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Flatulence and Its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

A common problem of excess intestinal gas and its consequences.

Causes of Flatulence

Gas is formed during the digestion of food: within the large intestine bacteria complete the digestive process with gas as a byproduct. The gas is methane, with a little hydrogen sulphide, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Eating a high-fibre diet predisposes to excess gas and abdominal distension. Another source of wind, said to be important, is from swallowed air that accumulates within the intestines.

Symptoms of Flatulence

The abdomen feels swollen; relief is obtained by belching and by passing wind through the rectum. People become aware of what appears to be excessive amounts of both – as judged by the reaction of others. General health is normal.

Treatment of Flatulence

Reducing the amount of vegetable fibre in the diet helps to relieve the problem of flatus, although reducing too much may lead to constipation. It is really a matter of trial and error, eliminating high-fibre foods.

Try to eat without talking, since you may be swallowing large amounts of air unconsciously. In terms of medication, peppermint is a natural deflatulent and aid to digestion; charcoal tablets are used on the basis that charcoal absorbs gases.

Antacids containing alginates reduce stomach wind, limiting the quantity of wind entering the intestines.

Complementary Treatment

Nutritional therapy – steer clear of pulses, onions and cabbage. Helpful aromatherapy oils include peppermint, fennel, chamomile, cardamom and basil. Other therapies to try: most have something to offer.

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