Passing wind, farting, flatulence, whatever you call it, there is a certain stigma around the *completely normal* bodily function. There's often a hint of embarrassment surrounding the topic of passing gas.
Whilst a certain level of flatulence is necessary to keep you comfortable and your gut comfortable, there is such a thing as excessive flatulence. It can negatively impact your life and potentially signal a health condition requiring closer inspection. Unsurprisingly, many Australians may wonder if their gassiness is normal or cause for concern and how to reduce flatulence entirely.
Let's take a closer look at the causes behind flatulence, habits that exacerbate the issue, and foods that may worsen symptoms.
Medically termed flatulence, passing gas is an entirely normal physical function. It's one of the many digestive processes your gut initiates on its own, relieving you from any pain, pressure, or discomfort from accumulating too much gas in your digestive tract throughout the day.
Newsflash, everybody farts; in fact, if you didn't, that would be a real cause for concern as it is a response to excess gas in the digestive system. A healthy level of flatulence should occur anywhere from ten to twenty times per day and can occur due to a myriad of reasons, including:
Most of the time, flatulence isn't a reason for concern. Regularly passing gas indicates that your body is working the way it should and that your digestive system is functioning effectively. Though you might have wondered about how to reduce flatulence many times in the past, the goal is never to eliminate flatulence.
Think of your gut as a balloon that could become over-inflated and either rupture or become painful without relief. Without flatulence, abdominal pain would be a common problem for all, as it would become challenging to go about our daily life with such an accumulation of gas in the digestive tract. Remember the importance of flatulence the next time you pass wind.
While flatulence isn't something to be worried about, excessive flatulence can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Excessive flatulence could also signal underlying digestive issues. If you feel this might be the case, err on the side of caution and visit your doctor.
Some of the most common reasons for excessive flatulence include:
These may include foods such as beans, cabbage, lentils, dairy or wheat. Foods that are high in fibre can often be hard for the body to break down.
Some medical conditions and digestive disorders like celiac disease, Crohn's disease, diabetes and ulcerative colitis may also cause excessive flatulence.
Stress can cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome which may cause flatulence and excessive farting.
If your body cannot break down lactose, a protein found in dairy products, your body will produce more gas and symptoms may include foul-smelling farts, indigestion and an upset stomach.
While flatulence in itself isn’t something to be worried about, excessive farting can be uncomfortable and embarrassing and may signal an underlying digestive issue to be considered. If you feel that this might be the case, err on the side of caution and visit your doctor.
However, if you suspect that you have excessive gas due to poor lifestyle choices, here are some simple tips that you can follow to address excessive flatulence right away:
Aside from the many known health benefits that exercise provides, staying physically active also works wonders for the gut and reduces the risk of developing the problem of excessive flatulence. The more we exercise, the more likely we reduce flatulence and keep our digestive tract moving. Even gentle exercises such as yoga or walking encourage the "massaging" of your abdomen, helping the gut move gas along smoothly. Don't be surprised if, during exercise, you find yourself releasing gas via flatulence or burping; this is a good thing!
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower produce more gas than other greens. Some other common triggers of excessive flatulence include dairy and alcoholic or carbonated beverages. If you are struggling with excessive flatulence, try to make minor adjustments to your diet, minimise your intake of such foods and monitor your symptoms.
When we are properly hydrated, it's less likely that we will become constipated, which will, in turn, contribute to increased gas in our digestive systems.
As stated above, sometimes excessive gas signals that something might be off balance in your digestive tract. It might mean that you are lacking in certain nutrients or vitamins, such as zinc or prebiotics. While the priority to receiving sufficient nutrients lies in a healthy and well-balanced diet, you can consider supplements to ensure that you meet your daily requirement.
Here are some nutrients and minerals worth paying attention to if you want to reduce excessive flatulence. Vitable readily provides these supplements to help support the digestive system.
Zinc is a key mineral that promotes healthy digestive function but is not produced naturally by our bodies. Research also suggests that a lack of zinc can compromise the digestive system. You can consider taking zinc supplements if you do not get enough zinc from food sources.
Yoghurt, cheese and other fermented foods are excellent food sources of probiotics. Probiotics promote the presence of good gut bacteria whilst helping the possible overgrowth of harmful gut bacteria, which can contribute to excessive flatulence.
Vitable Australia offers two kinds of probiotic supplements: Probiotics SB and Daily Probiotics. Whilst both provide similar benefits for digestive system health and maintain digestive function; we recommend Probiotics SB for those taking antibiotics or have just finished taking them. Antibiotics potentially kill off good gut bacteria, leaving the digestive tract needing external help to restore the balance of good and bad bacteria and, thus, minimise the risk of excessive flatulence.
Curcumin is naturally found in turmeric and is the component that gives it its signature yellow colour. But more important than its aesthetic value, curcumin possesses natural properties that can support healthy digestion and the general maintenance of a healthy digestive system.
Passing gas is entirely natural, but excessive flatulence could signify something more serious. It is essential to monitor any symptoms you have and potential triggers to keep on top of your gut health.
Ensuring we consume sufficient nutrients from food sources can be a challenge for some. With Vitable's monthly vitamin subscription, you can support your nutrient intake alongside a well-rounded diet to help keep your gut healthy. Our personalised vitamin packs even come with vitamin delivery that will have them delivered right to your doorstep.
Take the quiz and build your own vitamin pack today! You can also find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with below:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.