Flatulence

Flatulence

What is flatulence?

Flatulence means excess gas in your intestinal tract.

It either gets there when you swallow air, or when too much gas is produced during the digestive process – we all produce gases including methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

Your body will normally try to get rid of excess gas, at one end of your intestinal tract and/or the other. Common terms for flatulence include breaking wind, passing gas, farting, belching or burping.

What are the symptoms of flatulence?

Why do I have flatulence?

Not only can excess and involuntary flatulence be embarrassing and annoying, but it can be a symptom of an underlying problem, for example:

  • Swallowing too much air (called aerophagia) as a result of drinking too quickly, chewing gum, using tobacco products, sucking sweets, fizzy drinks, or hyperventilation
  • Excess bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Food intolerances, especially lactose or fructose intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Delays in your food and drink moving on from your stomach (called gastroparesis)
  • Ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), where the inner lining of the large bowel is inflamed and develops ulcers
  • Crohn’s disease, the other form of IBD, where some parts of your colon become inflamed

How do we diagnose the causes of flatulence?