Flatulence is a very common condition. It represents excessive gas accumulated in stomach which is passed out of the anus through the rectum. Passing gas too often can be quite embarrassing but people are rarely willing to discuss that problem with their doctor. However, flatulence should not be left untreated as it may indicate some digestive system disorder and result in long-term complications related to digestive health.
Causes of Flatulence
Flatulence can have many causes. It is easily treatable provided that the cause is identified.
Flatulence can be either directly caused by swallowed air while eating and drinking or may occur when gas is released during the digestive process. Here we will list common causes of flatulence in children and adults.
Some foods produce more gas than others. Foods that contain carbohydrate and starch are the main dietary cause of flatulence. These foods include broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, beans, whole grains, Brussels sprouts, Kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, legumes, cauliflower, prunes, apples, artichokes and pears. Milk, cheese, ice cream, fried foods and bread also cause gas. Artificial sweeteners produce excess gas, too.
Lactose is a type of sugar naturally found in milk. Cheese, ice cream, butter, yogurt, bread and cereals also contain lactose. Some people suffer from inability to digest and metabolize lactose. This condition is known as lactose intolerance and is typically accompanied with flatulence as undigested lactose builds up in the form of gas.
Carbonated drinks are one of the major culprits when it comes to flatulence. These beverages contain carbonated water, which if consumed in high quantity can cause accumulation of gas in the body and excessive flatulence.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is the medical condition characterized by abnormal bowel movement. Doctors have not identified the cause of IBS yet, but it is believed to be triggered by unhealthy diet and eating habits. Irritable bowel syndrome causes excessive flatulence along with abdominal pain, bloating and changes in bowel habits.
Hormonal changes in the body that occur during pregnancy can give rise to problems such as bloating, upset stomach and flatulence. Elevated levels of progesterone may interfere with digestion as it causes the gastrointestinal muscles to relax.
Swallowing small amount of air while ingesting food can also lead to flatulence. This may result from breathing with mouth instead of nose or rapid drinking and eating. Habit of chewing gum all the time can also be the reason for excessive gas.