Tag Archives: Belching

Excess Wind or Stomach Gas


 

Definition:
Wind is a natural product of the action of the digestive system in the bowel, as enzymes and bacteria break down carbohydrates and proteins in the diet.

Many people think wind passes right through the gastrointestinal system. However, gas produced in the top end of the gut (in the stomach, mostly) travels upwards as burps or belches. Wind generated in the intestines or bowel (commonly known by the slang term ‘fart’) passes down and out through the rectum and anus, or back passage.

click to see the pictures

You may click to see

pictures

Digestive system

Our gut is a muscular tube stretching from the gullet (oesophagus) to the back passage (rectum) and is about 40 feet long when stretched out. It usually contains about 200ml of gas and every day we pass 400–2000ml of this gas out through the back passage as wind (or flatus, as it is technically known).

Over 90% of flatus is made up of 5 gases – nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane: the remaining 10% contains small amounts of other gases.

The nitrogen and oxygen come from air which is swallowed; the carbon dioxide is produced by stomach acid mixing with bicarbonate in bile and pancreatic juices. These gases get into the small intestine where most of the oxygen and carbon dioxide are absorbed into the blood stream; the nitrogen is passed down the large bowel (colon).

The small intestine is the place where the food we eat is digested and absorbed; the residues, such as dietary fibre and some carbohydrates, pass on to the large bowel. The colon contains different kinds of bacteria which are essential to good health and which ferment material from the small intestine, producing large volumes of hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide and other gases. Most of these gases are absorbed into the blood stream and eventually excreted in the breath: the rest is passed as flatus.
You may click to see :Digestive Health & Digestion

Symptoms:
One symptom of a bloated stomach or wind is tight fitting cloths even if you have not gained weight. Another symptom is passing excessive amounts of gas. You could also be experiencing a noticeably bloated abdomen and having abdominal craps. Your stomach will feel very full even though you have not eaten recently. It could also be due to water retention.

Belching or burping (air eructation) :
Every time we swallow we take some air into the stomach. A belch is an involuntary expulsion of wind (gas) by the stomach when it becomes distended from an excess of swallowed air. Eating rapidly or gulping food and drink, drinking a lot of liquid with meals, chewing gum, smoking or wearing loose dentures promote air swallowing. Some people swallow saliva to relieve heartburn and swallow air at the same time. Other people swallow air without noticing it, especially when they are tense. Fizzy drinks including beer cause belching because they release gas (carbon dioxide) into the stomach.

Chronic or repetitive burping (aerophagy) :
In this case air is not swallowed into the stomach but sucked into the gullet and rapidly expelled. Repetitive belching like this can last for minutes at a time and is very embarrassing. There is no medical treatment and the cure lies in realising the cause. Air cannot be sucked in when the jaws are separated, so repetitive belching can be temporarily controlled by firmly clenching something like a pencil between the teeth. Some people develop aerophagy because of discomfort in the chest. If you develop belching associated with chest discomfort – especially discomfort associated with exertion – or if you have difficulties in swallowing – you should seek medical advice.

Bloating :
Abdominal bloating is a common complaint that is often blamed on excess gas in the bowel. In people with irritable bowel syndrome, in which the gut is more sensitive to distension, that is not the case and the normal amount of gas causes discomfort. Because the muscular contractions of the gut are not co-ordinated, its contents do not pass along in an orderly fashion and this causes additional discomfort. Research has shown that when small amounts of gas are passed into the intestine, people with irritable bowel syndrome experience bloating and pain, whereas other people tolerate the same or even larger amounts of gas without any discomfort. Bloating may also be caused by rich, fatty meals which delay stomach emptying.
click to see
Bloating is often associated with abdominal distension so that clothing has to be loosened. This is usually due to relaxation of the abdominal muscles in an unconscious attempt to relieve discomfort. The distension usually disappears on lying flat or on contracting the abdominal muscles.

Bloating is difficult to treat. A high fibre diet can cause bloating in some people, but in  others may relieve bloating, because fibre absorbs water in the gut and gently distends it, helping to prevent the uncoordinated contractions that are partly responsible for bloating. Irritable bowel syndrome may be made worse by stress or anxiety so that stress may also be responsible for your bloating. Some people find that activated charcoal or defoaming agents (containing simethicone) are helpful. Avoiding gassy drinks may help. If the bloating is severe your doctor may prescribe drugs that help to coordinate the contractions of the gut or prevent spasms.

