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Flatulence

Knowledge Hub

Sometimes flatulence is associated with fibre and we're often asked questions about it, so we've created this page to provide you with some more information.

Passing wind is a perfectly natural bodily function. It's thought that we typically release gas between 12 and 25 times a day, or 0.5 to 3 litres of gas per day. However, some people suffer from more extreme flatulence.

Symptoms of Flatulence

Flatulence, breaking wind, farting, trumping… whatever you call it, it all means the same thing: releasing gas out through the rectum and anus.

The gas produced in your intestine (flatus) is largely a by-product of the bacteria lining your colon fermenting and digesting your food. The mixture of gases produced is directly related to your diet.

Over 99% of the gases produced—including hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide—are odourless. Certain foods, such as cheese, beans and eggs, contain more sulphur and so will be more likely to make your wind smelly. If there’s a problem somewhere in the digestive tract, food may not be broken down adequately, meaning that it starts to decompose before it’s fully processed. This can also result in a stronger smell.

Most of the time, we manage to keep this bodily function discreet. The amount and frequency varies from person to person, but digestive problems can mean that excess flatulence gets out of control.

Causes of Flatulence

There are several natural causes of flatulence. Flatulence can also be caused by indigestion, constipation, it may be related to the digestive system, be side effect of certain medicines or related to food intake.

Very occasionally, excess flatulence — or indeed, not breaking wind at all — can be linked to something more serious. If you're concerned about your health, you should consult your GP or healthcare practitioner.

Tips for avoiding flatulence

Simple changes to your everyday eating habits can help to avoid flatulence. A healthy balanced diet, rich in fibre containing foods such as wholegrain carbohydrates and a wide variety of vegetables and fruit can help achieve an optimally balanced gut which can aid efficient digestion and, as a result, reduce flatulence.

Tips

  • Ensure you follow a healthy, balanced diet, high in fibre
  • Eat meals slowly and chew each mouthful thoroughly
  • Try eating six small meals a day rather than three larger ones
  • Drink soothing herbal teas, such as peppermint, ginger or camomile
  • Exercise regularly
  • Keep a food diary to see which foods are affecting you and you may wish to visit a GP with this if necessary