Flatulence, AKA wind, AKA gas, AKA incessant guffing, can actually be quite an unpleasant condition rather than just an embarrassing nuisance. Not only does it make the sufferer smell unpleasant, so creating embarrassment and preventing others from wanting to be around them, but it can also lead to quite bad pain in the abdomen as well as an uncomfortable feeling of bloating. The cause of this pain is usually trapped air, which will escape either as flatulence or belching. A good flatulence remedy then needs to somehow target that trapped air and prevent the sufferer from swallowing more. While the oxygen that is swallowed is absorbed into the blood and used for oxidative energy, the nitrogen is expelled in flatus (passing flatus is the ‘proper’ term for letting one slip) as it is not easily absorbed by the mucous lining. This then is what causes the discomfort and the wind.
This trapped air can come about in several ways. Often this is through the excessive swallowing of air. Swallowing of air can actually be a habitual thing, in which cases it is known as ‘aerophagia’ and is quite hard to stop. Other reasons for trapped wind can be the presence of excessive amounts of bacteria in the intestines, the consumption of large amounts of food that is high in fibre or malt extracts, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroenteritis, foot or water that contains bacteria, constipation, diarrhoea, high fat diets which release a lot of carbon dioxide, high protein diets – especially some protein shakes (leading to ‘protein farts’… lovely) caused by the breakdown of sulphur in the amino acids, lots of fruits and vegetables can cause a build up of methane over time, fat malabsorption can leave excess gas or even potentially a more serious condition such as colorectal cancer.
There are several ways you can narrow down the cause of your wind. The extremely pungent wind for example is most likely to be the result of high protein. Either you are eating a little too much or your body just reacts badly to that which you are eating – so minimise or change the protein if you’re concerned. Eggs are particularly bad culprits as are protein shakes; if you want to use protein supplements then make sure you read the reviews and go for one that says it doesn’t cause too much ‘bloat’.
Similarly you can spot fat malabsorption by studying stool. If your excretion is light-coloured and ‘loose’ then you may well be looking at fat malabsorption. In these cases you should try cutting the amount of fat you eat. These are both examples of how altering your diet can be a great and simple flatulence remedy. If your wind persists over a long period of time however and is chronic rather than acute, then you should seek advice from a medical professional as this could possibly be being caused by cancer and no flatulence remedy will be sufficient.
Fortunately, for most cases of persistent wind, there is many a flatulence remedy that can help using just items found around the home. Here we’ll list some of the most common and affective means.
Firstly try ginger powder. For this to work you should add just half a teaspoon with a pinch of asafoetida and some rock salt in a cup of warm water and drink, or simply try chewing on some fresh ginger slices (try soaking them in lemon juice to make them tastier) and this should work well after meals. Similarly brandy can work wonders when mixed into a cup of warm water before bed, as can a drop of dill mixed with honey. Others include pepper or peppermint.
Each of these provides a flatulence remedy due to containing menthol that ‘soothes’ the digestive muscle and aiding in digestion. This should help any flatulence caused by problems absorbing or digesting certain foods. Other ways to improve digestion include eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, sitting more upright while you eat, or taking medication designed for that purpose such as Gaviscon (which really works well) or indigestion tablets can all help aid the digestive process. Even just eating less can help – or at least eating less in each sitting but having more meals throughout the day. This also mimics the way we would eat in the wild and can help weight loss among other things.
As stated, diet is closely linked with flatulence, so the best flatulence remedy is usually to try altering your diet. Even if you don’t want to eat less protein or fat as described above, simply avoiding certain foods can work wonders. Foods that are particularly bad for flatulence include: beans (beans, beans they’re good for your heart…), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bread, cheese, carbonated drinks including some alcoholic beverages, rice, bananas, citrus, butter and some yogurts. If you eat any of these in high quantities then try cutting them down and you may find the source of your problem.
Failing all this you should seek help from your GP, or consider using supplements such as Devrom which are designed as a flatulence remedy. Failing that, cross your legs, let it out gently and try not to look suspicious. And remember – whoever smelt it dealt it…