Gas in the colon can clog stool

Flatulence: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

SOS tips: This helps with flatulence

Simple home remedies often offer quick help against unpleasant or painful accumulations of air in the intestine, which lead to flatulence:

  • Place a hot water bottle on your stomach.
  • Massage the stomach clockwise. This stimulates the intestinal activity.
  • Go for a walk or do other physical activity.
  • Drink tea made from caraway, anise and fennel seeds.
  • Take one to two drops of caraway seed oil on sugar with meals.
  • Season food with ginger, turmeric (turmeric) or coriander.
  • Chamomile and peppermint have a relaxing effect. Consume either as an oil or as a tea.

Defoamer preparations from the pharmacy. The remedies cause the gas bubbles in the intestine to burst, but do not help against the cause of the flatulence (only recommended for short-term use).

What is flatulence?

Flatulence can occur when a lot of air collects in the intestines. Above all, carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen are among the gases that escape through the anus. If the smell is unpleasant, this is due to the sulphurous gases that the intestinal bacteria form when the food residues are broken down. The intestinal bindweed smell particularly strong with a protein-rich diet.

Gases in the intestine are created especially during the digestion of high-fiber foods, high levels of carbohydrates or protein. Most gases diffuse into the bloodstream and are exhaled through the lungs. The rest escapes through the intestines. Every person regularly forms and excretes small amounts of gas. Even larger amounts are normal every now and then and not a cause for concern. If someone suffers from flatulence all the time and also very badly, food intolerance, bacterial colonization in the intestine or a pancreatic disease can be the cause.

Causes of flatulence

Flatulence usually occurs when too many gases form in the intestine during digestion. If their outflow is prevented, even very small amounts of gas can be uncomfortable or painful. In addition to incorrect eating habits, possible causes also include a narrowing in the intestine or an unusually tortuous and long colon.

The most common causes of gas are:

  • Consumption of legumes and vegetables such as, among others: white beans, chickpeas, onions, cabbage.
  • Consumption of fruits such as: plums, cherries, apples and pears. The fruits contain sorbitol, which has a flatulence effect. Sorbitol is also often used as a sugar substitute.
  • Carbonated drinks can also cause gas. Most of the gas is released by belching. Coffee and alcohol are also considered to be flatulent.
  • A sudden change in diet with increased intake of whole grain products. The digestive tract takes time to adapt to it. Slow and thorough chewing helps make the fiber more tolerable for the body. Much of the indigestible fiber from whole grains is broken down by bacteria in the colon. The resulting waste products can cause a bloated stomach.
  • Food allergies: It happens that certain foods such as nuts, milk or fruit cause allergies in some people. The consumption of an allergy-causing food can lead to gas, diarrhea, itching, eczema or swelling in the mouth, for example.
  • Lack of exercise: This promotes constipation and gas.
  • Ingestion of air (aerophagia): This happens when eating hastily, when swallowing food quickly, but also when smoking. If you eat slowly, you swallow significantly less air.
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone is increasingly produced. The increased progesterone level relaxes the muscle tissue of the organs and thus the intestine becomes more sluggish. The formation of gas in the intestine increases.
  • Medication: Some medications can cause gas and gas. These include laxatives, pain relievers, diabetes medication and antibiotics. Since antibiotics attack the healthy intestinal flora, it can also lead to long-term flatulence.
  • Mental health problems: Mental stress such as stress or anxiety can affect digestion and increase flatulence.

The following intolerances can lead to flatulence:

  • Milk sugar intolerance (lactose intolerance): In the case of lactose intolerance, the ingested milk sugar cannot be digested or only partially digested. The reason for this is the lack of the enzyme lactase or its insufficient production. The lactose reaches the large intestine undigested and is fermented there by intestinal bacteria. This leads to gas.
  • Fructose intolerance: A large amount of fructose reaches the large intestine undigested. The bacteria living there break down the fructose and the gases that are created lead to flatulence.
  • Gluten intolerance (celiac disease): People with celiac disease are overly sensitive to the adhesive protein gluten. You must strictly avoid grains like wheat, rye, oats, and barley. Otherwise, symptoms such as flatulence, weight loss, chronic diarrhea and nausea occur.

Some gastrointestinal disorders can cause gas:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome: The impaired intestinal motor skills lead to increased flatulence. Affected people suffer from diarrhea or constipation, pain, cramps and abnormal sensations. Stress can also accelerate irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Chronic pancreatitis: too few digestive enzymes are produced. In acute cases of inflammation, intestinal paralysis can set in. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive inflation of the abdomen and cold sweats can also occur. If this occurs, an emergency doctor should be called immediately.
  • Crohn's disease: In this chronic inflammatory bowel disease, the bowel often dilates over existing constrictions. This can cause flatulence. If a complication occurs, such as an intestinal obstruction, it initially manifests itself as constipation, abdominal pain and flatulence.
  • Colon cancer (colorectal cancer): Chronic flatulence, irregular digestion and altered stool, often with blood, can indicate colon cancer.
  • Liver cirrhosis: Among other things, the disease leads to severe flatulence.

