Gas and Flatulence; Funny and Embarassing!

no flatulence

‘’Farts’’ are caused by the accumulation of air in the stomach or in the intestine which, in turn, produces the feeling of being full. Despite the fact that we find them bothersome, gases are rarely a sign of a serious health problem. On average, men AND women release a dozen gases per day.
How gases are formed?
Gases come from several sources
1 – Food:
An important source of gas is the consumption of complex sugars (ex.: peanuts, bagels, cauliflowers, tofu, corn, pasta, etc.) that are not transformed in absorbed sugars. When theses sugars make their way into the intestine, bacteria use them as food to form gases. Soda and beer are other important sources of flatulence. These drinks contain a lot of acid which would explain the presence of bubbles in the liquids. Food without sugar contains sorbitol or fructose, ingredients that are substituted of sugar that is hardly absorbed and promote the formation of gas in intestines.
What is the solution?
  • Avoid complex types of food that are high in sugar
  • Avoid carbonated beverages
  • Avoid sugar substitutes or lower their consumption
  • Exercise your body
2 – Air Ingestion: It is highly possible to swallow air while eating (especially if you suffer from nasal congestion). In this case, you breathe from your mouth and swallow air at the same time as your food. Also, if you have dentures that are not well-adjusted, you are more likely to have gas as this forms a reaction of swallowing your saliva more often and, in turn, allowing air to easily pass through the mouth. The same effects are caused to people who smoke cigars or pipes. In such cases, the air that one consumes through the mouth either comes out in the form of a burp or intestinal gas.
What is the solution?
  • Avoid talking while eating
  • Avoid chewing gum
  • Avoid drinking too much while eating
  • Fix your dentures if necessary

3 – Lactase Deficiency: If you suffer from a lack of lactase in your system, you will not be able to digest the lactose contained in dairy products very easily. In this case, lactose will be fermented by bacteria which, in turn, will cause gas. A deficiency of lactase causes gas along with diarrhea, cramps and/or abdominal pains.

What is the solution?stomach and intestines

  • Avoid dairy products if you are sensitive to them
  • Take enzyme lactase (ex. Lactaid)

Here are two other treatments, aside from enzyme lactase, that can help you prevent or relieve flatulence:

  1. Simethicone:
This can be taken with or after your meal. It reacts rapidly by decomposing gas bubbles trapped in the stomach and intestines. Simethicone directly impacts the intestine without being absorbed in the human body. The recommended dose for adults is 80 to 180 mg, four times a day.

  1. Activated Charcoal for medical use:

This has to be taken with every meal. The charcoal has an unpleasant taste and can make your stools become black. Its effectiveness has not entirely been proven yet but it is simply another option to try when all else fails.