An hour or two after a sumptuous Indian lunch, anyone would have a strange commotion in their stomachs and the feeling to be left alone would be predominant. Yes, we are talking about that which is common to everyone, but is still a taboo. We are talking about gas or flatulence and belching.
Many of you would have had this embarrassing experience at work or during parties. There is something that wants to liberate itself, but you cannot do it for civility. This experience can be torturous. It might even be very unhealthy.
In this blog, let us discover what causes flatulence, how to manage it and save yourself from public embarrassment, and when it’s totally unhealthy. We would also tell you when it’s time to consult a Gastroenterologist.
The feeling of a bloated stomach and a constant churning in the stomach can be caused due to air or gases trapped in the digestive tract. There are many causes for having such a feeling, and it manifests in two ways – belching, and flatulence.
What is belching or burping?
Belching or burping happens when air is expelled from the stomach and through the mouth. This happens when the stomach distends due to swallowing of air. It is the body’s natural reaction to release air through the mouth and undo the distension.
What causes belching?
The primary reason, as discussed above, for belching is due to swallowing excessive air. The reasons for swallowing more air are:
- Eating too fast.
- Drinking too quickly.
- Consuming carbonated drinks.
- Sometimes, Anxiety.
While it is common among babies to swallow air when they are breastfed, adults do swallow air involuntarily and this is called Aerophagia. This can happen due to:
● Chewing gum.
● Talking and eating.
● Sucking candies.
● Having drinks through a straw.
● During an anxiety attack.
It can also be caused due to alcohol, certain foods which are high in starch and fiber. As Indians, we are very well aware that our cuisines are full of vegetables like beans, peas, lentils, onions, cauliflowers, cabbages, and potatoes. These are the culprits for belching. This does not mean we should stop consuming them. Belching can even be caused due to certain medications as a side effect.
Excessive belching can even be a sign of certain medical conditions. If you have any signs or symptoms of these medical conditions, it means that you have to make an appointment with your gastroenterologist. The conditions are:
● Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
● Peptic Ulcers.
● Fructose or Sorbitol Malabsorption.
● Lactose Intolerance.
● H. pylori Infection.
● Celiac Disease.
● Dumping Syndrome.
How to prevent belching?
- Eat your meals slowly.
- Avoid chewing gum.
- Avoid alcohol, and carbonated drinks.
- Stop consuming excessive lentils, peas, and starch filled foods.
- Take probiotics for better digestion.
While normal belching does not require any treatment, if you have prolonged bloating of the stomach, and it does not get relieved after belching, you have to consult a gastroenterologist.
What is flatulence?
Gas is generated in our stomachs when food is digested to convert it into energy. Flatulence is gas released from the rear side. Flatulence is gas released that is collected by swallowing air, or by gases created during digestion including hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide.
What causes flatulence?
In most cases, dietary choice is a major reason for excessive flatulence. Certain foods we eat are not totally absorbed in the digestive tract, and pass into the colon without being digested. In the colon, there are a lot of bacteria that breaks down these foods and release gases. This might be a reason for excessive flatulence.
Indian diet includes starch filled vegetables, lentils, cabbages, and cauliflowers leading to flatulence. Overeating dal, idlis, dosas, and vadas also leads to flatulence. Excessive consumptions of fruit juices rich in fructose and sorbitol also leads to flatulence.
Certain medical conditions also lead to excessive flatulence. They are:
● Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
● Lactose Intolerance.
● Crohn’s Disease.
● Hormone Imbalance.
● Coeliac Disease.
How to prevent flatulence?
● Maintain a food diary and observe the food that causes maximum flatulence. Avoid those foods.
● If lactose intolerance is suspected, then remove all dairy products from your diet.
● Avoid overeating.
● Avoid spicy foods.
● If odour is a concern, use charcoal filter undergarments.
● Avoid chewing gum, smoking, and consuming alcohol.
● Treat your constipation.
● Treat your anxiety.
It is found that in a day, humans have flatulence for 15 times. If it gets more than that, then it is time to consult a gastroenterologist. You can now visit a gastroenterologist of Apollo Hospitals from your home. Book your appointment for online consultation here.