The build-up of gases in the stomach can be uncomfortable and very embarrassing when it leads to flatulence. Flatulence can be defined as the release of intestinal gas from the anus. This may or may not be accompanied by sound and odour. Both men and women can be affected by flatulence at any age.
Some of the causes of flatulence include:
Food that is difficult to digest often triggers the formation of gas such as hydrogen, carbon dioxide, methane and sulphur in the digestive system as a result of the microbial breakdown of this food. Sulphur is largely responsible for the odor that accompanies the release of these gases. Beans, chickpeas, cauliflower and cabbage are some such foods that can trigger flatulence.
Flatulence on its own is not a serious condition and usually resolves itself without medication. However if it triggers severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, persistent constipation, blood in the stools, nausea and pain in the right side of the abdomen, medical care should be immediately sought.
If flatulence is a problem you suffer from often, take a look at your diet and modify your eating habits. Keep a food diary to determine what food triggers this condition and avoid it. If you are lactose intolerant switch your dairy products for soya substitutes and avoid dairy. Anti-gas compounds that are available over the counter can also provide relief. Chew your food slowly, thoroughly and ensure that your mouth is closed while chewing to prevent swallowing air. For this reason, also avoid chewing gums and fizzy drinks. If you must eat beans, soak them overnight before cooking.
Flatulence can be easily treated with home remedies. Following home remedies can be used
1. Ginger: Ginger aids the digestion process, eases bloating and reduces gas. It also helps stool pass smoothly and helps keep the intestines clear. This does not give stomach gases a chance to build up. Ginger can be consumed in the form of capsules or a tea made by steeping ginger in hot water for a few minutes.
2. Papaya: Along with being rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, papaya contains an enzyme known as papain that helps digest proteins and reduce gas. To benefit from papain, you could eat the papaya fruit or drink a tea made with papaya leaves. Papaya enzymes are also available as supplements.