Bloating due to a build up of gas also occurs in some intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease or bowel tumour. These conditions cause other symptoms such as weight loss, abdominal pain or diarrhoea and require prompt medical investigation.

Rumblings/grumblings or noisy guts (borborygmi):
Bowel noises or borborygmi are produced when the liquid and gas contents of the intestine are shuffled backwards and forwards by vigorous movements of the gut. They may be produced by hunger, or by anxiety, or a fright: they are very common in irritable bowel syndrome.

Loud borborygmi or rumblings result from contractions of the intestines caused by diseases like Crohn’s disease or bowel obstruction. These conditions are associated with other symptoms such as severe abdominal pain and should be reported to your doctor.

Flatus :
The complaint of excessive flatus is made when a person believes he/she passes wind more often than their friends or more often than in the past. Often this is because an embarrassing incident like a loud or smelly break of wind in public has led to the belief that something is wrong.

A normal individual passes wind through the rectum an average of 15 times per day (ranging between 3 and 40 times), depending on diet. A high fibre diet produces more wind than a low fibre diet or a low carbohydrate diet. So if you think you have excessive flatus, count every time you break wind – even the little silent ones – for a day or so. If you break wind fewer than 40 times a day then you are normal.

But whatever your count you may wish to reduce it. Most flatus is generated by the normal bacterial fermentation of food residues in the colon. On the principle ‘no bugs – no gas’ you might think that antibiotics would work. But they don’t. Although the bacteria are killed off by the antibiotics, they quickly re-establish themselves. Besides, antibiotics produce more flatus in most people.

A high fiber diet has mixed blessings. It produces a satisfying stool, protects against colon cancer, may protect against stroke and heart disease, may help people to lose weight and improves symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome. The downside is that a high fibre diet produces a lot of flatus. However, it is possible to reduce flatus production even on a high fibre diet by avoiding the big gas producers. Beans are notorious gas producers – “beans are good for the heart: the more you eat the more you break wind”. They contain certain carbohydrates called oligosaccharides which cannot be digested in the small intestine but are like food to bacteria in the colon. Cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, onions, garlic, leeks and some seeds such as fennel, sunflower and poppy all produce a lot of gas in the colon. Reducing the amount of these foods in the diet will reduce flatus. Sometimes activated charcoal seems to reduce the amount (and smell) of flatus.

Some otherwise healthy people lack the enzyme necessary to digest lactose, the sugar in cow’s milk. As a result the lactose is fermented by the colon bacteria with the production of large amounts of carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The condition is called lactose intolerance and besides gas production may cause abdominal cramps. It occurs most commonly in people born in the Mediterranean area, but can occur anywhere. The ‘cure’ is to reduce milk intake to a level at which symptoms are controlled. Your doctor may carry out special tests to confirm the diagnosis. CORE produces a separate factsheet on lactose intolerance , available on our website.

Sorbitol, a sweetener used in diabetic diets and present in jams, sweets and sugarless chewing gum, is also not digested in the small intestine and can give rise to flatus for the same reason as lactose.

Certain medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease and other disorders which interfere with small bowel absorption of nutrients cause excess flatus because of impaired digestion. These conditions are usually associated with symptoms such as abdominal pains, weight loss, anaemia and/or persistent diarrhoea with pale, smelly stools that tend to float in the toilet pan. These symptoms require medical investigation. CORE produces separate leaflets on both Crohn’s disease ,Coeliac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

Loud wind
Loud wind is produced by powerful contractions of the bowel wall forcing gas out through a narrow anus – the muscle at the bottom of the rectum that keeps the intestinal contents in their place. There is not much you can do about this except grin and bear it, but measures to reduce flatus production may help.

Smelly wind
This is not your fault! It is caused by smelly substances like indoles, skatoles and hydrogen sulphide that are produced by bacterial fermentation in the colon. Garlic and onions, many spices and some herbs of the fennel family, particularly asafoetida which are used in Indian cooking, produce smelly gases. Beer, white wine and fruit juices give rise to smelly hydrogen sulphide in some people. Worse still, some of these smelly gases are absorbed into the blood stream and excreted in the breath as well, so that you may smell at both ends: be warned. Eating a lot of fatty food can cause smelly wind, and it is worth cutting down on fat if this is a problem.

