Having excessive wind in the digestive tract can be annoying as well as embarrassing. Many people are able to overcome or at least reduce the problem by avoiding wind-producing foods and improving their eating habits. Flatulence may be accompanied by indigestion or constipation. It can be a sign of underlying disease, but this is rare.
Flatulence is often accompanied by a bloated sensation. This discomfort is generally relieved when the wind is expelled, either through the mouth – belching – or the anus. Belching is more likely when you’re standing or sitting, and expelling wind from the anus is more likely when you are lying down. Excessive wind production may lead to distension of the abdomen.
Flatulence occasionally results from gastritis (an inflamed stomach lining), irritable bowel syndrome, gallbladder disease or a peptic ulcer. It can also occur as a result of long term stress.
Adjusting your diet usually eases the problem. Flatulence results from the action of bacteria or fungi in your intestines causing certain digested foods to ferment and produce wind. Common culprits include cabbage, onions, peas, and beans. You many find that fatty foods, carbonated drinks, sugar, drinks containing caffeine, or uncooked vegetables and fruits make the problem worse. Flatulence can also result from sensitivity to a particular food or foods, or from combinations of certain foods, notably starch with protein or fruit. Examples are dough with fruit (as in apple pie), and bread with meat (as in a ham sandwich).
It isn’t just what we eat but how we eat that can cause flatulence. Some of us, without realizing it, swallow air along with out food, especially when we are nervous or under stress. This causes wind to accumulate in the stomach and intestines. The same thing can happen if you overeat, eat too fast, don’t chew well or talk or drink while eating. You can avoid these hazards by eating slowly and chewing food thoroughly. Try not to leave too much time between meals. Do not eat on the run or at erratic hours, and avoid having a late evening meal.