Digestive DIsease

Gas Problem – Is not really a problem!!!

cancer gastrico en - 1Veda Ayurveda

Gas problem or fart is one of the commonest problems that every individual face at least once in his lifetime. Often patients come with different presentations of this same problem such as feeling of fullness of abdomen, hyperacidity, tightness of chest and many more.  The main suffering of this condition is not the discomfort the patient feels rather it is the social low esteem one has to feel because of the absurd presentations of gas in abdomen when they appear in public like forceful noisy eructation, sounds heard from the abdomen and foul-smelling flatus with or without sound.

Physiologically, about 3-4 liters of CO2 is produced in the alimentary tract daily as a result of interaction of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and the alkaline secretions of the intestines, this gas produced is completely absorbed by the body. Minimal quantity of unabsorbed gas in the gastrointestinal tract passes freely and hence does not produce any symptoms. When this unabsorbed gas increase in quantity, it leads to various symptoms based on the location of the gas accumulated. They include – excessive belching, passing of flatus though anus and feeling of fullness & distension in the abdomen. This symptom complex can be collectively grouped under flatulence. 

What are the causes of flatulence or Fart (in common words)?

Flatulence can be caused due to simple indigestion and it also can be a feature of severe GI tract disease. Hence understanding the causes of this condition is very important. Its various causes can be grouped under the following headings:

  • Causes related to food: Faulty dietary habits like:
    • Eating rapidly
    • Excessive use of carbonated drinks
    • Excess consumption of oily, fried, spicy food.
    • Consumption of spoiled food.
    • Excess consumption of inadequately cooked starch or cellulose fibre gives rise to the production of high amount of carbon dioxide and methane.
      Eg: Cabbage, cauli flower, beans, potatoes, onions, raw fruits etc.
      (Cellulose is not digested by human digestive system, but it is an ideal target for bacterial flora in the intestines)
    • Malabsorption – condition called Steatorrhoea where digested food is not absorbed, provides a suitable ground for bacterial fermentation causing flatulence.
  • Causes related to improper habits: 
    • Excessive use of chewing gums, candies, smoking, tobacco, betel nuts, betel leaves etc
    • To induce belching to feel light after a heavy meal.
  • Causes related to mental condition of the patient: 
    • Nervous disturbances – In tensions, anxiety, fright, grief etc
  • Various diseases acting as the cause of flatulence: 
    • Hypersalivation – seen in diseases like Hyperacidity, Gastric and Duodenal ulcer.
    • Habitually induced – in peptic ulcer, Gall bladder disease, Hiatus hernia, Angina pectoris and sometimes purely as a habit without any obvious cause.
  • Abnormal metabolism and excess fermentation in the GI tract:
    Fermentation is a normal physiological process that occurs in the intestines. When this fermentation exceeds the limit because of Indigestion, faulty diets etc it results in flatulence. Abnormal fermentation can occur due to one or more of the following causes:
    Stasis of food in GI tract –

    • Retention of food in stomach after surgeries like vagotomy leads to the formation of methane and hydrogen sulphide gas which give foul smelling nature of the flatulence.
    • Sluggish peristaltic bowel movements provide more time for the bacterial flora in the intestines to act on the food particles and produce gas.
  • Mechanical obstruction in the GI tract:
    Any mechanical obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract induces flatulence by interfering with normal movements of the food and by causing abnormal fermentation. Intestinal obstruction contributes to about 70% in the formation of gas in the GI tract.

View of Ayurveda:

The condition is mainly caused due to impairment of agni i.e Digestive function due to casuses mentioned above. In this condition the along with agni, one more element affected is vāta, which results in various above-mentioned symptoms. It occurs as a result of disturbance in the normal movement of vata. So, all factors that causes disturbance in the agni and disturbs normal movement of the vāta will cause flatulence.

Measures to avoid flatulence:

  1. Intake of Ushṇa jala – warm water:

    Warm water refers to Sukhoshṇa jala i.e that which can be consumed comfortably without burning oneself or in other words is should be Luke warm.

