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Causes of Excessive Flatulence

Updated on November 13, 2017
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Edmund has spent the last 10 years working in clinical research. He has written many articles on human anatomy and physiology.

We all do it ...

...but nobody wants to talk about it
...but nobody wants to talk about it | Source

Flatulence is also called passing gas or passing wind. It is a very embarrassing topic to talk about, especially when it involves someone suffering from excessive flatulence.

A healthy human being farts on average 10 to 20 times per day. Excessive flatulence is a common ailment that is usually accompanied by bloating and belching. You are probably suffering from it if you have to pass wind more frequently than normal.

What Causes Excessive Flatulence?

The short answer: Excessive flatulence is caused by the billions of bacteria that inhabit our digestive system. They feed on undigested food and release a significant amount of odorous gases.

Certain types of food tend to cause a gas build up in the digestive tract more than others. This explains why some foods may work well with your stomach while other don't. Some of these problem foods that would cause excessive flatulence are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus, beans and whole grain bread. These problems foods contain complex carbohydrates that causes digestive problems.

Certain types of food contains complex starch that we cannot digest
Certain types of food contains complex starch that we cannot digest | Source

Our digestive system produces enzymes that can digest simpler carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose and fructose. These enzymes are unable to handle complex carbohydrates. After ingestion, the undigested complex carbohydrate travels through the stomach and small intestine and makes its way to the large intestine.

Millions of bacteria start to ferment any undigested food that reaches the small intestine. The process of fermentation causes excessive gas build up in the intestine and hence a build up of pressure. This results to bloating, discomfort and eventually flatulence.

A good example of this digestive problem is when a lactose intolerant person consumes a dairy product such as milk. People with lactose intolerance are deficient in the enzyme lactase, whose key function is to digest lactose. In such individuals, lactose passes through the small intestine and reaches the large intestine undigested. This will kick start the fermentation process in the large intestine as described above.

How to Prevent Excessive Flatulence

Natural Enzymes Before Meal

Just because a certain food causes excessive flatulence does not make it unhealthy. On the contrary, most of them are packed with nutrients. The gas is a small price to pay for the nutritional value they provide us, so you would probably want to them in your diet.

If you would like to consume foods rich in complex carbs without having to worry about the excessive flatulence that comes with them, then you need to upgrade your digestive system with extra enzymes. These are natural enzymes generally taken just before meal. You can then go ahead and enjoy your meal without worrying about digestive problems. An example of this type enzyme is beano.

Probiotics

There are trillions of bacteria living inside our digestive tract, some are good and some are harmful. Probiotics help promote digestive health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that enter the intestines, colonize it and prevent harmful bacteria from getting the upper hand. Most of our diets are limited in beneficial bacteria, hence we tend to go for probiotics supplements.

Some Probiotics supplements contain enzymes that help digest complex carbohydrates. Lactobacillus bulgaricus is an example of a probiotic strain that has been found to have beneficial effects for people with lactose intolerance. There are many types of Probiotic supplements and some are more effective than others.

So, before you dig into those problem carbs, make sure your digestive tract is ‘all set’. Preventing excessive flatulence is better than trying to relieve it. We all know how inconvenient it can get to sit indoors with visitors when you have excessive flatulence, or how difficult it is to contain it during a meeting with your clients.

Yoga

There are some great yoga postures known to help with bloating and excessive flatulence. Incorporate these into your daily routine or perform them whenever you are feeling some gas build up and need a quick relief.

Carbonized Underwear

Excessive flatulence can be lifestyle-threatening especially if you have an active social life. When you have excessive flatulence and have tried other gas relievers to no avail, you may want to consider this. An activated carbon underwear (or activated carbon pad) that will soak up all the odors and nobody will notice that you've just let out a booty toot.

Flatulence Filter Cushion

Another product to try as a last resort for excessive flatulence is the fart cushion - to sit on. This flatulence filter cushion also contains activated carbon and the technology behind it is similar to that of the carbonized underwear. Not only will the special cushion soak up the odor, it also absorbs the sound. It looks inconspicuous on a chair and should be very comfortable to sit on.

Other Bloating and Excessive Flatulence Relievers

There are many remedies that may help with bloating and excessive flatulence. Even though these products are available in most grocery stores, the efficacy of many of them has not been proven.

If none of the methods to prevent or relieve excessive flatulence seem to help, if you have any worries or you have other symptom showing up, contact your health care provide and get evaluated.

Find the food that causes your excessive flatulence

If you suspect that a certain food is giving you gas, here is how to find and address the problem with the help of a food journal.

Keep record of excessive flatulence to identify problem foods
Keep record of excessive flatulence to identify problem foods | Source
  1. Stay away from all suspected problem foods for 7 days.
  2. Note the frequency of passing flatulence per day during the last three days of this 7 days (for example, you had up to 10 times per hour for a certain day).
  3. On day 8 introduce the problem food and note the frequency per day for the next couple of days.
  4. Compare your result of the worst day before and after day 7. If the frequency of the worst day prior to day 7 is below your normal range and that after day 7 is above your normal range*, then you probably found your problem food. Otherwise you need to move to suspect food number two and repeat steps one to four.

Everybody has a different tolerance to flatulence. Some people produce more gas than others.

Unfortunately most of causes of excessive flatulence are healthy foods. Therefore, instead of eliminating them completely from our diet, we should get the enzyme supplements that will help us digest them.

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    • anatomynotes profile image
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      Edmund Custers 4 years ago

      I am glad you found this article helpful. Thanks for stopping by.

    • celeste inscribed profile image

      Celeste Wilson 4 years ago

      Very interesting article. I did not know about the pads, cushion or yoga positions. I found your article helpful. In our house we drink Kefir and eat a fair amount of yogurt to put the good enzymes into our stomachs. Voted up and interesting.