Flatulence - Symptoms

Flatulence often occurs as a symptom of: digestive disorders, food allergies or intolerances, serious illnesses, psychological problems, but also during pregnancy or as a possible side effect of medication. Those affected have the feeling of being bloated, the intestines rumble and often severe abdominal pain. The increased amount of gas in the gastrointestinal tract leads to the exhaustion of the excess air. Intestinal bindweed can smell unpleasant, especially if you are on a very high protein diet.

Flatulence - when to see a doctor?

Flatulence often goes away on its own. Proven home remedies or a change in eating habits often help. Those affected should consult a doctor if the constant flatulence is accompanied by vomiting, abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements. A doctor should also clarify the cause of flatulence if it occurs after eating certain foods or if it persists for a longer period of time.

Flatulence - Diagnosis

In a conversation with the doctor, the current complaints, but also the previous medical history of the patient are discussed. Precise information about the flatulence is important so that the appropriate therapy can be initiated later. The doctor should be able to answer these questions:

  • How often do you get gas?
  • When does flatulence occur?
  • Has a connection been observed between the consumption of certain foods and the occurrence of flatulence?
  • What are the eating habits like?
  • Are there any additional complaints? For example pain, nausea, changes in the stool?

In the subsequent physical examination, the attending physician will now palpate the abdomen and listen to the intestinal noises with a stethoscope. Blood pressure and pulse rate are measured and the condition of the skin, eyes and oral mucosa is assessed. Depending on the suspected cause of the flatulence, further examinations may then follow. For example, a sonography (ultrasound examination), laboratory tests of the blood and stool as well as tests for food intolerance.

Treatment of flatulence

According to the diagnosis made, the doctor will prescribe a suitable therapy. If there is a serious illness behind the flatulence, this is treated causally. However, if the symptoms are triggered by an unhealthy lifestyle with the wrong diet, the doctor gives recommendations to prevent flatulence in the future or to alleviate it yourself in acute cases.

Home Remedies That Help With Flatulence

  • Abdominal massages: work in a circle and, if possible, clockwise.
  • Place a hot water bottle on your stomach: warmth has a relaxing effect on the intestines.
  • Warm wraps: Damp warmth has an even more intense effect. Place a damp cloth between the hot water bottle and your stomach. Potato wraps are also possible: boil jacket potatoes, mash and place on a cloth. Place the warm mass - do not use too hot - on your stomach and secure with another cloth.
  • Drink tea made from anise, fennel and caraway seeds: several times a day. The essential oils relieve the cramping of the intestines and ensure that intestinal gases escape inconspicuously.
  • Season hard-to-digest food with caraway seeds. Ginger, coriander, turmeric (turmeric), chamomile and peppermint oil also have a puffing and relieving effect.

Anti-flatulence drugs

  • Defoaming preparations: The intestinal vesicles in the intestine are made to burst. Use only for a short time, as the remedies can otherwise contribute to renewed flatulence.
  • Antispasmodic: Active ingredients such as butylscopolamine, trospium chloride and mebeverine have an antispasmodic effect. The remedies relax the muscles of the intestine and are mainly used for flatulence with colicky abdominal pain.
  • Digestive enzymes: If digestive enzymes cannot be formed in sufficient quantities, this will lead to flatulence. It affects people who cannot properly digest food containing fat, protein or carbohydrates. Then drugs that contain the appropriate enzymes are helpful. It is best to take it directly with meals.

This is how you prevent flatulence

In most cases, just making a few lifestyle changes can prevent bloating. Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid eating foods that promote gas
  • In the case of known food intolerances: specifically avoid the corresponding foods.
  • Integrate regular exercise into everyday life: This stimulates the bowel movements.
  • Under no circumstances hold back the bowel movement: if possible, give in to the urge to defecate and go to the nearest toilet.

Acupuncture for flatulence

In traditional Chinese medicine it is assumed that certain energy flows in the body are blocked during illnesses. Acupuncture can resolve these congestion. In the case of flatulence, the metabolism in the digestive system is stimulated with the help of the fine needles in order to stimulate the flow of energy. The therapist works specifically with the acupuncture points that are connected to the energy channels of the affected organs. Abdominal tension, caused by stress, is reduced and a possibly weak constitution should be strengthened.

