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Flatulence

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read
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Flatulence is also known as wind, gas or farting. Flatulence is normal, it happens when gas builds up in the digestive system. People pass gas an average of 15 times a day. If farting happens excessively, continuously, or is associated with a bloated feeling or tummy discomfort, it can be a sign of a more serious condition, but this is much less common.

How can I improve symptoms?

It might be a good idea to keep an eye on any changes in your diet or lifestyle by keeping a diary of what you are eating and drinking, and linking any patterns to your symptoms.

Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day and making sure you take your time to chew and digest your food properly can be helpful. Exercising regularly helps improve your digestive system.

Try to avoid things that increase the amount of air you swallow, such as smoking, drinking fizzy drinks, and chewing gum. Peppermint tea and probiotics can be helpful in reducing your symptoms.

What foods cause flatulence?

Certain foods are known to contribute to increased flatulence, and understanding these dietary factors can help individuals manage and minimize excessive gas production. Foods that commonly cause flatulence include those high in certain carbohydrates, known as fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs). Examples of such foods include beans, lentils, cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), onions, garlic, certain fruits (e.g., apples, pears), dairy products for individuals with lactose intolerance, and sugar substitutes containing sorbitol or mannitol. Carbonated beverages and high-fat foods can also contribute to flatulence.

While these foods may affect individuals differently, adopting a low-FODMAP diet or identifying specific triggers through a food diary can be beneficial for those looking to manage excessive flatulence. It's important to note that dietary reactions vary among individuals and consulting with your doctor is advised.

What else causes flatulence?

Flatulence can be associated with a number of digestive issues such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, reflux disease and lactose intolerance. It can be a side effect of certain medications such as laxatives or antifungal medicines. So, it is important to speak with your local pharmacist or doctor if you are on any medications that you think might be causing your symptoms.

When should I see my doctor?

If your symptoms are worrying you, or you have any more noticeable symptoms alongside your flatulence, then you should speak with your doctor. Some symptoms which require urgent review include:

  • Persistent or severe flatulence that is significantly impacting your daily life and activities.
  • Changes in bowel habits for more than six weeks, such as diarrhea, constipation, or unusual stool consistency.
  • Unintentional weight loss along with flatulence.
  • Blood in your stool or any signs of gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • New or unexplained symptoms.
  • Persistent discomfort or concern, including abdominal pain.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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