Farting, Burping and Gas…Hey It’s Human (Even for Women!!)
A lot of embarrassing wind comes out of us. Usually the burps and farts are manageable, but sometimes, and let’s be honest, the human body seems to have a mind of its own. And what’s the deal with hiccups, those moments when it feels like puke comes up your throat and the incredible pain that sits just under your rib cage for no apparent reason at all? Today we get down and dirty with ‘the what is that?’ and ‘how to manage’ gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Hey, no one said it would be pretty, but we all want some answers.
Burping: There are conditions that cause excessive burping, such as gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) or gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying). These have extreme side effects of what everyone experiences on a daily basis — burping. Burping is a result of swallowing too much air, generally while eating or drinking. More air is swallowed when chewing gum, sucking candy, eating rapidly or drinking carbonated beverages. Many people swallow air as a nervous habit, when they are speaking or talking while eating. The best trick to reduce air in the upper GI tract is by slowing down. Chew food thoroughly and slowly, avoid sodas, gum and hard candies. Do not smoke and manage reflux or heart burn if diagnosed by a doctor. A cup of mint or ginger tea will help to relax the lining of the throat and reduce stress, which may also be a contributing factor.
Heartburn: Ugh, heartburn is a sharp pain that is right behind the breastbone or under the rib cage and is commonly most painful after eating a meal, bending over or lying down. It is caused by a backup of stomach acid in the esophagus and is often confused with feeling like one is having a heart attack. People experience heartburn when their esophageal sphincter is weakened and does not work properly – instead of sphincter opening to allow food and fluids into the stomach, and closing when the food has passed, the sphincter stays partly open and gastric juices seep through. Most people experience this feeling occasionally as a little throw up coming up the throat; it should resolve fairly quickly. Foods that exacerbate symptoms include: alcohol, pepper, chocolate, coffee, fried or fatty foods, foods with vinegar, mint, carbonated beverages and citrus foods. These foods should be eliminated when symptoms are present.
Farting: Farting is usually caused by gasses built up and created by undigested food fermenting in the colon. It can also be caused by swallowing air, medication use, constipation or malabsorption. Some people are gassier than others and some foods create more gas than others. The best way to get rid of flatulence is through a bowel movement. To manage posterior gas, avoid the foods that exacerbate the issue (common culprits are fatty foods, beans, peas, cabbage, lentils, bananas, dairy and wheat products). You may want to also consider a probiotic to introduce some bacteria that will help with, ummm, digestion.
Bloating: Bloating is basically the buildup of gas that cannot escape. It leads to an uncomfortable pressure in the belly and may be related to smoking, stress, eating too many fatty foods or conditions such as lactose intolerance, celiac disease, GI blockage or irritable bowel syndrome. You can reduce bloating by avoiding the foods listed in the farting paragraph, as well as chewing gum, sucking candies and carbonated beverages. One of the best remedies for bloating is exercise, which helps with, ummm, motility.
Hopefully this helps to clear the air (ha!) about what is going on, on the inside! Remember that nothing aids digestion better than hydration, so drink water slowly and steadily as you manage your burps, heartburn, farts and bloating. No one said the human condition was pretty all the time!Posted on: Apr 25, 2012