Homeopathy for flatulence

In homeopathic herbal therapy, remedies are chosen according to the law of similars "similar things are cured with similar things". Depending on the individual symptoms of gastrointestinal problems, the following remedies are used for flatulence:

  • Allium ursinum: When symptoms appear during stress. The intestinal winds are partially stuck, then quickly come off.
  • Argentum nitricum: With a very bloated stomach and a feeling of fullness. Belching brings relief.
  • Carbo vegetabilis: When the abdomen is very distended and extremely sensitive to pressure. Severe, foul smelling gas. Pronounced feeling of weakness.
  • Nux vomica: When gas or gas occurs after heavy meals and alcohol consumption. For symptoms such as bloating, nausea and abdominal pain.
  • Lycopodium: For bloated stomach, bloating and heartburn. Especially after eating sweets, pastries, garlic and onions. Complaints worsen in the afternoon or evening.

Treatment should be carried out after thorough advice from an experienced homeopath.

Flatulence in infants

Babies are particularly likely to suffer from gas during the first three months of life. When they drink, they swallow air that enters the digestive tract. The baby's abdomen is then often painfully bloated. The air can escape again at the subsequent puddle.

So-called three-month colic is also a problem for many babies. The frequent screaming leads to the fact that the little ones swallow a lot of air, which - once in the stomach - causes abdominal pain and gas. The excessive crying is attributed to the fact that the infants are still having trouble calming themselves. This is why three-month colic is also known as a regulatory disorder.

Wind (flatulence): ICD code

In medicine, every illness is assigned its own ICD code. The abbreviation ICD stands for International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. The classification system is recognized worldwide and is one of the most important for medical diagnoses. For example, "flatulence and related conditions" are recorded under the ICD code "R14". Entering these codes often helps with research on the Internet.

Flatulence - How Do I Find the Right Hospital?

When looking for a suitable hospital that is well versed in the treatment of flatulence, you can find a number of helpful links on the website www.aerzteblatt.de. Among other things to www.weisse-liste.de, www.kliniken.de and www.krankenhaus.de. The website www.kliniken.de offers a particularly comprehensive overview. There are currently 3,846 hospitals from Germany, Austria and Switzerland listed here. In addition, there is detailed information on the specialist departments of the clinics as well as quality reports.

Go to the homepage of www.kliniken.de: Under the menu item “Top-10” you can search specifically for diseases and diagnoses. For diseases of the digestive system, enter the ICD code: "K93". Then click on the field below with the text "XI Diseases of the Digestive System". Then click again on the field below "K90-K93 Other digestive system diseases". The hospitals you are looking for then appear to the right of this, sorted according to the ranking of their case numbers. The monastery specialist hospital in Schmallenberg-Grafschaft is in first place, the Charité Berlin in second place and the Sana Klinikum Offenbach in third place, etc.

Flatulence FAQ

How can you prevent flatulence?

If there are no more serious causes behind the flatulence and no food intolerances or food allergies are known, you should heed some recommendations. The best tips:

  • Pay attention to which foods cause gas and if necessary avoid them or reduce their consumption.
  • Chew slowly while eating. Healthy digestion begins with the ingestion of food. Thorough chewing makes fiber, among other things, more tolerable for the body.
  • When cooking, use digestive spices such as caraway, anise, coriander and turmeric as often as possible.
  • Move regularly. This also stimulates the movement of the intestines so that the chyme gets through the lower part of the digestive tract more quickly.
  • Do not drink carbonated drinks.
  • Reduce stress. Psychological factors can affect digestion and trigger flaculence.

How can you reduce gas in babies?

It helps to use a specific technique when breastfeeding or feeding so that the babies do not swallow as much air. It is best to give the baby a small portion of milk before the hunger gets big. The aim is to prevent the baby from sucking so hard on the breast and from choking. You can also put a warm, moist compress on your chest beforehand and smear out some milk. Another tip relates to bottle feeding: make sure that the suction hole is the right size. When the bottle is turned over, the liquid should only drip out. The teat should be filled with milk as completely as possible so that the baby does not take in air with it. It is best not to shake the bottle to avoid the formation of air bubbles.

What helps against flatulence?

  • place a hot water bottle or a warm cherry stone pillow on your stomach
  • warm wraps, for example from jacket potatoes (boil the potatoes, crush them and wrap the pulp in a cloth, place on the stomach while still warm)
  • Abdominal massage: massage the abdomen in a clockwise direction in a circular motion
  • Drink tea made from caraway seeds, aniseed and fennel
  • Eat a lump of sugar with one or two drops of caraway seed oil at mealtime
  • Medicines from the pharmacy: take defoaming preparations (chewable tablets) or antispasmodics

What drugs can you take for flatulence?

There are different medicines for severe flatulence:

Defoaming agents (detergents): For example simeticon or polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The drugs lower the surface tension of the gas bubbles in the chyme. The gases can escape better this way - they are either absorbed by the intestine or excreted.

Anticonvulsants: They work against flatulence with colicky stomach pain. Active ingredients include mebeverine, butylscopolamine or trospium chloride.

Digestive Enzymes: Anyone who cannot digest food containing fat, protein or carbohydrates well because the body does not produce the appropriate digestive enzymes in sufficient quantities can benefit from drugs that contain the missing enzymes.

All statements without guarantee.