Flatulence – a serious subject.
Flatulence. This month is apparently being dubbed “Farch” and we initially thought that we would not be writing blogs about gut gas because of schoolboy humour and all the jokes associated with this subject. But then we realised that there is a very serious side to the whole business of letting gas go, so we relented. We should start by naming the beast up front and be done with it…. Farting, toots, parps, blow-offs, pop-offs, trumps, etc etc. Ok, when you stop sniggering we can get on with some science….
The normal human gut will generate flatus (the grown-up name for the above), as part of normal digestion and fermentation in a healthy gut. If a person has a nicely balanced healthy gut flora, the flatus will be moderate and non-offensive.
A healthy ‘toot’ will have the vague suggestion of a freshly turned compost heap and then evaporate to nothing. No dogs and small children in the vicinity should fall over.
But if letting off flatus causes noxious gases then this may be a cause for concern. Most bacteria in the gut are methanogenic – that is, they generate methane when they feed and breathe. When you get faeces staying in the gut for a longer than normal time, or if the balance of the flora is not right, then you may start to generate the more concentrated gases of decomposition and putrefaction; these include: cresol, skatole, phenols and other sulphur-like gases. These gases do not smell very nice at all and it is no laughing matter.
If your flatus is offensive, then it is probably coming from something ‘not healthy’ inside. There are times when we eat pungent foods and things like onions, garlic, curry, etc., will very quickly taint the colonic gases and if it is identifiable like this, then it is most likely not a problem.
But if your flatus is very offensive, and smells like the ‘breath of Hades’, then you need to think about your gut health more seriously. Cut out sugars, cut down on grains and gluten-containing foods as these are often sluggish to leave the bowel and decompose rather than digest, and look to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Initially, the increase of fruits and veggies may lead to more gas, but this should be less offensive and settle down as the balance of the gut flora responses to the new dietary regime.
Let It Go!
Gas can be excruciatingly painful and bloating is very uncomfortable also. This is often as a result of not only the dysbiosis (gut flora imbalance) mentioned above, but can also be due to withholding gas out of a sense of social niceness. Holding back gas can stop the normal progress of food and waste along the bowel and can lead to constipation and painful bloating. So if your diet is good, your flatus will not offend so you can afford to let it out when you need to.
This was article was written to help raise awareness of how flatulence should be in a healthy body. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, talking about the unmentionable, will definitely help! Get in touch with a naturopath or a nutritionist for further advice.
For more information on the Taymount Clinic visit www.taymount.com or call (+44) 01462 712500