Flatulence is the production of a digestive gas, often expelled out of the digestive tract through the mouth or anus. Flatulence comes from the Latin "flatus" which means "blowing".

Flatulence is the result of the fermentation of decomposed matter; Including non-odorous gases: methane (flammable gas produced by bacteria), carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and sulphurous odorous gases. Gases are all the more present as food decomposes. The poor absorption of certain carbohydrates (lactose, fructose ...) can also cause flatulence.

More rarely, giardiasis, a benign parasitosis of the intestine, is the cause of flatulence. On average, one person releases 0.5 to 1.5 liters of gas per day on 12 to 25 occasions.

In the case of flatulence it is about eructations (rot) with often sensation of gravity of the stomach, poor digestion. Most often it is a tic eructation: swallowing of air followed by a belching that relieves. Moreover, the painful threshold of these patients is often lowered: there is an abnormal sensitivity to a normal quantity of gas. Becoming aware of the mechanisms of this disorder can suppress it.

Sometimes it is a real excess of gas: to the air swallowed with each swallowing (2 to 4 liters per day), can be added the deglutitions due to the chewing gum, the sweets and the gases of the drinks.


The volume of gas varies greatly depending on the individual and the diet (200 to 4200 ml/day). Most often it is actually an irritable colon with an abnormal sensitivity to a normal amount of gas as shown by several studies. All foods go through bacterial fermentation, but some cause more gas than others especially those that contain sugar (natural or artificial), carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition, dairy products consumed in large quantities over a short period (two or three glasses of milk at lunch, for example), will produce more gas.

Related Topic: Fermentation

In humans, the intestine is divided into two parts:

  1. The small intestine, where the most active part of digestion occurs and most nutrients are absorbed.
  2. The large intestine, where the reabsorption of water and fecal production. The large intestine terminates in the anal orifice.

The action of certain bacteria or undigested carbohydrates leads to a fermentation in the intestine of man. Gases such as hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide can then form in sufficient quantity to cause bloating and pain.

The presence of gas in the digestive system (esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine) comes from two sources:

  • Air intake
  • Food decomposition by enzymes and bacteria in the stomach and intestines.

The volume of intestinal gas varies greatly from person to person. An adult can produce 2 to 20 liters of gas per day for an average of 14 to 20 episodes of pets per day, however some individuals will experience up to 140 episodes per day.

Most often the gases are odorless and consist of carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen and sometimes methane. Odorous gases (less than 1% of the gases removed) originate from bacteria in the large intestine that produce gas containing sulfur.

Abundant gas production is often caused by poor absorption of carbohydrates (lactose from milk, fructose from certain fruits), complex sugars (cabbage raffinose, asparagus and other vegetables), starches (potatoes, corn, wheat and Cereals) and fiber (beans, peas, cereal bran). Moreover, certain foods produce gas in some people and not in others, this depends on the presence in the colon of bacteria that assimilate the hydrogen produced by other bacteria. From the balance between these two varieties of bacteria depends the amount of gas produced.

In addition to a large amount of gas in the intestines, the sensation of bloating accompanied by pain may be due to an irritable colon or more severe intestinal problems, in which case advice should be obtained from A competent medical staff. The same applies to cases of aerophagia.





Bloating may have numerous causes. Swallowing too much air, drinking too much at mealtime or making bad food combinations may all contribute to bloating. Not only is it important to chew properly in order to stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes, but it is equally important to take a reasonable time to eat.

Here are some small tips to reduce the chances of developing bloating:

  • Minimize sugar and fat-rich foods, which have a tendency to ferment in the colon.
  • Respect a logical order with the foods you eat. (Eat candies and treats between meals. Eat raw vegetables at the beginning of the meal since they are digested faster than proteins. This will avoid having foods in queue for digestion in the bowel).
  • Make sure you do not have a food intolerance, which could aggravate bloating.
  • Generously use seasoning herbs and spices such as basil, thyme, sage, mint and fennel. They tend to stimulate digestion and reduce bloating.
  • Avoid fermentation-prone foods: carbohydrates (pastas, cereals, bread, etc), raw vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, etc) and legumes. Preferably cook them with thyme, basil or fennel. If you are eating them from caned food, rinse them thoroughly twice.
  • Avoid sodas that only add up gas in the digestive tract.
  • Avoid eating rapidly. This involves more air to be swallowed, which in turn aggravates bloating.

Stress management

Eating in a calm, relax environment favours a better digestion.

Taking meals on the go does not allow the digestive system to prepare itself and generate the optimal digestive process.


Avoid over-drinking at mealtimes. Water should be the main ingested fluid in the day and should ideally be taken between meals.

Basic advice

The simplest way to avoid bloating is to keep a diary of what is eaten everyday day and the moment when bloating appears. This will help identify the foods that are responsible for the bloating and avoid them whenever possible in the future. It is still the best way to control bloating problems.

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