Monday 24 October 2016

Controlling excessive wind and Botox: the eye twitch saviour

Published 14/04/2015 | 02:30

Stomach bloating
Stomach bloating

I have awful bloating in my stomach. It means that I pass a lot of wind every day and it can be quite offensive. Is this normal or should I be worried?

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Intestinal wind is present all the time throughout our gut. It's only when it is excessive or causes pain that we become aware of it.

When we pass wind through the mouth, it is referred to as burping or belching. When we pass wind through the anus, it is referred to as flatulence or farting. Excess gas may cause pain, bloating or cramping.

It is normal to pass wind each day. Most people will burp at times and it is normal to pass flatus up to 20 times per day.

Many of those who suffer with flatulence will complain of abdominal bloating and distension.

It is important to differentiate between the two.

Bloating is the feeling that the abdomen is swollen and full. Distension is when this actually occurs. Distension may occur temporarily due to excess wind or constipation.

Permanent distension that does not go away is a more sinister sign and can suggest that there is something growing in the abdomen or gut causing a potential blockage.

Excess wind in the upper gut is commonly due to swallowing air when talking, chewing gum or drinking fizzy drinks. It can produce an uncomfortable full feeling that is relieved by burping.

Excess wind lower in the gut is usually a by-product of the fermentation and digestion of food. It can more rarely be caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or a digestive disease.

Certain foods are more likely to produce excess wind and gas. These include beans and pulses, vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, sugars such as lactose, fructose, and sorbitol (an artificial sweetener) and starch-containing foods (particularly whole grains).

Wind-producing digestive diseases include coeliac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. The amount of gas produced in the gut, therefore, depends on the type of food eaten and how it is digested.

A simple remedy for bloating and gas may be to keep a food diary and identify foods that cause discomfort. If milk is a culprit, try lactose free varieties. Products containing peppermint may help. If gut transit is slow, medicines such as metoclopramide are an option.

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