Gas and Bloating (Flatulence)

Gas and Bloating (Flatulence)
Although a certain amount of belching and flatulence is normal, there are a few things you can do to cut down on painful or embarrassing gas and bloating.

The two sources of GI tract gas and bloating are:
  • Exogenous (swallowed air)
  • Endogenous (gases produced by intestinal bacteria)

    Gas and bloating due to exogenous gas
    Most people swallow air without ever realizing that it’s happening. When air is introduced to the stomach, most of the time it is released back up through the esophagus and mouth, with a complicated series of motilities and functions. The air that does not escape through belching, will move into the intestinal tract, where small amounts are absorbed into the blood stream and escape as vapors through exhaled air, and the rest is passed through, as flatulence.

    Gas and bloating due to endogenous gas
    Endogenous gas is a more complex culprit, and while a certain amount is perfectly normal, much intestinal gas can be prevented. The intestinal tract is enriched with as many bacteria as there are cells in the body. However if these friendly flora in the colon are out of balance due to a poor diet, undigested food, or the overuse of many medications, including antibiotics (aging is also a factor) then the bacteria responsible for creating gases during their digestive duties will outnumber the bacteria that feed on them. If they are outnumbering the non-gas producing bacteria, you will experience excess intestinal gas, bloating and flatulence as it moves through the system.

    The 5 odorless gasses produced in the colon are:
  • Nitrogen
  • Hydrogen
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Methane
  • Oxygen

    The 3 odorous gasses produced in the colon are:
  • Skatole
  • Indole
  • Sulfur-containing compounds

    What can you do to prevent excessive gas, bloating and flatulence?
    When undigested carbohydrates pass through your system, reaching the colon, there are certain bacteria present to break them down by fermenting them. It is these bacteria that produce the gasses that result in your bloating and flatulence.

  • Chew your food thoroughly (the more pulverized the food is before it reaches the stomach, the less
    undigested matter will reach the colon)
  • If you are chewing thoroughly and certain foods still leave you gassy (dairy products, sugar, white flour,
    beans, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) then simply avoid these foods
  • Do not gulp your food – eat slowly and thoughtfully
  • Avoid chewing gum and carbonated drinks
  • Avoid drinking from straws (much air is swallowed when sucking through a straw)
  • Avoid sucking on hard-candies
  • Avoid smoothies and blender drinks as they are filled with air bubbles
  • Take 3 doses of probiotics, daily
  • If you wear dentures, make sure they fit well (poorly fitted dentures can cause you to swallow air)
  • Eat a high fiber diet (fiber feeds helpful intestinal bacteria)
  • See an alternative practitioner about which digestive enzymes are right for you

  • Laying down on your left side assists gas bubbles in moving through the colon
  • Laying on your back and massaging your abdomen in a clock-wise direction helps to push gas bubbles along
  • Products like Gas-X do not make gas disappear, but rather attract small bubbles together, forming one large one.
  • If all else fails, take Beano before eating a gassy meal (Beano contains aspergillus niger, a digestive enzyme)

    *Please know that I am not a medical doctor or a health practitioner. I cannot diagnose your stomach problems nor can I guarantee a cure. I am here to share my knowledge, which applications have worked for me and to offer suggestions of where you may go physically, emotionally and spiritually for healing and self-empowerment. If you choose to explore alternative medicine, do not independently stop taking your prescribed medications. Always consult with your current doctor as well as your new practitioner when changing your medical program. Find a Naturopath near you.

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