The word flatulence is a derivative of the word flatus, which means gas. Flatulence is a condition of the digestive system. Any disturbance in the alimentary canal may result in production of more gas. Causes of flatulence can be many, but symptoms are a few and well known to everybody. There are five hundred types of bacteria present in our colon. When the food reaches them, they start breaking it down. This process produces gas, resulting in flatulence.
Symptoms of Flatulence
When the undigested food passes through the large intestine, it meets many bacteria which produce hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane. All these gases are without any odor and they are frequently passes out of the body through rectum. However at times we pass a foul smelling gas, this smell is due to sulphur.
Gas present in the digestive tract makes the stomach swell abnormally. There is a feeling of fullness and tightness in the stomach causing abdominal pain. The pain is sharp and shoots like a cramp.
Causes of Flatulence
Those who have the problem of malabsorption, their bodies are not able to digest certain nutrients which may result in diarrhea and flatulence. The undigested food left in the intestines gets decomposed and results in flatulence. This happens when the system is not able to produce the required acids and enzymes, thereby leaving certain sugars undigested. Undigested sugars are ferments due to bacteria and produce gases.
Swallowing of Air
Air-swallowing are the most common causes. It is a natural process to swallow some air while we eat or breathe. However, some of us swallow much more air than what the others do. The causes of excess swallowing could be chewing the food quickly and being in a hurry while drinking. Food needs to be chewed slowly and thoroughly so as to avoid the air entering your gut. Those who smoke are also at a high risk of intake of air through the mouth.
Difficult To Digest Foods
A few fibrous foods may also not get digested properly resulting in flatulence. There is absolutely no reason to worry if you have just started eating fiber as a part of your diet. Usually the body gets used to fiber and starts digesting it. Certain carbohydrates, which can not be digested easily, may also be responsible for production of gas in the intestines. Some such difficult-to-digest carbohydrates are found in beans, cabbage, onions, cauliflower and lentils. Properly cooked food reduces the chances of flatulence.
Overall Ill health
Some health conditions which cause excessive flatulence are: constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease, lactose intolerance, malabsorption and gastroenteritis. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common problem of the digestive system, it can cause bloating, constipation, diarrhea and cramps in the stomach. Gluten, found in rye, barley and wheat can cause coeliac disease. Some people cannot tolerate milk and dairy products. They suffer from lactose intolerance, wherein their body is unable to digest lactose present in milk, often producing gas.
Bloating makes one feel great discomfort, and results in lack of appetite as well. Breathlessness may accompany bloating.