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Flatulence is gas building in the stomach and the intestines. It can cause considerable discomfort and it has an embarrassingly audible way of showing its presence or escape. The gas can be expelled from the digestive system either by (i) belching from the stomach. (ii) flatus from the rectum, both of which attracts attention. It is mainly caused by the intake of high-fiber food items such as beans, vegetables, fruits, and grains. Since fiber is tough to digest, bacteria will grow on the partially digested food material and produce gas. Also, you can take in the air in your digestive tract while eating or drinking, especially if you eat quickly or while drinking through a straw, or while smoking. Any infection of the digestive tract may increase the gas content.

Symptoms of flatulence include the bloating of abdomen, abdominal pain, belching, and passing gas through the rectum.

Do's and Don’ts
This is primarily a digestive problem and ensuring digestive health is crucial to do away with this. While eating, do not gulp your food. Chew your food well before swallowing, as unchewed food produces a lot of gas. If your gas is offensive and foul smelling, avoid excessive protein intake by avoiding meat and eggs. High carbohydrate diet favours fermentation. Hence rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnip etc. should be limited. Also to be avoided are pulses, fibrous vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower, cheese, beans, alcohol, soya sauce, carbonated drinks (like Coke, Thumbs-up, etc.), fried food and excessive spices. Garlic, however, is favourable to avoid flatulence. Curds may be useful to change the intestinal flora. You should also take plenty of fluids but should avoid taking fluids during meals. Taking small meals frequently (3-4 meals/day), will be more effective than overeating at two large meals per day. Try to avoid having a heavy dinner at night. Flatulence is more common in obese people, and hence, weight reduction will definitely help. Regular exercises, yoga, and meditation help in digestion, the expulsion of gases, relieving of stress and reduction of gas production. You should consult a doctor if you have a persistent problem of bloating of abdomen even after following the diet for 2-3 days, a persistent abdominal pain, or if, with flatulence, you are losing weight.


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