Causes &  Risk  Factors:
Part of the reason why some people seem windier than others is simply a matter of habit and personal preference.

Some people are super-sensitive to gas in the stomach and get used to relieving the symptoms by belching or burping.

Others dislike the sensation of bloating lower in the gut and prefer to expel this as flatulence.

Studies have shown we all release gas from the back passage more than a hundred times a day. It’s just that most of us do it quietly or in such small amounts that we don’t even notice.

Excess wind may be a symptom of several conditions, including:

•Swallowing air – we all swallow air, especially as we eat, but some problems can increase the amount. These include anxiety and hyperventilation, chronic nasal stuffiness and mouth or dental problems.
•Stomach ulcers.
•Constipation.
•Irritable bowel syndrome.
•Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s.
•Food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance.
Anything that stops food being broken down and absorbed in the small bowel causes the food to travel into the lower bowel before it’s properly digested, where it’s more likely to make wind.

In lactose intolerance, for example, the gut lacks the enzyme needed to break down the sugar in milk called lactose, so it passes into the colon. Here it is fermented by the large number of friendly bacteria, leading to gas production and painful cramps.

Dietary factors:-
Some foods can increase the amount of gas produced or make it smell so it’s more noticeable. These include:

•Pulses, such as peas, beans and lentils – these contain complex carbohydrates that aren’t broken down or digested high in the bowel but are left to the action of bacteria lower in the gut.
•Spicy foods.
•Brussels sprouts, cabbage and artichokes – these are from the brassica family and produce particularly unpleasant smells when digested.
•Fizzy drinks.
•Sudden increases in the amount of high-fibre foods, such as bran.

Treatment & Recovery:
The following may help to aid digestion and reduce wind:

•Eat slowly with small mouthfuls, avoid heavy meals and try not to gulp liquids.
•Cut down on fizzy drinks.
•Add herbs and spices to meals, especially fennel seeds, thyme, sage and caraway.
•If you must have dried pulses, ensure they’ve been soaked overnight and cooked in fresh water to cut down the difficult-to-digest sugars.
•Eat live yoghurt every day to help provide adequate supplies of the bacteria that aid digestion.
•Drink herbal teas, such as fennel and mint. Peppermint tea also relaxes the muscles of the bowel and stops the discomfort that makes many people feel the need to pass wind.

Anxiety can play a part in wind. For some people, the more they burp, the more they feel the need to burp. Try to relax about it as much as you can, and you may find the problem fades away.

One remedy for bloated stomach is proper diet and exercise. You should get the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week.
click to see
This will keep your body running the way it should. A diet rich in lean protein, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables will keep your digestive system running like a well tuned auto mobile.

Your digestive track really is a like a car in that you have to put in the right type of fuel or you will have problems. The fibre in the whole grains, vegetables and fruits will keep you regular and decrease bloating. You should avoid processed and packaged foods whenever possible. Make easy switches in your diet such as a baked potato for French fries. There are many herbs that can be used to treat a bloated stomach. Peppermint is a good remedy because of its ability to sooth the digestive track.

Lemon balm is another member of the mint family that has soothing properties. It is often combined with other soothing herbs such as chamomile. Evening primrose has an essential fatty acid that aids digestion. Astragalus has anti-inflammatory properties and can help the body fight of physical stresses as well as treat digestive discomfort.

Fennel Seeds (a natural remedy to stop excessive burping)->

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/excesswind.shtml

Bloated Stomach / Trapped Wind – Causes, Symptoms & Remedies


http://www.corecharity.org.uk/Windy-symptoms-Flatulence-belching-bloating-and-breaking-wind.html

http://www.mydigestivehealth.com/

Bloated Stomach / Trapped Wind – Causes, Symptoms & Remedies

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Belching

Definition:Belching is the act of bringing up air from the stomach with a typical sound.A normal process to relieve distention from the air that accumulates in the stomach. The upper abdominal discomfort associated with excessive swallowed air may extend into the lower chest, producing symptoms suggesting heart or lung disease.

