Flatulence is a common condition. Its essence lies in the increased accumulation of gases in the gastrointestinal tract. Flatulence can be felt in healthy people when overeating, eating foods, the digestion of which causes increased gas formation.
When the ratio between the formation of gases in the intestine, its absorption and removal is disturbed, conditions arise for excessive accumulation of gases in the gastrointestinal tract.
There are three main sources of gas in the intestine: swallowed air; gases generated in the lumen of the cecum and gases from the blood. Normally, the gastrointestinal tract contains on average about 200 ml of gas.
In healthy people, about 600 ml of gases are emitted daily through the rectum, however, individual differences vary from 200 to 2600 ml. The unpleasant smell of gases released from the intestine is associated with the presence of aromatic compounds such as indole, skatole, hydrogen sulfide, which are formed in the large intestine as a result of microflora exposure to undigested organic compounds in the small intestine.
The gases that accumulate in the intestine are foam with many small bubbles, each of which is surrounded by a layer of viscous mucus. This mucous foam covers with a thin layer the surface of the mucous membrane of the intestine, which in turn makes parietal digestion difficult, reduces the activity of enzymes, and disrupts the absorption of nutrients.
Causes of flatulence in the intestines are extremely diverse. Flatulence may occur in a child already in the first days after birth as a result of imperfections of the enzyme system or a violation of its function. The lack of enzymes leads to the ingress of large amounts of undigested food debris in the lower parts of the digestive tract and activation of the processes of decay and fermentation with the release of gases.
Disturbances of the enzyme system can occur with unbalanced nutrition, as well as with various diseases of the upper digestive tract ( gastritis, duodenitis, pancreatitis, cholecystitis, hepatitis). Another cause of increased flatulence in the intestine is a violation of the microflora of the colon.
Under normal conditions, most of the gases are absorbed by bacteria in the gut. In case of imbalance between gas-producing and gas-consuming microorganisms, meteorism occurs.
Another mechanism of its occurrence is intestinal stretching as a result of a violation of its physical activity, which develops during various operations on the abdominal cavity. After surgery, intestinal motility is usually impaired. Slowing the passage of food masses contributes to the enhancement of fermentation and putrefactive processes with increased gas formation. Gases, accumulating in the lumen of the sedentary intestine, cause paroxysmal pain.
The reason for the increase in the number of gases in the gut can be food. In addition to legumes and products containing coarse fiber, these include highly carbonated drinks, products that cause fermentation reactions (lamb meat), as well as products in which fermentation and fermentation reactions occur independently (kvass). Nervous disorders, emotional overload can lead to flatulence due to spasm of the smooth muscles of the intestine and slowing of peristalsis.
Depending on the reason, the following types of flatulence are distinguished:
- with a diet rich in cellulose and eating beans;
- in case of digestive disorders (gastritis, pancreatitis, gallstone disease );
- due to excessive bacterial growth in the small intestine and impaired colon bios;
- in case of mechanical impairment of the evacuation function of the intestine (tumors, adhesions);
- due to disorders of the intestinal motor function (acute infections, intoxications);
- with general and local circulatory disorders;
- meteorism due to psycho-emotional overload and neuropsychiatric disorders;
- when raised to a height when the gases expand and the pressure in the intestines increases.
Flatulence manifests as abdominal distention or bouts of cramping pain, may be accompanied by nausea, belching, loss of appetite, constipated or diarrhea.
There are two options for the manifestation of flatulence:
- In some cases, the main manifestation is a significant increase in the abdomen due to distention of the intestine, while the discharge of gases does not occur due to spasm of the colon. The main sensations are discomfort, abdominal distention, pain.
- The second option is characterized by constant rapid discharge of gases from the intestines, which significantly limits the quality of life and stay in society. At the same time, the pain syndrome is insignificantly expressed, complaints of “rumbling” and “transfusion” in the abdomen predominate.
During flatulence, extraintestinal symptoms may occur: from the side of the cardiovascular system (burning in the region of the heart, arrhythmia, mood disorder, sleep disturbance, general weakness).
The principle of treating meteorism is to eliminate the cause of increased gas formation. Treatment may include the following steps:
- diet correction;
- treatment of diseases caused by flatulence;
- recovery of motor disorders (by assigning prokinetics );
- treatment of intestinal biocenosis disorders (biologics);
- removal of accumulated gases from the intestinal lumen.
Absorption agents are used in the treatment of flatulence: activated carbon (effective only in large doses), white clay, polyphepanum, dimethicone, polysorb. They reduce the absorption of gases, toxins and other compounds, as well as contribute to their removal.
With flatulence, some plant-based remedies have a carminative effect: infusions of cumin, coriander, dill, fennel, chamomile flowers, and mint leaves.
With absolute or relative insufficiency of secretion of digestive enzymes, the digestion of the main ingredients of food is disturbed. Pepsin, pancreatin, natural gastric juice, as well as a number of combined drugs are used as replacement therapy for insufficiency of the gastric and intestinal glands, pancreas.
The organization of rational nutrition of patients with the exclusion of products containing coarse fiber (cabbage, sorrel, grapes, gooseberries), legumes and products that cause fermentation reactions (kvass, beer, carbonated water).
Fermented milk products, crumbly cereals (buckwheat, millet), boiled vegetables and fruits (carrots, beets), boiled meat only, wheat bread from wholemeal flour with bran are recommended.