Intestinal gases: why is it happening and how can it be treated?
It is one of many taboo issues, as people are ashamed to discuss it with their doctor or clinical dietitian. However, these gases indicate good intestinal function (yes, you read that correctly).
Gases in the digestive system are a normal phenomenon as they are part of the digestion process. If you receive about 30g. of fibre during the day, you will have gases about 10 – 20 times a day. This is a sign that the intestinal microbiome is nourished properly. The gases consist of nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane.
However, some people complain because they have that annoying bloating which is painful, unpleasant and it also causes a feeling of shame when they have to attend social events.
Excessive / Increased gases: Constipation is a cause of extra gases. The gases are produced in the large intestine because of bacteria that ferment carbohydrates and fibres which have not been processed in the small intestine. This gives bacteria more time to ferment these foods, so more gases are produced.
To deal with them increase the consumption of liquids, fibre and include movement into your everyday life.
Gas and odour: The smell of gases results from bacteria that dissolve compounds containing sulphates, ammonia and fatty acid compounds. Foods that consist of these compounds are:
Protein: meat, chicken, eggs, protein supplements
Crucanthi Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts
Vegetables of the allium family: garlic, onion and leek
It doesn’t mean that you should avoid the above foods. All of the above have great benefits for human organism.
Simple ways to deal with it:
- Chew your food well
- Avoid chewing gum as it causes ingesting air
- Eat slowly
- Reduce the amount of foods that cause you gas
In addition to taking specific foods, there are also other possible causes of the unpleasant and annoying gases such as food intolerance (gluten and lactose), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
Clinical Dietitian – Nutritionist, MSc