Burps or belches are simply the sound of gas leaving your body. When you scarf down food or even nibble on it, you also swallow air. You’d be amazed at how much air you’re really sucking down your throat. If you’re drinking pop with your meal, you’re also swallowing another gas – carbon dioxide which is full of bubbles. Those bubbles in your body don’t just float around. They need to go somewhere.

Extra gas escapes from the stomach, travels up the esophagus and comes out the mouth. It doesn’t usually leave slowly. Gas can quickly escape which is why we can’t always cover our mouth in time. Burps have little to do with farts. Farts are the sounds and smells of gas that get out through the anus. Farts may only take 30 to 45 minutes to travel through your body, but burps travel even faster. During the day you probably burp or fart at least 10 to 15 times. Stinky!

CLICK & SEE

Alternative Names :Burping; Eructation; Gas – belching

Causes:

The ability to belch is almost universal. Belching, also known as burping, is the act of expelling gas from the stomach out through the mouth.

The usual cause of belching is a distended (inflated) stomach caused by swallowed air. The distention of the stomach causes abdominal discomfort, and the belching expels the air and relieves the discomfort.

The common reasons for swallowing large amounts of air (aerophagia) are gulping food or drink too rapidly, anxiety, and carbonated beverages. People are often unaware that they are swallowing air.

“Burping” infants during bottle or breast feeding is important in order to expel air in the stomach that has been swallowed with the formula or milk.

Excessive air in the stomach is not the only cause of belching. For some people, belching becomes a habit and does not reflect the amount of air in their stomachs. For others, belching is a response to any type of abdominal discomfort and not just to discomfort due to increased gas.

Everyone knows that when they have mild abdominal discomfort, belching often relieves the problem. This is because excessive air in the stomach is often the cause of mild abdominal discomfort. As a result, people belch whenever mild abdominal discomfort is felt-whatever the cause.

Belching is not the simple act that many people think it is. Belching requires the coordination of several activities. The larynx must be closed-off so that any liquid or food that might return with the air from the stomach won’t get into the lungs.

This is accomplished by voluntarily raising the larynx as is done when swallowing. Raising the larynx also relaxes the upper esophageal sphincter so that air can pass more easily from the esophagus into the throat. The lower esophageal sphincter must open so that air can pass from the stomach into the esophagus.

While all this is occurring, the diaphragm descends just as it does when a breath is taken. This increases abdominal pressure and decreases pressure in the chest. The changes in pressure promote the flow of air from the stomach in the abdomen to the esophagus in the chest.

One unusual type of belching has been described in aerophagic individuals who swallow air. It has been demonstrated that during some of their belches room air enters the esophagus and is immediately expelled, giving rise to a belch. This in and out flow of air also is likely to be the explanation for the ability of many people to belch at will, even when there is little or no air in the stomach.

If the problem causing the discomfort is not excessive air in the stomach, then belching does not provide relief. When belching does not ease the discomfort, the belching should be taken as a sign that something may be wrong within the abdomen and the cause of the discomfort should be sought.

Belching by itself, however, does not help the physician determine what may be wrong because belching can occur in virtually any abdominal disease or condition that causes discomfort.

In discussing bloating, it is important to distinguish between bloating and distention.

Bloating is the subjective sensation (feeling) that the abdomen is larger than normal. Thus, bloating is a symptom akin to the symptom of discomfort.

In contrast, distention is the objective determination (physical finding) that the abdomen is actually larger than normal. Distention can be determined by such observations as the inability to fit into clothes or looking down at the stomach and noting that it is clearly larger than normal.

In some instances, bloating may represent a mild form of distention since the abdomen does not become physically (visibly or measurably) enlarged until its volume increases by one quart.

Nevertheless, bloating should never be assumed to be the same as distention.

There are three ways in which abdominal distention can arise. The causes are an increase in air, fluid, or tissue within the abdomen.

The diseases or conditions that cause an increase of any of these three factors are very different from one anther. Therefore, it is important to determine which of them is distending the abdomen.

There are two types of distention; continuous and intermittent.

*Continuous distention may be caused by the enlargement of an intra-abdominal (within the abdomen) organ, an intra-abdominal tumor, a collection of fluid around the intra-abdominal organs (ascites), or just plain obesity.
*Intermittent distention is usually due to the occasional accumulation of gas and/or fluid within the stomach, small intestine, or colon.

Causes flatulence:

Flatulence, also known as farting, is the act of passing intestinal gas from the anus.

Gas in the gastrointestinal tract has only two sources. It is either swallowed air or it is produced by bacteria that normally inhabit the intestines, primarily the colon.

Swallowed air is rarely the cause of excessive flatulence. The usual source is the production of excessive gas by intestinal bacteria. The bacteria produce the gas (hydrogen and/or methane) when they digest foods, primarily sugars and polysaccharides (e.g., starch, cellulose), that have not been digested during passage through the small intestine.

Sugars that are commonly poorly digested (maldigested) and malabsorbed are lactose, sorbitol, and fructose.

Lactose is the sugar in milk. The absence of the enzyme lactase in the lining of the intestines, which is a genetic trait, causes the maldigestion. Lactase is important because it breaks apart the lactose so that it can be absorbed.

Sorbitol is a commonly used sweetener in low calorie foods. Fructose is a commonly used sweetener in all types of candies and drinks.

Starches are another common source of intestinal gas. Starches are polysaccharides that are produced by plants and are composed of long chains of sugars.

Common sources of different types of starch include wheat, oats, potatoes, corn, and rice.

Rice is the most easily digested starch and little undigested rice starch reaches the colon and the colonic bacteria. Accordingly, the consumption of rice produces little gas.

In contrast, the starches in wheat, oats, potatoes, and, to a lesser extent, corn, all reach the colon and the bacteria in substantial amounts. These starches, therefore, result in the production of appreciable amounts of gas.

The starch in whole grains produces more gas than the starch in refined (purified) grains. Thus, more gas is formed after eating foods made with whole wheat flour than with refined wheat flour.

This difference in gas production probably occurs because the fiber present in the whole grain flour slows the digestion of starch as it travels through the small intestine. Much of this fiber is removed during the processing of whole grains into refined flour.

Finally, certain fruits and vegetables, for example, cabbage, also contain poorly digested starches that reach the colon and result in the formation of gas.

Most vegetables and fruits contain cellulose, another type of polysaccharide that is not digested at all as it passes through the small intestine.

However, unlike sugars and other starches, cellulose is used only very slowly by colonic bacteria. Therefore, the production of gas after the consumption of fruits and vegetables usually is not great unless the fruits and vegetables also contain sugars or polysaccharides other than cellulose.

Small amounts of air are continuously being swallowed and bacteria are constantly producing gas.

Contractions of the intestinal muscles normally propel the gas through the intestines and cause the gas to be expelled. Flatulence (passing intestinal gas) prevents gas from accumulating in the intestines.

However, there are two other ways in which gas can escape the intestine.

First, it can be absorbed across the lining of the intestine into the blood. The gas then travels in the blood and ultimately is excreted in the breath.

Second, gas can be removed and used by certain types of bacteria within the intestine. In fact, most of the gas that is formed by bacteria in the intestines is removed by other bacteria in the intestines.

Causes of intermittent abdominal bloating/distention :
Excessive production of gas:

Excessive production of gas by bacteria is a common cause of intermittent abdominal bloating/distention. Bacteria can produce too much gas in three ways.

* First, the amount of gas that bacteria produce varies from individual to individual. In other words, some individuals may have bacteria that produce more gas, either because there are more of the bacteria or because their particular bacteria are better at producing gas.
*Second, there may be poor digestion and absorption of foods in the small intestine, allowing more undigested food to reach the bacteria in the colon. The more undigested food the bacteria have, the more gas they produce. Examples of diseases of that involve poor digestion and absorption include lactose intolerance, pancreatic insufficiency, and celiac disease.
* Third, bacterial overgrowth can occur in the small intestine. Under normal conditions, the bacteria that produce gas are limited to the colon. In some medical conditions, these bacteria spread into the small intestine. When this bacterial spread occurs, food reaches the bacteria before it can be fully digested and absorbed by the small intestine. Therefore, the bacteria in the small intestine have a lot of undigested food from which to form gas. This condition in which the gas-producing bacteria move into the small intestine is called bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine (bowel).

Excessive production of gas by bacteria is usually accompanied by more flatulence. Increased flatulence may not always occur, however, since gas potentially can be eliminated in other ways-absorption into the body, utilization by other bacteria, or possibly, by elimination at night without the knowledge of the gas-passer.

Physical obstruction:

An obstruction (blockage) can occur virtually anywhere from the stomach to the rectum. When the blockage is temporary or partial, it can cause intermittent abdominal bloating/distention.

For example, scarring of the pylorus (pyloric stenosis) can obstruct the opening from the stomach into the intestines, thereby blocking the complete emptying of the stomach.

After meals, the stomach is normally filled with food and swallowed air. Then, during the next hour or two, the stomach secretes acid and fluid, which mix with the food and assist in digestion.

As a result, the stomach distends further. When the obstruction is incomplete, the food, air, and fluid eventually pass into the intestines and the bloating/distention resolves.

An obstruction in the small bowel, which is most commonly due to adhesions from a previous surgery, is another cause of intermittent abdominal distention.

To make matters worse, the distention that is caused by the physical obstruction stimulates both the stomach and intestines to secrete fluid, which adds to the distention.

Finally, severe constipation or fecal impaction (hardened stool in the rectum) can also obstruct the flow of the intestinal contents and result in distention.

In this case, however, the bloating/distention is usually constant and progressive and is relieved by bowel movements or removal of the impacted stool.

Functional obstruction:

A functional obstruction is not caused by an actual physical blockage, but rather by the poor functioning of the muscles of the stomach or intestines that propel the intestinal contents.

When these muscles are not working normally, the intestinal contents will accumulate and distend the abdomen.

Examples of functional obstruction include:

*gastroparesis (paralysis of the stomach) of diabetes;
*chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, an unusual condition in which the muscles of the small intestine do not work normally; and
*Hirschprung’s disease, in which a small stretch of colonic muscle does not contract normally due to missing nerves.

There is accumulating scientific evidence that some patients with abdominal bloating and distention due to gas may have a functional abnormality of the intestinal muscles that prevents gas from being normally transported through the intestine and expelled.

Instead, their gas accumulates in the intestine. Among patients with irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) with bloating as an important symptom, the gas accumulates in the small intestine and not the colon. The gas accumulates during the day and is greatest in the evening.

Fats in food have an effect on the intestine that mimics a functional obstruction. Dietary fat reaching the small intestine causes transport of digesting food, gas, and liquid within the intestines to slow. This can promote the accumulation of food, gas, and liquid and lead to bloating and/or distention.

Intestinal hypersensitivity:

Some people appear to be very sensitive (hypersensitive) to distention of their intestines, and they may feel bloated even with normal amounts of digesting food, gas, and fluid in the intestine after a meal. The bloating may be aggravated or even progress to distention if the meal contains substantial amounts of fat.

How are belching, bloating/distention, and flatulence evaluated?

A patient’s medical history is important because it directs the evaluation. If the bloating/distention is continuous rather than intermittent, then enlargement of abdominal organs, abdominal fluid, tumors, or obesity are probable causes.

If the bloating/distention is associated with increased flatulence, then bacteria and excessive gas production are likely factors. If a diet history reveals the consumption of large amounts of milk or dairy products (lactose), sorbitol or fructose, then the maldigestion and malabsorption of these sugars may be the cause of the distention.

When individuals complain of flatulence, it may be useful for them to count the number of times they pass gas for several days. This count can confirm the presence of excessive flatulence since the number of times gas is passed correlates well with the total amount (volume) of passed gas.

As you might imagine, it is not easy to measure the amount of passed gas. It is normal to pass gas up to 20 times a day. (The average volume of gas passed daily is estimated to be about ¾ of a quart.)

If an individual complains of excessive gas but passes gas fewer than 20 times per day, the problem is likely to be something other than too much gas.

For example, the problem may be the foul odor of the gas (usually due to sulfur-containing foods), the lack of ability to control (hold back) the passing of gas, or the soiling of underwear with small amounts of stool when passing gas.

All of these problems, like excessive gas, are socially embarrassing and may prompt individuals to consult a physician. These problems, however, are not due to excessive gas production, and their treatment is different.

Simple abdominal X-rays: Simple X-rays of the abdomen, particularly if they are taken during an episode of bloating or distention, can often confirm air as the cause of the distention since large amounts of air can be seen easily within the stomach and intestine.

Moreover, the cause of the problem may be suggested by noting where the gas has accumulated. For example, if the air is in the stomach, emptying of the stomach is likely to be the problem.

Small intestinal X-rays: X-rays of the small intestine, in which barium is used to fill and outline the small intestine, are particularly useful for determining if there is an obstruction of the small intestine.

Gastric emptying studies: These studies measure the ability of the stomach to empty its contents.

For gastric emptying studies, a test meal that is labeled with a radioactive substance is eaten and a Geiger counter-like device is placed over the abdomen to measure how rapidly the test meal empties from the stomach. A delay in emptying of the radioactivity from the stomach can be caused by any condition that reduces emptying of the stomach (e.g., pyloric stenosis, gastroparesis).

Ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI: Imaging studies, including ultrasound examination, computerized tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are particularly useful in defining the cause of distention that is due to enlargement of the abdominal organs, abdominal fluid, and tumor.

Maldigestion and malabsorption tests: Two types of tests are used to diagnose maldigestion and malabsorption; general tests and specific tests. The best general test is a 72 hour collection of stool that measures fat in the stool. If maldigestion and/or malabsorption exist because of pancreatic insufficiency or diseases of the lining of the small intestine (e.g., celiac disease), the amount of fat in the stool will increase.

Specific tests can be done for maldigestion of individual sugars that are commonly maldigested, including lactose (the sugar in milk) and sorbitol (a sweetener in low calorie foods).

The specific tests require ingestion of the sugars followed by hydrogen/methane breath testing.

The sugar fructose, a commonly used sweetener, like lactose and sorbitol, also may cause abdominal bloating/distention and flatulence.

However, the problem that can occur with fructose is different from that with lactose or sorbitol. Thus, as already discussed, lactose and sorbitol may be poorly digested by the pancreas and small intestine.

On the other hand, fructose may be digested normally but may pass so rapidly through the small intestine that there is not enough time for digestion and absorption to take place.

Hydrogen/methane breath tests: The most convenient way to test for bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine is hydrogen/methane breath testing. Normally, the gas produced by the bacteria of the colon is composed of hydrogen and/or methane.

For hydrogen/methane breath testing, a non-digestible sugar, lactulose, is consumed. At regular intervals following ingestion, samples of breath are taken for analysis.

When the lactulose reaches the colon, the bacteria form hydrogen and/or methane. Some of the hydrogen or methane is absorbed into the blood and eliminated in the breath where it can be measured in the samples of breath.

In normal individuals, there is one peak of hydrogen or methane when the lactulose enters the colon.

In individuals who have bacterial overgrowth, there are two peaks of hydrogen or methane. The first occurs when the lactulose passes and is exposed to the bacteria in the small intestine. The second occurs when the lactulose enters the colon and is exposed to the colonic bacteria.

Hydrogen breath testing for overgrowth also may be done utilizing glucose as the test sugar.

Treatment:
The treatment of excessive intestinal gas depends on the cause. If there is maldigestion of specific sugars-lactose, sorbitol, or fructose–the offending sugars can be eliminated from the diet. In the case of lactose in milk, an alternative treatment is available. Enzymes that are similar to intestinal lactase can be added to the milk in order to break down the lactose prior to its ingestion so that it can be absorbed normally

Some people find that yogurt, in which the lactose has been broken down partially by bacteria, produces less gas than milk.

There also are certain types of vegetables and fruits that contain types of starches that are poorly digested by people but well digested by bacteria.

These include beans, lentils, cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions, carrots, bananas, apricots, and prunes.

Reducing the intake of these vegetables and fruits, as well as foods made from whole grains, should reduce gas and flatulence. However, the list of gas-producing foods is rather long, and it may be difficult to eliminate them all without severely restricting the diet.

When maldigestion is due to pancreatic insufficiency, then supplemental pancreatic enzymes can be ingested with meals to replace the missing enzymes.

If maldigestion and/or malabsorption is caused by disease of the intestinal lining, the specific disease must be identified, most commonly through a small bowel biopsy. Then, treatment can be targeted for that condition.

For example, if celiac disease is found on the biopsy, a gluten-free diet can be started.

An interesting form of treatment for excessive gas is alpha-D-galactosidase, an enzyme that is produced by a mold. This enzyme, commercially available as Beano, is consumed as either a liquid or tablet with meals.

This enzyme is able to break down some of the difficult-to-digest polysaccharides in vegetables so that they may be absorbed. This prevents them from reaching the colonic bacteria and causing unnecessary production of gas. Beano has been shown to be effective in decreasing the incidence of intestinal gas.

Two other types of treatment have been promoted for the treatment of gas;

*simethicone and
*activated charcoal.

It is unclear if simethicone has an effect on gas in the stomach. However, it has no effect on the formation of gas in the colon.

Moreover, in the stomach, simethicone would be expected only to affect swallowed air, which, as previously mentioned, is an uncommon cause of excessive intestinal gas.

Nevertheless, some individuals are convinced that simethicone helps them. Activated charcoal has been shown to reduce the formation of gas in the colon, though the way in which it does so is unknown.

If there is a physical obstruction to the emptying of the stomach or passage of food, liquid, and gas through the small intestine, then surgical correction of the obstruction is required.

If the obstruction is functional, medications that promote activity of the muscles of the stomach and small intestine are given. Examples of these medicines are erythromycin or metoclopramide (Reglan).

Bacterial overgrowth of the small bowel is usually treated with antibiotics. However, this treatment is frequently only temporarily effective or not effective at all.

When antibiotics provide only a temporary benefit, it may be necessary to treat patients intermittently or even continuously with antibiotics. If antibiotics are not effective, probiotics (e.g., lactobacillus) can be tried although their use in bacterial overgrowth has not been studied. This condition may be difficult to treat.

Click to see Natural Home Remedies.………...(1).…….(2)

.Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://www.healthline.com/
http://www.kidzworld.com/article/756-the-ins-and-outs-of-burping
http://www.elderlynursing.com/bloating_detail.htm

Enhanced by Zemanta

Heartburn

In many cases, this digestive problem can be prevented with some simple lifestyle changes. But when heartburn hits — as it does daily for more than 25 million Americans — natural remedies can provide quick relief from the disorder’s fiery sensations.

Symptoms
A burning sensation behind the breastbone lasting from a few minutes to several hours.

When to Call Your Doctor
If you have heartburn twice a week or more.

What It Is
To help digest food, the stomach produces about a quart of hydrochloric acid a day. Usually, the acid isn’t a problem, because the gastrointestinal tract is coated with a protective mucous lining. But when acid moves up the esophagus (the tube running from the throat to the stomach), look out. Lacking a protective coating, the delicate tissue of the esophagus is vulnerable to the acid’s corrosive action, which produces a burning sensation doctors label gastroesophageal reflux — and the rest of us call heartburn.

What Causes It
Stomach acid generally stays where it belongs, thanks to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle relaxes only to admit food into the stomach and then shuts tightly. But sometimes the LES doesn’t close properly, allowing the stomach’s contents to wash up into the esophagus.

How Supplements Can Help

All the suggested supplements are effective for relieving heartburn — the first four immediately, the last three within a month or so. Try each methodically to see which one or combination works best for you. All can be used in addition to prescription or over-the counter heartburn drugs.

What Else You Can Do
Eat smaller, more frequent meals to minimize stomach acid production.

Supplement Recommendations

Calcium Carbonate
Licorice (DGL)
Aloe Vera Juice
Gamma-oryzanol
Choline
Pantothenic Acid
Thiamin

Calcium Carbonate
Dosage: 250-500 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Chewable tablets provide the quickest relief.

Licorice (DGL)
Dosage: 2 deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) wafers (380 mg).
Comments: Take 3 or 4 times a day between meals as needed

Aloe Vera Juice
Dosage: 1/2 cup juice 3 times a day between meals.
Comments: Contains 98% aloe vera and no aloin or aloe-emodin.

Gamma-oryzanol
Dosage: 150 mg 3 times a day on an empty stomach.
Comments: Also know as rice bran oil.

Choline

Dosage: 500 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: For chronic heartburn, use in combination with pantothenic acid and thiamin for 1 month to see if symptoms abate.

Pantothenic Acid

Dosage: 1,000 mg twice a day.
Comments: For chronic heartburn, use in combination with choline and thiamin for 1 month to see if symptoms abate.

Thiamin
Dosage: 500 mg a day, taken first thing in the morning.
Comments: Also called vitamin B1. For chronic heartburn, combine with pantothenic acid and choline for 1 month.

Click for home remedy  of Heartburn Relief

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs (Reader’s Digest)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]