Flatulence commonly known as bloating, farting or passing gas is medical condition bothering many individuals. Surveys show that approximately 15-23% Asians are reported to suffer from this abdominal discomfort.
Flatulence is uncomfortable condition where there is a feeling of abdominal fullness, tightness and movement of gas in the stomach. The discomfort urges the passage of excess amount of gas through the anal route. The abdominal discomfort may occur due to GIT disorders, psychological disorders, IBS etc. Modern medicine suggests medicines like simethicone or its derivatives and few antibiotics.
Most humans tend to accumulate gas in the digestive system. It is a fact that most people pass gas about 10 times a day. If the gas passed is more and frequently on a regular basis it is considered to be excess flatulence.
The main causes for flatulence include:
Swallowing air – It is a very natural process which we don’t even notice. Air is swallowed in many ways, normally during eating and drinking. Typically, very less amount of air is swallowed but if exceeds the limit, then it result in gas trouble. It can also result in excess burping.
The probable reasons for swallowing more air than normal are: Smoking, eating quickly, drinking excessive carbonated drinks
Dietary choices – Sudden change in the diet or consumption of same diet for a long duration leads to excess gas formation in the stomach. Few flatulence causing food include – Beans, lentils, cabbage, broccoli, foods high in artificial sugar and heavy non-vegetarian foods. Excess eating of cereals like wheat and oats, yeasted baked foods like breads, and dairy products may lead to flatulence.
These items, take long time to digest which may produce unpleasant smell during flatulence and burps. Also, few food items cannot be absorbed fully in the body. They won’t be completely digested and passes from intestine to colon. Colon has presence of large amount of bacteria which breaks down the food and release gas.
Excessive flatulence causes and complications – Other than the mentioned causes for flatulence, certain disease may also lead to digestive problems and excess flatulence. Few of the diseases are constipation, gastroenteritis, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, gall bladder disorders, celiac disease, diabetes, eating disorders, ulcerative colitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), autoimmune pancreatitis and peptic ulcers.
• Pain above the umbilicus
• Passing gas often through anal route and as burps
• Fowl smelling flatus
• Loud sounds while passing gas
• Abdominal distension
• Stomach discomfort or stomach upset
• Sounds or rumbling in upper abdomen
In Ayurveda, there are four clinical conditions which resemble the condition of flatulence.
• Aadhmana – Flatulence with distention
• Pratiaadhmana – Gas is accumulated in the upper abdomen which causes no pain.
• Aanaha – This condition refers to abdominal distension due to obstruction of stools or urine
• Atopa – Gurgling sounds in the abdomen which is accompanied by pain.
Ayurveda terms flatulence as ‘Aadhmana’. The disease is caused due to excess vata and weakened pitta dosha. These together impair the digestion and produce ama i.e. undigested food in the body. The aggravated vata dosha further causes abdominal discomfort thereby leading to flatulence.
The lead reasons as per Ayurveda are:
• Excess consumption of any Vata-aggravating foods such as beans, oily foods, frozen or processed foods, dairy products, fermented drinks like alcohol etc.
• Incompatible food combinations
• Improper food habits such as eating too fast or irregular diet timings
• Sleep disturbances
• Not following a proper daily or seasonal regimen
• Forcible suppression of natural urges like urination or defecation
How to relive gas from stomach is beautifully explained in Ayurveda. Fasting (Pachana) is to be followed until Ama is detoxified. Consumption of warm water, water processed with ginger, and consuming light foods should be practiced.
Ayurveda suggests treatments like Swedana (fomentation), Udvartnam (dry massage), and massage without oil but with pressure i.e. Mardanam to the abdominal area helps to release excess gas. In severe cases Guda varti (suppositories) helps to resolve the conditions. All these treatments along with corrected lifestyle and food habits help as gas and bloating remedy.
• Vegetables: Tomatoes, Pumpkin, Carrot, Beans, Cucumber, green beans, white pumpkins, bitter gourd, Beetroot, Curry leaves etc.
• Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Strawberries, water melon
• Grains: old rice, barley, green gram, Most beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas
• Spices: Asafoetida, Coriander, Ginger, Garlic, Pepper, Methi seeds, turmeric
• Nuts: Almonds, cashews, raisins, walnuts, and Flax seeds