Gas suffering in 2022 covered almost half of the globe. Especially in the run-up to the cold season, when the lack of gas used for heating and power generation is felt in many countries. But Healthyinfo suggests talking about completely different gases — those, the excess of which causes a lot of problems for many people, or rather, intestinal gases, or flatulence.
Excess gas and bloating
It’s always like this: some people don’t have enough gas, others don’t know how to get rid of it. There is no balance in the world, and, apparently, there will not be any more. But some problems can still be solved.
As for flatulence, then for a start it is worth understanding what it is. Sometimes it is called bloating, but this is not entirely true, as the stomach can swell for various reasons. Flatulence is an increased release of gas in the digestive system, and its exit to the outside through the anus. If gas is released not in the intestines, but in the stomach, then it can come out in the form of belching.
During digestion, the formation of some amount of gas is a normal process. Problems arise when the amount of gases becomes too large. The norm is the emission of gases 13–21 times during the day.
Not that flatulence was dangerous: bursting from it will not work. But this problem seriously reduces the quality of life. And not only because of the unpleasant sensations that arise, but also because of the fear of publicly “letting the winds go”. Although in some countries this is not at all considered reprehensible or shameful, and if someone is impatient to “deflate”, then people do it without hesitation. Maybe it’s more healthy, but our culture has other norms of behavior.
By the way, the composition of intestinal gases is known. Most often, the composition includes oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and sometimes methane.
Several factors can influence the amount of “wind” that gathers in the abdomen. We list the main causes of increased gas formation.
Diseases of the digestive system
Increased formation of intestinal gases occurs with a number of diseases, these are:
irritable bowel syndrome;
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD);
autoimmune pancreatitis and some other diseases.
American scientists report in their article, published in 2022, that after the removal of the gallbladder, symptoms similar to those observed before the cholecystectomy operation may remain for a long time. These include not only intolerance to fatty foods, heartburn, stool disorders, but very often — and flatulence too.
Problems with teeth and gums
And this is not surprising, because the primary processing of food begins in the oral cavity, on which its further assimilation depends. If a person has a toothache, food is chewed worse, does not mix well with saliva containing digestive enzymes. And then it is worse digested, which causes the formation of gases in the intestines.
This serious disease, affecting literally all organs and systems, requires special attention, since the gastrointestinal tract is affected in the vast majority of cases. In diabetes mellitus, the work of the pancreas is disrupted, gastroparesis, gastroesophageal reflux, and gluten intolerance often develop. Moreover, the symptoms of flatulence can persist even after diabetes is “taken under control” and blood glucose levels normalize. In addition, a number of hypoglycemic drugs that people with diabetes have to take constantly also cause a bunch of side effects that affect the work of the intestines.
It would seem — what does smoking have to do with it? Harmful smoke is inhaled into the lungs, but they do not seem to communicate with the intestines. Nevertheless, smoking and flatulence are closely related.
Swedish scientists in 2016 reported the results of their study, which was attended by more than 16.8 thousand people. It turned out that not only smoking now, but also adherence to this bad habit in the past significantly increases the likelihood of such gastrointestinal problems as flatulence, abdominal pain, and functional diarrhea. The article was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.
So if you are still smoking, quit immediately. And then not only the breath will not be fragrant, but the amount of exhaust on the other hand will increase.
It has long been known that a number of products contribute to increased gas formation. As a rule, this is the kind of food that contains a lot of insoluble dietary fiber and carbohydrates. Proteins and fats are less likely to cause flatulence, but proteins can make the smell of intestinal gases more expressive and noticeable (not to say fetid).
Here are some foods to avoid with a tendency to flatulence:
all types of cabbage in any form: fresh, sauerkraut, stew, etc.;
peas, lentils, beans and other legumes;
milk — especially with lactase deficiency;
bran — any, as well as whole grain products;
apples, pears, peaches;
dried fruits, especially dried apricots and prunes;
sweet pastries from yeast dough;
radish, radish, daikon, swede.
It is especially important to monitor the diet for those diagnosed with various bowel diseases.
An interesting study was conducted by Italian scientists. An article published in 2021 reported on the effect of diet on the tendency to flatulence and increased gas production. It turned out that in a healthy person, a change in nutrition almost does not cause changes in metabolism. However, if there were previously violations of the digestive organs, then the transition to the Mediterranean diet, which is rightly considered one of the healthiest, can cause increased gas formation, a feeling of bloating, rumbling and seething. However, as the bowel function normalizes, these phenomena subside.
First of all, these are various sweet carbonated drinks. And not only because they are swallowed along with gas, which does not always have time to go back with a belch and gets to the intestines. But also because these drinks are just a sea of carbohydrates. Even though they are “diet with no added sugar”, they are high in sweeteners. Which in themselves are often capable of causing flatulence, diarrhea and bloating. Examples of such sweeteners are xylitol, mannitol, etc.
In addition, increased gas formation can cause coffee and caffeinated drinks, some homemade tinctures with alcohol content (for example, made from blackthorn).
Namely, those that contribute to the swallowing of air, which then enters the stomach and intestines. This happens, for example, with active conversations while eating and drinking, with greedy absorption of food in large pieces, without chewing thoroughly, when eating too hot or too cold food.
Chewing gum is another reason for swallowing air. In addition, it often contains a significant amount of sweeteners, which we have already mentioned — xylitol, sorbitol and others that can cause flatulence.
Fans of sucking on lollipops and other lollipops also usually manage to swallow air during this activity. And these sweets also usually contain gas-forming sweeteners.
How to deal with the “winds”?
It is best to consult a doctor and undergo an examination to identify the causes of increased gas formation. Eliminating the root cause will help solve the problem.
While waiting for a doctor’s appointment, you can take some measures that often give a good effect.
Keep a food diary that will help you identify the foods your gut reacts to the most.
Eliminate these foods, or reduce their amount in the diet.
Eat fractionally, in small portions, not too hot or cold food prepared with gentle methods (steamed, boiled, baked without a crust).
Try to chew your food well.
There is no hurry.
Avoid chewing gum.
Reduce the amount of sweets and sweet soda in the diet, but it is better to refuse them altogether.
Move more: A sedentary lifestyle also contributes to flatulence.
Drink enough water: this will help digestion. But only not during meals, but during the day.
It is believed that a decoction of dill seeds (“dill water”), tea with the addition of mint contributes to the painless discharge of gases.
Iranian scientist M. Mahbubi reports in his article on the results of a study on the effectiveness of peppermint oil, traditionally used in oriental medicine for various digestive disorders. According to the author, this natural and affordable remedy can be safely used in cases of flatulence caused by malnutrition, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. The work was published in 2017 in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
Peppermint has other beneficial properties, which you can learn about in the article “The whole truth about mint: wishful thinking and reality.”