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Health File: Flatulence (Intestinal Gas)
by Dr. Sanjoy Kumar Satpathy

Flatulence means having too much gas or flatus, in the intestinal tract. Normally the gas passes through the anus when the rectal muscle relaxes. Healthy people produce around 150 to 300ml of gas in the intestine.

The intestinal gas consists of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrogen and methane, which are produced when complex carbohydrates are broken down. Any swallowed gas adds oxygen to the mixture. When the unabsorbed food undergoes fermentation by intestinal bacteria, the resulting by-product can contribute not only to volume but also to the odor of the intestinal gas. The foul smell is often produced by beans, dried peas, cabbage, lentils and other legumes.

The excess formation of gas can occur due to what you eat and how you eat. People who swallow a lot of air during eating or drinking may pass more than the usual amount of intestinal gas. There is also a hereditary component; some people produce more methane and other gases than others do in the course of normal digestion.

No investigation is required for this problem unless you are losing weight and passing blood through the rectum or having frequent diarrhea. Routine stool examination may show some parasites which can be treated by your doctor. Normally treatment is not necessary. Change your eating habits which will reduce your problem. Due to less secretion of pancreatic and other enzymes gas formation may increase, in that case one has to take digestive enzymes. Do not take antacids for flatulence as it will change the pH of the stomach and more bacteria will pass through to intestine to produce more gas.

Some parents ask their children to take antacids like Gelusil, Diovol, Digene or some mixture before or after a dinner in a hotel or club. This is a bad practice because here the flatulence is due to rich food cooked with lots of oil and spice. So taking a Digene or Diovol tablet or liquid or other acid lowering drugs is harmful for young children as the child starts taking the liquid for any abdominal problems.

These antacids contain magnesium, aluminum, sodium bicarbonate and other chemicals plus sugar and flavoring agents which are harmful if taken regularly by the children in the pretext of gas or gastric problems.

My sincere advice to the children is to reduce fat intake. Eliminate dairy products if they do not suit your system and produce more gas and abdominal distention. These children have lactose intolerance. Do not talk while eating, do not eat while watching TV, eat slowly, swallow after proper mastication, avoid over eating, eat at a fixed time and do not take cold drinks while eating as it retards the process of digestion and produces more gas. Do a little bit of yoga practice daily and you can also try some herbal medicines if you like.

Change your food habits in case they are causing problems. A good habit developed from childhood will help you a lot throughout your life.

So bye for now : Wishing you a gas free life!             

Image under license with Gettyimages.com

12-Oct-2008
 
Views: 8412
If only someone had told me this when I was a kid. I am suffering from flatulence from my childhood and can't help it. And I can't help it, it gives me a relieve when gases are released (not kidding, seriously). Luckily I don't produce smelly gas. I will try to remember the don'ts from this article and follow them to control the flatulence if not I can eliminate.
Manu
Jun-20-2016
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