Understanding Flatulence

Flatulence is a natural occurrence for all humans and animals. It occurs when gases, such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane, and oxygen, are released from the digestive tract.

It is normal for an adult to pass gas up to 20 times a day, and most of the time it is odourless. Flatus is the medical term for gas expelled from the out of the digestive tract, and flatulence is the term used when the gas has an odor. Common causes of flatulence include eating certain foods, drinking carbonated beverages, swallowing too much air, lactose intolerance, and certain gastrointestinal disorders.

Causes and Foods that Can Cause Flatulence

Common foods that can cause flatulence include:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Dairy products, such as milk and cheese
  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, broccoli, and cabbage
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Onions and garlic
  • Wholegrain breads, cereals, and pasta
  • Sugar-free gum

Swallowing too much air can also cause flatulence. This can occur while eating too quickly and not chewing food properly, talking while eating, smoking and chewing gum, and using a straw to drink.

Preventing Flatulence

To reduce the amount of flatulence you experience, there are a few steps you can take:

  • Eat slowly and chew your food properly.
  • Avoid drinking carbonated beverages.
  • Try low-lactose and lactose-free dairy products.
  • Stay away from processed sugars.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners.
  • Consume fewer fried and fatty foods.
  • Avoid chewing gum and drinking from a straw.
  • Increase your intake of dietary fiber slowly.
  • Eat smaller meals, more frequently, throughout the day.

It is important to remember that flatulence is a natural and normal bodily function. If your flatulence is excessive or is accompanied by pain or other symptoms, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider.