During digestion, food passes from the stomach to the small intestine where breakdown by enzymes and ultimately absorption takes place. Unabsorbed food then passes into the colon, where bacteria in the colon break it down into waste products. This process of bacterial fermentation in the colon produces gas, which is released through the anus as flatus. Carbohydrates such as sugars produce the most gas as they ferment easily, while fibre is indigestible but helps to regularize your bowel movements and keep the digestive system healthy. This natural process occurs daily in all people, and the average person passes flatus 8-20 times per day.
Flatus comprises mainly of carbon dioxide and other non-smelling gases like oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen. The foul smell comes from sulphur compounds, which makes up <1% of the gas. Many red meats and protein contain high amounts of sulphur, so eating such foods may result in a more foul smelling flatus. This can also be caused by certain medical conditions like internal intestinal bleeding and intestinal infections.
Passing wind or flatulence is a natural bodily function. Occasionally excessive flatulence occurs when there is too much stomach and intestinal gas released from the anus. Most common causes of excessive flatulence are lactose intolerance. Sometimes the patient may have fructose intolerance or small intestine bacteria overgrowth.
Excessive flatus is commonly related to:
- Constipation, as the longer food waste remains in the colon, the more time it has to ferment.
- An underlying digestive disorder which affects the digestion and absorption of food components and causes them to present in excessive amounts for fermentation. This includes lactose intolerance and celiac disease (which causes gluten intolerance).
- Eating and drinking too quickly without pacing yourself results in more gas entering the intestines.
- Too much bacteria in the small intestine, which produces gas in addition to the gas produced in the colon
- Eating gassy foods or drinking carbonated drinks
- Stress or anxiety.
If these measures do not work, please visit a clinic in Singapore and see a doctor for flatulence. There are many new and effective medications with various costs that can help improve these symptoms accompanying flatulence.
Hydrogen-methane breath test can also be carried out by our specialist in Singapore for sugar intolerance and bacterial overgrowth, which can help patients to address the underlying cause of excessive gas. Effective treatment is then recommended. Our doctor will evaluate your symptoms, medical history and risk factors to narrow down the possible causes of your flatulence problem. Aside from a physical exam, he may also run tests such as CT scan, endoscopy, blood test and breath test to determine the condition of your digestive tract.