Flatulence: Symptoms and Treatment
Meteorism — the development of such a state is based on the accumulation of a large number of gases in the digestive tract. Often this occurs against the background of their excessive formation or inadequate excretion from the body. To cause the development of such a disorder can a wide range of predisposing factors, which in almost all cases are associated with the occurrence of gastroenterological problems. Nevertheless, there is a category of sources that has nothing to do with the presence of this or that disease.
Elevated flatulence will be accompanied by signs of the disease that caused it. Most often such symptoms are pain in the stomach, the appearance of a characteristic rumbling in the intestine and an increase in the size of the stomach.
In order to find out the source of this manifestation, the patient will need to undergo a wide range of instrumental procedures that are complemented by laboratory studies and primary diagnostic measures.
The tactics of how to treat flatulence directly depends on the etiologic factor, but in the vast majority of cases, rather conservative therapies.
In the international classification of diseases such a disorder has its own meaning. The ICD-10 code is R14.
Normally, in the intestine of a healthy adult, there are 200 to 900 milliliters of gas. A day is allocated up to about 500 milliliters, and the most frequent places of congestion are the bottom of the stomach and the intestines.
Meteorism is said in cases where there is an excessive accumulation of gases, while in the loops of this organ, its volumes can reach three liters. In such situations, the number of episodes of its excretion through the rectum can reach thirty or more times, while in the norm this should occur no more than twenty times.
A large number of provoking factors can cause a strong flatulence, which makes them divided into pathological and physiological factors.
The first category of causes is represented by typical diseases, in which an expression of this sign is observed. To them it is necessary to carry:
- pathological effects of helminths, protozoa and parasites
- intestinal obstruction
- pathology of the digestive system — most often meteorism occurs with gastritis of any nature, duodenitis, pancreatitis, colitis, enterocolitis and cholelithiasis
- neuroses and psychoemotional loads
- intestinal dysbacteriosis
- the course of intestinal infections in acute form
- development of postcholecystectomy syndrome — a similar condition develops after a patient’s gallbladder removal surgery
- chronic constipation;
- inadequate production of pancreatic hormones
- lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance
- the formation of tumors or adhesions in the rectum. It also should be attributed increased release of gases in hemorrhoids, because against the background of such a disease there are neoplasms in the form of external or internal hemorrhoids,
- irritable bowel syndrome
- Oncological lesions of PDC or other gastrointestinal organs
- liver cirrhosis of alcoholic nature;
- inflammation of the lungs in children
- Stenosis or intestinal tuberculosis
- inflammatory process in the peritoneum.
The physiological causes of meteorism are:
- swallowing large amounts of air while eating food
- irrational nutrition, in which the basis of the human menu is hard-to-digest carbohydrates
- uncontrolled use of drugs, overdose which leads to the occurrence of such a disorder. Most often this occurs against the background of abuse of antibacterial substances
- the habit of drinking food with carbonated drinks, not only sweet, but also kvass, beer and champagne
Very often there is an expression of such a sign after eating, which is caused by consumption of the following ingredients in food:
- mushrooms and any varieties of cabbage
- onions, garlic and artichokes
- radish, turnip and radish
- fatty milk and fermented milk products
- Pears and grapes, apples and peaches
- fresh pastries and pastries
- wholemeal products;
- ice cream and hard cheese
- porridge, except rice.
Here, too, include all foods enriched with fiber and starch, as they contribute to the development of fermentation in the intestine.
Separately it is worth noting about the causes of flatulence in the intestine in women — any hormonal disorders lead to increased gas formation and bloating, for example, very often develop a similar condition during menopause or during childbearing. Moreover, flatulence in pregnant women is observed both in the early and late periods of intrauterine development of the fetus.
Absolutely innocuous phenomenon is the appearance of such a sign in infants — in such cases, its occurrence is associated with imperfection of the children’s digestive system. However, it should be noted that this applies only to situations where there are no additional clinical signs.
Meteorism in older children is formed against the background of the above reasons or addiction to bad habits, namely smoking a cigarette.
Against the background of the fact that in the vast majority of cases, flatulence of the intestine is pathological in nature, it is natural that it will not make a complete picture of the course of a disease.
