Global Health Asia-Pacific July 2022 | Page 24

Holistic Health

Should I be worried about passing wind ?

It could be a sign of good health unless you feel pain or discomfort

If you ’ re one of those who would fiercely deny ever letting one out because of embarrassment , you should know that having gas is a normal byproduct of food digestion , and most people do it several times a day .

But “ if you have an amount of gas that makes you uncomfortable , you should consult your local �� �gastrointestinal� physician for evaluation and recommendations ,” said Dr Christine Lee , a gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic , on its website .
Gas builds up in the digestive system because we swallow air while eating , drinking , or laughing . Certain foods can also contribute to gas accumulation , including high�fibre foods , like whole�wheat pasta , barley , chickpeas , edamame , lentils , and almonds . Finally , slow digestive movements lead excess gas to collect , explaining why older people , whose metabolism slows down , produce more gas than when they were younger .
In some cases , gas collection in the digestive system can cause abdominal discomfort . But there are ways to mitigate the problem of excessive gas .
Exercise is one good option as it helps get rid of gas from the intestinal tract . In particular , abdominalstrengthening gets the digestive tract moving , and you should aim for at least a 30 minute session three to four times a week , advised Dr Lee .
Reducing the intake of vegetables like cabbage , cauliflower , broccoli , �russels sprouts , and asparagus can also provide relief , but that ’ s a double-edged sword as these foods are generally healthy and shouldn ’ t be avoided completely .
If you ’ re lactose intolerant you should avoid dairy products as they can disrupt digestion , or you could take a supplement to help you digest foods containing lactose .
�ethods to fi� constipation , including e�ercise and good hydration , are also helpful since having bowel movements reduces the amount of bacteria that produces gas .
People who take medications including narcotics , decongestants , allergy medications , and blood pressure drugs should check with their doctors whether these might be responsible for excess gas as they could slow bowel processes .
Carbonated drinks and fermented foods should also be avoided because they either increase the amount of gas in the intestine or feed the bacteria that produce it .
In some cases , excess gas build-up could be made worse by a condition called sleep apnoea , in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during the night . “ People with sleep apnoea are mostly mouth-breathers , and they swallow a lot of air when they ’ re snoring during their sleep ,” explained Dr Lee . “ So , they wake up with gas pain because they ’ ve been swallowing air all night .”
If you feel this is your case , you should talk to a doctor .
Barring any health problems or discomfort related to excess gas , repeated farting may actually be a sign of good health .
One study found that men who eat plant-based diets fart more often than people who consume fewer fruits and vegetables as these foods promote healthy gut bacteria that in turn produce gas by fermenting plant fibres .
“ Our Western idea that farting is a sign of something being wrong is totally false ,” Rosemary Stanton , a Visiting Fellow at the School of Medical Sciences of UNSW in Australia , told NewScientist . In most cases , “ farting is a sign of a healthy diet and a healthy colon .”
Methods to fix constipation , including exercise and good hydration , are also helpful since having bowel movements reduces the amount of bacteria that produces gas .
22 JULY 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com