Check Up : She's always 'passing wind'

November 22, 2017

Imani emails Check Up and says that stomach gas, bloatedness, belching and passing wind have affected her for several years now.


Flatulence refers to the frequent passage of gas, which may or may not be smelly, either by burping, belching or passing wind.

Treatment goals therefore seek to reduce gas and smelly odour.

The prevention (or reduction) of flatulence often requires an understanding of what foods in the individual is causing the production of excess gas.

This is best discerned by simplifying the diet to certain basic food items which don't seem troublesome and then slowly adding one food item at a time to determine which food causes excess gas production.

Excessive gas after eating a certain food would indicate that the food should be eliminated from the diet.

Also, chewing food properly and swallowing without taking in too much air, and avoiding carbonated drinks, can also reduce flatulence and burping.

Smoking can cause more air to be swallowed than usual and tobacco can irritate the bowels, so cigarette smoking should also be avoided!

Avoid eating too much high-fibre carbohydrates. Processed foods which contain artificial sweeteners, sugar-free sweets and chewing gum should also be avoided.




Certain types of vegetables and fruits are poorly digested, including beans (you can try soaking them before cooking), lentils and prunes.

As it is still important to eat healthily, carbohydrates which are easily digested and non-gassy should be chosen. These include rice, grapes and yogurt (no artificial sweeteners).

As people react differently to different foods, some products thought to be safe may still cause flatulence. To be safe, try one food kind at a time and judge the results.

Keep a food diary to determine whether the foods tried make flatulence better or worse.

There are several over-the-counter preparations which can help to reduce flatulence, including Simethicone /Gas-X, Beano, and antacids such as Relcer Gel, Dica, Maalox-Plus and Rioplus.

If lactose-intolerant, lactase should be taken before eating or drinking dairy products to help reduce gas formation, but it's probably easier just to avoid dairy products!

Home remedies for flatulence include ginger or peppermint tea, papaya or turmeric.

Occasionally, disease of the intestinal lining occurs, causing flatulence, which should be determined by X-rays and other gastric assessment tests. This will require medical management.


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