Updated: Oct 12
Do you feel or even look as if you’re 3 months pregnant, but you are not?
Gas in your bowel, also known as wind, flatulence or farting, is normal - everybody farts between 5 to 15 times per day.
Our intestines produce between 500 and 2000mls of gas - consisting of methane, nitrogen and carbon dioxide - which is passed out of the anus regularly. Most of the gas is produced by your bacterial flora in the colon, and the rest is from swallowing air. Our bacteria do not only produce gas though, they also remove it (thank goodness).
Some people however suffer from excessive flatulence and smelly winds, which can not only be uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing, but could also be an indication of a health problem.
What causes it?
Many different reasons can be the cause of bloating; some of the most common ones are:
Poor eating habits
If you eat while stressed or busy doing other things such as watching TV, you are more likely to eat too quickly, swallow too much air and not chew your food properly.
Low hydrochloric acid
If you don’t have enough hydrochloric acid, your body won’t break down the food effectively causing symptoms such as bloating.
Other problems involving poor digestion and absorption such as constipation, coeliac disease, pancreatic insufficiency or lactose intolerance.
SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
A condition where some of your bacteria that usually resides in the colon move to your small intestine.
Variations in bowel flora composition
Even minor disturbances in your gut microflora can lead to significant changes in gut function, including gas production.
Fats in food – slow down the transport of food, gas and liquid in the intestines.
Fibre – can also slow the passage of gas through the intestine and feed our bacteria, which then produce gas. Fibre however is important for not only your digestion but general health, so don’t stop eating it.
Sugars that are commonly digested poorly and malabsorbed are lactose (found in milk and lacking in people of ethnic origins other than Northern and Western European), sorbitol (sweetener found in low calorie foods and ‘sugarless’ chewing gums) and fructose (high fructose in corn syrup, also in some fruits and vegetables).
Beans & legumes can also result in increased production of hydrogen & carbon dioxide by colonic bacteria.
Physical obstruction (blockage)
Anywhere from the stomach to the rectum.
Poor functioning of the muscles of the stomach ore intestines.
Bloating is often a side effect of many drugs including ibuprofen, statins, antifungals and laxatives.
What can you do?
Remove sugar and processed foods from you diet. They are detrimental to your gut microbiome and affect your digestion. Instead choose fresh, home-made meals with plenty of vegetables.
Avoid drinking during meals. This dilutes your digestive juices and can impair your digestive system’s ability to break down the food causing fermentation. Avoid drinking 15 minutes before and after your meals.
Eat mindfully – remove distractions such as (phone or TV), eat slowly while observing the taste, flavour and consistency of your food. Make sure you chew your food, even if it is a soup or smoothie.
Make sure that you are relaxed when you start eating, as stress shuts down digestion. Take a couple of deep breaths before you start enjoying your food.
Drink herbal digestive tea such as ginger, peppermint, fennel or chamomile tea. Peppermint tea is not recommended if you suffer from GERD or severe reflux as it relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter.
Move! Mild physical activity helps you to clear your gas. A good posture will also help with bloating.
Keep a food dairy and record your symptoms to find out what food could be contributing to excess gas. Do not restrict your diet from healthy foods, as you want to feed your gut bacteria. Instead ensure to have a good digestive function.
Are you still bloating? Book in for a consult and get results.