    Consuming ushṇa jala helps in relieving flatulence by:

    • Improving digestion 
    • Avoiding fermentation of food consumed
    • Improving peristaltic movement of the gastro intestinal tract and preventing food stasis.
    • Correcting the disturbed gati or movement of vata i.e it promotes anuloma gati of vata.   
  1. Triphala – Combination of 3 fruits.
    Triphala comprises of Āmalaki (Emblica officinalis/Phyllanthus emblica), 

                                    Vibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) and     

                                    Haritaki (Terminalia chebula).
Triphala - 1Veda Ayurveda
They can be consumed in the form of Churna(powder) or Tablet or Capsule with warm water as the adjuvant. Ghee and Honey are also potent adjuvants in relieving symptoms of GI tract.

Uses: 

    • Relieves Constipation
    • Prevents excess fermentation in GI tract.
  1. Practicing proper food habits:
    • Eat healthy and Balanced diet
    • Have food slowly 
    • Chew food properly before swallowing
    • Drink plenty of water, preferably warm water to facilitate digestion.
  1. Correcting faulty food habits: (foods to avoid)
    • Avoid eating fried, packed, canned and dehydrated foods.
    • Consuming food only after digestion of previous meal and eating only on feeling hunger.
    • Consuming excess water in between the meals.
    • Preventing excess fluid intake. Drink only on feeling thirst because drinking plenty of water doesn’t make you healthy.
    • Avoid consuming carbonated drinks.
  1. Practicing Yoga

Following asanas(postures) helps in relieving the problem of flatulence by:

    • Aiding digestion
    • Promotes normal movement of disturbed vāta.
    • Also prevents anxiety, stress and tension due to health issue through asana performed with controlled and rhythmic breathing pattern. 
    • Following Yoga postures can be practiced regularly to avoid flatulence.

NOTE: Flatulence can also appear as an early symptom of various serious disease. Hence, it is always advisable to consult a physician if symptom does not subside in 3-4 days, and also it is better to consult a doctor 

A Healthy gut is a sign of a healthy individual. So, one must keep in mind the above-mentioned points to stay healthy and keep his gut healthy. Prevention is always better than cure and Flatulence is one such condition where it can be relieved with minor dietary changes and life style changes. Ayurvedic herbs along with practice of yoga and mudra gives complete relief in these conditions. Common Q & A regarding Flatulence / Fart

Q = Is farting a healthy sign?

A = Farting is a normal physiological process in which body tries to expel out the small amount of gas produced during digestion process. It can be considered normal if it not associated or caused by a serious medical condition of the GI tract.

 

Q = Does bad smelling fart indicate a serious health condition?

A = Bad smell in the fart can be caused by the excess fermentation of food in the intestines due to retention of food particles for a period longer than the normal. It can be caused by simple indigestion or it can also be because of serious diseases like intestinal obstruction, Malabsorption syndrome etc. So, always consult a doctor if symptoms are persisting for a longer duration.

 

Q = I’ve heard people saying Loud fart is healthy and silent fart is unhealthy…is it so?

A = The sound of the fart depends on how fast the gas is expelled by the combined action of intestinal peristaltic movements and anal muscle action. The sound does not give an idea of the nature and severity of the condition.

 

Q = When should one consult a doctor for his/her problem of flatulence?

A = If the condition is long standing i.e which is troubling the person for a considerably longer duration and if it is also associated with symptoms like indigestion, lack of appetite, severe bloating of the abdomen, Constipation etc it is wise to consult a doctor and take an expert opinion.

 

Q = Is withholding the urge to fart or pass flatus healthy?

A = No, one should never withhold any natural urge that manifests on its own. The same has been explained in ayurveda as “na vegan dhārayet” i.e natural urges should not be withheld forcefully as it can result in various diseases.

 

YOGA and MUDRA for Problems of Gastro-intestinal tract.

  • Pavana muktāsana (Name itself means to get rid of gas)
    Pavana muktasana - 1Veda Ayurveda
  • Padmāsana
    Padmasana - 1Veda Ayurveda
     
  • Vajrāsana

     

  • Dhanurāsana
    Dhanurasana - 1Veda Ayurveda
  • Vakrāsana
    Vakrasana - 1Veda Ayurveda

 

Mudra therapy.

Meditation along with practice of specific mudra helps in balancing the disturbed vayu and relives flatulence.

Some of the mudras that can be practiced are:

  • Apāna Vāyu Mudra
  • Udāna Vāyu Mudra
    Udana Vayu - 1Veda Ayurveda
  • Samāna Vāyu Mudra
    Samana Vayu - 1Veda Ayurveda
  • Vāyu Mudra
    Vayu Mudra - 1Veda Ayurveda