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What causes flatulence?

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Flatulence is very common; it’s a biological process of getting rid of gas from your stomach. However, flatulence can be triggered by several factors which include foods, drinks, medicines, lifestyle, health issues, etc. and due to that you might be experience a way too much flatulence than normal.


The science behind formation of flatulence in your stomach

The bacteria residing inside your stomach is the main reason behind formation of gas. These bacteria in the process of digesting sugars, starch and cellulose generate gases which could be hydrogen and methane. The repulsive odour basically comes from these two gases. Carbon dioxide is also a bi product of digestion process, but it gets absorbed by the intestine. There are several factors that induce flatulence and we explain them below:


What triggers flatulence?

Eating sugar based foods

Lactose, fructose and sorbitol are the poorly absorbed sugars by your intestine. Eating foods high in these three varieties of sugars lead to flatulence. Chocolates, milk, corn syrups, cakes, pastries, candies, etc, are loaded with sugars. For that matter prunes, pears, apples, apricots, bananas, pineapples, and peaches also contain sorbitol and thus, too much consumption can cause flatulence.


Foods rich in starch and fibres

Starchy foods essentially include corn, potatoes, wheat based foods, etc. while foods like beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, pulses (chickpeas, gram, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, etc.), green peas, artichokes, etc. are loaded with fibres which undoubtedly trigger flatulence. Furthermore, beans also contain good amounts of the complex sugar known as raffinose, which contribute to formation of gas inside stomach.


Drinks that cause flatulence

Flatulence can also occur from drinking fizzy drinks and caffeine. Along with flatulence, you might also suffer from belching because the trapped gas desperately wants to come out. Dark beer and red wine contain sugars; therefore flatulence is inevitable if you drink too many pegs.


Health disorders that induce flatulence

Quite certainly flatulence can occur if you are having a problem with your digestive system. Some common disorders that lead to flatulence are constipation, irritable bowel syndrome gastroesophageal reflux disease, diverticulosis, poor thyroid function, peptic ulcers, Cohn’s disease, celiac disease, etc. Check with your doctor to rule out these health issues. 


Flatulence inducing medicines

Iron, calcium and fibre supplements and multivitamin pills induce flatulence. Consuming fibre bulking agents like fiberall and metamucil also leads to gas formation inside stomach. Apart from that, antacids, aspirin, narcotic pain killers, anti diarrhoea pills, medicines containing acarbose (Precose), etc. have flatulence as one of the key side effects.


Swallowing too much air

Flatulence is not always a result of bacterial activity; if you swallow too much air by chance, then you will experience flatulence simply because your system needs to get rid of that excess air. You can swallow air under the following circumstances- drinking water from a bottle by raising it up from your mouth, drinking from straw, chewing food and then swallowing too quickly, chewing gum or sucking on candies, hyperventilation, wearing poor fitting dentures, etc. Smoking also triggers flatulence.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: July 02, 2014

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