Flatulence, or wind, occurs in everyone.  However for some of us, removal of this gas either upwards as belching or burping, or downwards as flatus or farting, is embarrassing, uncomfortable and painful until expelled. Often it’s not particularly pleasant for those around us either.

Most people expel small amounts of gas inoffensively many times a day, with little odour or noise accompanying its passage outside the body.

Flatulence may be caused by certain foods that produce gas when digested, particularly when the diet alters, or when increases of fibre rich foods are added to the diet. Other causes of excessive wind may be from medical conditions or from swallowing air.

Some people may consume large amounts of fizzy drinks, lactose, whole grain foods and beans with little increase or production of gas. Flatulence sufferers find that even small amounts of these foods in their diet can cause a dramatic increase in the amount of gas needing to be passed, and silent odourless gas developing into gusts of offensive vapour over which they have little control or ability to prevent.  The smell accompanying flatulence is generally caused by fermenting food or intestinal bacteria producing the rotten egg smell from the process of digestion.

Swallowing air and consuming gassy foods and drinks is the usual cause of belching or burping. This removes excessive air, relieving the pressure on the stomach and allowing food to pass through into the intestines.

The easiest way to relieve the discomfort of flatulence is to remove it – by allowing the gas to pass whichever direction it needs to.  However, this often causes social embarrassment, from the sound, smell or both of these.  

Simple effective treatments are available from your community pharmacy to assist with flatulence by absorbing some of the smell, or by preventing some of the excessive production of intestinal gas.  Consult your local pharmacist for advice and treatment, they will also be able to assist with dietary advice to help prevent the gas occurring and to prevent distress to the sufferer and those around them.

If the cause of the flatulence is not easily relieved by simple treatment, then your pharmacist will be able to refer you to your doctor who will be able to determine if the condition is caused by a medical condition that will respond to effective treatment.

Don’t let you and those around you suffer from this distressing condition – consult your community pharmacist to relieve all from the effects of flatulence.