
To reduce the amount of flatus:
- Limit the intake of common food culprits;
- Suddenly don’t increase the amount of fiber in your diet;
- Decrease the consumption of milk if you are lactose-intolerant;
- Take charcoal products or some other over-the-counter preparations;
- Consume a diet high in rice [Rice diet].
There are also commercial enzymes which can reduce the amount of flatus that your body produces.
When to seek medical advice
Digestive system disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome can also generate excessive flatus. Consult your doctor if you notice any abdominal pain, unusual flatulence, changes in your toilet habits or other uncomfortable signs related to digestion.
A practitioner diagnoses the problem of lactose intolerance with a biopsy of small intestines by using an endoscope.