The main additional symptoms are considered to be:
- Stretching and feeling of heaviness in the abdomen
- the appearance of a characteristic rumbling
- gas colic, which is a paroxysmal pain having a type of fights;
- nausea, supplemented by frequent vomiting — only in some cases, vomiting brings relief. If there is a serious course of any gastroenterological disease in the vomit, pathological impurities may be present;
- decreased appetite or total aversion to food, especially to fatty foods or dairy products
- belching and heartburn;
- abdominal or intestinal swelling
- heart rate disorder
- sleep disorder;
- headaches and dizziness;
- irritability and frequent mood changes;
- muscle weakness;
- general malaise and decreased performance
- shortness of breath, not only during physical exertion, but also at rest
- disorder of defecation, which can be expressed in abundant diarrhea or constipation, and in the alternation of such symptoms
- increase in body temperature;
- itching and burning in the anus;
- the acquisition of a forced position of the body, often knee-elbow, to reduce the intensity of certain symptoms
Patients should take into account that the above symptomatology, supplementing pronounced flatulence, is the most common, which does not exclude the possibility of the presence of other clinical signs.
In case of occurrence of one or more of the above symptoms, it is necessary to consult a gastroenterologist. It is this specialist who will be able not only to find out the cause, but also to determine how to get rid of flatulence in this or that patient.
Diagnosis is based on an integrated approach and includes:
- studying the patient’s medical history;
- analysis of a person’s life history — along with previous manipulation, in some cases it will allow to establish the most characteristic etiologic factor, whether chronic gastrointestinal disease or intolerance of a product, which causes flatulence after eating
- A thorough physical examination, which, first of all, is aimed at palpation and percussion of the anterior wall of the abdominal cavity. In addition, it includes measurement of temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Sometimes, a digital examination of the rectum may be necessary;
- a detailed interview of the patient — to find out what signs complement the clinical picture of flatulence
- general clinical and biochemical blood analysis — to search for the characteristic features inherent in the course of an inflammatory, infectious or other pathological process
- general urine analysis and microscopic examination of stools
- Radiography with or without contrast medium
- gastroscopy and colonoscopy
- sigmoidoscopy and ultrasound
- duodenal sounding
- biopsy — if there is a suspicion of oncology
- CT and MRI.
After all the diagnostic activities have been carried out and their results have been studied, the gastroenterologist either directs the patient to a survey for other specialists from the narrower fields of medicine, or begins to eliminate such a disorder in a child or adult.
The causes and treatment of flatulence in adults or patients of other age categories are two factors that directly depend on each other.
If such a manifestation was caused by the course of a disease, then the therapy will be of an individual nature, and may include both conservative and surgical techniques.
In cases of flatulence after eating or against a background of an overdose of medicines, specific treatment is not required. It is enough only to observe the rules of nutrition prescribed by the attending physician, and also completely abandon this or that drug.
Symptomatic therapy, aimed only at eliminating this symptom, can be carried out with the help of:
- Medicines other than those that caused such a sign;
- folk remedies.
The most effective drugs for flatulence are:
- defoamers — Espumizan, Antiflat Lannacher, Disflatil and Bobotik
- Enterosorbents — white or black activated carbon, Polyphepanum, Smecta, Neosmectin, Entegnin and Diosmectit
- spasmolytics — «No-Shpa», «Spazmol», «Buskopan», «Spazmonet», etc.
- Combined substances — Pankreoflat, Meteopazmil and Pepfiz.
Treatment of meteorism by folk remedies involves the use of:
- ginger and mint
- valerian and fennel
- Dill water
- carrot seeds
- Melissa and garlic;
- Wormwood and cumin.
It is worth noting that the treatment of meteorism in pregnancy and in children is carried out under the strict supervision of the attending physician, since not all medications and non-traditional therapies are allowed to be used for patients of such categories.
To prevent the appearance of increased gas formation and bloating in men and women, the following simple rules should be adhered to:
- completely abandon bad habits;
- Minimize consumption of foods that contribute to flatulence
- accept only those medicines that the clinician has prescribed;
- timely treatment of diseases in the clinical picture of which there is a similar manifestation and prevent their chronicling
- Regularly undergo a full medical examination.
In itself, constant flatulence is not a threat to human life. However, often getting rid of it, subsequent treatment of the underlying cause does not occur, which is fraught with the development of complications.