What is flatulence or Gas?
The presence of excessive amounts of gas in the stomach or intestine may expel through the anus. Healthy individuals even produce significant amounts of intestinal gas (flatus) daily and if not released naturally, then the gases trapped within the digestive system produce bloating and abdominal distention. Although it is physiological, it may cause embarrassment because of sound and bad odour of gases.
Intestinal gas comes from either swallowed air due to the fermentation by bacteria of poorly digested carbohydrates in the colon that yields mixture of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane. Usually all the common intestinal gases are odour-less. But foods with high portions of non-digestible carbohydrates, such as beans and other legumes, cabbage, are associated with excessive flatulence. It is normal to pass gas from 6 to 20 times per day.
There are some other health conditions where this pattern usually happens such as Malabsorption syndrome, consuming some medications may also lead to cause excessive flatulence.
Causes for flatulence
- Foods and beverages: Depending up on the type of food that you consume and depending on digestive power the flatulence rate may differ. There are certain food items that may cause excessive flatulence like beans, legumes, potato, cabbage, cauliflower, oats, if taken in large amount. If the food is not chewed properly, there are chances of getting flatulence.
- Constipation: Constipation may cause bloating and does not allow gases to pass through rectum naturally.
- Medicines: There are medicines that causes flatulence like OTC or over the counter medicines like NSAIDs Bezodiazepines, Cholestyramine, etcetera.
- Nutritional supplements: There are some dietary supplements that may cause bloating or excessive gas formation as side effects.
- Crohn's disease: It is a medical condition where bowel obstruction takes place causing accumulation of excess flatulence.
- Hormonal Changes: Women tend to have bloating right before their menstrual periods because of retention of fluids in body.
Managing to prevent gas or flatulence:
Flatulence can be minimized naturally by correcting food and lifestyle along with some safe and simple medications:
- First step to follow is to chew the food properly that you eat.
- Second step is to concentrate on the food what you are eating which will help to promote proper enzymatic actions.
Awareness on the food what you eat: It is wiser to prevent gas naturally rather than completely stopping to pass. If an individual is suffering from excess flatulence, one should consider minimizing the intake of the following food items:
In vegetable category, one should consume the following in less quantity such as asparagus, broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, peas, radishes, and potatoes, beans and other legumes.
In fruits category, take moderate quantities of following fruits like banana, apricots, melons, pears, peaches, prunes, and even raw apples.
Though wheat and wheat products are a part of daily usage, if someone is having excess gas or flatulence, that should be either consumed in the form of modified form like multigrain flour or reduce the intake of wheat and wheat products, instead you may try consuming millets.
Carbonated beverages like beer and red wine and fruit drinks should not be consumed in excess or try to avoid if you have such flatulence complaint.
Also consider reducing the intake of the following food items if you have excess flatulence such as Eggs, Fatty foods and fried food items, Sugar and sugar substitutes in excess.
Milk and other dairy products may cause excess flatulence and that too packed milk or pasteurized milk may cause excess flatulence for those who are already suffering from the similar complaint and to correct it one can dilute the milk with water and consume so that it can be reduced and milk product, however one should reduce the intake if there is a complaint of flatulence in excess.
Most of the packaged food items and deep fermented foods like breads, cereals, salad dressings may cause too much flatulence and that can be reduced or minimized temporarily till the complaint gets subsided.
One has to follow normal walking after intake of food, especially during the night times after having dinner apart from general exercises and walks.
Awareness on diet to controlling flatulence
- By considering above said diet, one should refrain and switch to easily digestible food items and nutritious diet by avoided excess intake of raw foods, raw salads or even sprouts in excess and one can consume in small quantity or moderate quantity.
- There are some natural herbs like celery seeds, asafetida, cumin seeds, cardamom, ginger, curry leaves can be used while cooking to avoid flatulence.
- One can avoid rice at night times those who suffer from excess flatulence and can switch to brown rice or whole wheat products.
- One can avoid tea or coffee and switch to green tea.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages, aerated drinks, and fermented foods.
- Consume warm food, and freshly prepared when you feel proper hungry.
Yoga for controlling Flatulence
One can practice regular pranayama and yoga such as Vajrasana, Surya namaskara, and sarvangasana, and anulomaviloma pranayama, and Agnisaar Pranayam.
Concept of Flatulence in Ayurveda
Flatulence in Ayurveda is called as Apanavata vikara and it is one among the 13 urges in Ayurveda which should not be controlled. When there is no proper metabolism due to uneven appetite and uneven digestive power, Vata aggravation may takes place.
Home remedies to control flatulence
- Preparation of Hing or asafetida fried in ghee (1:2) and add ¼ portion of black salt is added and can be consumed with lukewarm water.
- Prepare a mixture of 1 teaspoon of roasted cumin seeds powder plus 1 teaspoon of celery seeds plus 1 teaspoon of dried ginger powder and 1/4th teaspoon of black salt should be consumed with lukewarm water before food or even one can consume this mixture with fresh butter milk twice daily. This mixture can be used as four divided doses.
- Consuming fresh clarified butter milk by added fresh, grounded curry leaves will help to relieve flatulence.
Ayurvedic medicines that control excessive flatulence
One can consider using the following medicines by ascertaining the severity of the condition or by consulting a physician such as:
Diva Gashar Churna, Hingwashtak churna etc.