Meteorism and flatulence

Meteorism or bloating is an excessive accumulation of gas in the intestine, while flatulence means increased gas development by bacteria and yeast in the intestine.

In flatulence, the gases do not accumulate in the intestine, but go off as foul-smelling flatulence. Aerophagia refers to the unconscious swallowing of air.

If the bloating is not caused by an organic blockage, the cause is probably a digestive problem or a absorption disorder of the digestive products.

Children suffer from meteorism because their intestines are not yet fully developed, and the microflora of the intestine has not yet been formed.
When the undigested food enters the lower section of the intestine, gases are formed; these gases accumulate due to delayed bowel movement, causing widening of the walls, causing pain.


Causes of meteorism

1. ingestion of air (aerophagy); Reasons for this are:

  • Neurosis (main cause)
  • Emotional stress and anxiety
  • Increased salivation, for example due to chewing gum
  • Irregular eating habits
  • Hasty eating and drinking

2. Consumption of difficult-to-absorb carbohydrates (lactose, fructose)

  • Artificial nutrition
  • Gluten intolerance (celiac disease)
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Hypofunction of the pancreas (foul-smelling intestinal gases due to volatile fatty acids)
  • Accelerated gastrointestinal passage
  • Infection with Giardia lamblia
  • Increased CO2-formation in the duodenum

3. Reduced gas absorption and hydrogen consumption of the intestinal flora:

  • Portal hypertension (for cirrhosis of the liver)
  • Right ventricular insufficiency
  • Constipation (intestinal paralysis)
  • Antibiotic treatment

4. Disorders of muscle activity in the gastrointestinal tract (peristalsis):

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (most common disorder)
  • Intestinal paralysis, gastric paralysis

The abdominal swelling that occurs in women a few days before the menstrual period is not meteorism.

Symptoms of meteorism

  • Fullness
  • The clothes seem to fit tighter
  • Bowel sounds
  • Tension and/or pain in the right or left abdominal region
  • Frequent eructations
  • Flatulence

Natural remedies (medication preferable)

The following medicinal plants can be used for treatment (further information on toxicity and contraindications can be obtained from an expert on medicinal plants):

Internal use
Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla): has a digestive, anti-inflammatory, bile flow-promoting effect, protects the liver, has an antispasmodic (spasmolytic) and flatulence (carminative) effect, the formation and accumulation of intestinal gases is restricted.
Since chamomile has the ability to protect and repair the gastric mucosa, it can be used effectively in all diseases of the digestive organs.
Chamomile promotes digestion and supports the expulsion of gases from the digestive system. Chamomile tea is prepared with a spoonful of dried chamomile flowers per cup of water. Drink a cup 2 to 3 times a day.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum): promotes digestion and prevents stomach cramps, very helpful for gastritisdiaphragmatic hernia (hiatal hernia), flatulence, etc. Basil tea is prepared with a handful of fresh leaves (about 15 g) per liter of water.
Drink a cup 3 times a day, each time after meals.

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus): has a digestive effect and is used in meteorism and flatulence to relieve gas-induced stomach cramps and colic.
Drink tarragon in the form of tea, brew 5 g of dried leaves with 250 ml of water.

Oregano or wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare): has a flatulent effect. Thymol and carvacrol are the ingredients that fight the bloating. The tea is prepared with a spoonful of oregano flowers per cup of water; Drink one cup 3 times a day, after the main meals.

Santolina: similar properties to chamomile.

Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is one of the most flatulent agents, it causes the emission of gases accumulated in the intestine, so that abdominal flatulence is avoided.
Pour half a teaspoon of dried seeds with a cup of hot water and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 2 cups a day.

Guaraná (Paullinia cupana): used to treat flatulence.

Yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea): reduces excessive gas accumulation caused by indigestion. Soak 1.5 g of gentian powder in a cup of water for 4 hours. Drink 2 cups daily.

Cloves (Eugenia caryophyllata): Add 1-3 drops of clove oil (available at the pharmacy) to a glass of hot water.

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum): in addition to its digestive effect, cilantro can be used well as a flatulent (carminative); it prevents flatulence and aerophagia. Use 1/2 tsp fennel-coriander mixture per cup of water and drink one cup of it after meals.

Pepper (Piper nigrum): is a flatulent agent, a daily dose of 5 g daily is safe.

Angelica archangelica: drink a cup of angelica tea after meals.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): promotes digestion, helps with flatulence and stimulates appetite. Fennel tea is prepared with 5 g of fennel per cup of water.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale): traditionally used to cure intestinal disorders, especially digestive problems. It seems that stimulating the pancreas increases the formation of enzymes that promote digestion and prevent the occurrence of several side effects associated with malabsorption (poor absorption) of food.

Thanks to its antibacterial effect and its tolerance to microorganisms necessary for the intestinal microflora (lactobacillus), the richness of the intestinal microflora is increased.
In this way, harmful microorganisms are eliminated, such as the bacterium Escherichia coli, which is the main cause of diarrhea and gastroenteritis.
By eliminating the harmful bacteria and microorganisms, the putrefactive process in the intestine responsible for abdominal swelling and meteorism is avoided.

In addition, the gingerol contained in ginger stimulates the activity of the intestinal muscles, which promotes bowel movements. For the preparation of ginger tea, use half a teaspoon of dried ginger root per cup of water.

Laurel (Laurus nobilis): improves secretion and promotes intestinal muscle activity, promotes digestion, strengthens the stomach and liver, prevents heartburn, relieves flatulence and intestinal cramps. Pour a cup of hot water over a few bay leaves and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis): stomach irritation can cause cramps in the intestines and stomach.
Lavender products can promote stomach health.
Lavender has been proven to be a biliary and is used as a choleretic and cholekinetic, i.e. the flow of bile from the liver and the contraction of the gallbladder are favored; thus, lavender is suitable for the treatment of digestive problems caused by lack of secretion.

Thanks to its antibacterial properties, lavender is able to inhibit the reproduction of the intestinal bacteria responsible for rotten stools; due to the rot, intestinal gases are produced, which in turn leads to bloating of the abdomen. Brew a spoonful of dried lavender flowers with a cup of water and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink a cup 3 times a day between meals.
For abdominal complaints, a cup of lavender tea directly after the main meals helps.

Lemon (Citrus x limon): helps with flatulence caused by poor digestion. Drink lemon juice diluted with water after meals.

Apple (Malus domestica): the pectin contained in apples regulates intestinal activity; it promotes the expulsion of the stool and prevents the decomposition of the waste products responsible for flatulence.
Apple cider vinegar prevents the formation of intestinal gases. Put 2 tsp apple cider vinegar and 2 tsp honey in a glass of water and drink after meals.

Melissa (Melissa officinalis): the calming and antispasmodic effect of lemon balm is not limited to the external limb, the spasms of the digestive system are also relieved and abdominal pain and flatulence are relieved. Pour a cup of hot water over a spoonful of lemon balm and leave to infuse for 15 minutes, drinking 3 cup 4 to 1 times a day between meals.

Mango (Mangifera indica): helps with nerve-related stomach problems, such as vomiting, indigestion, flatulence, chronic constipation, cramps, etc. Mango juice calms the stomach and prevents these reactions.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): has an antispasmodic effect on intestinal cramps and is used for digestive disorders because of its digestive effect.

Arable herb (Agrimonia eupatoria): thanks to the anti-inflammatory effect of tannins, flavonoids and acids, field herb can be used extremely effectively for the treatment of numerous gastrointestinal complaints.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): promotes digestion, flatulence, stimulates appetite and can be used for intestinal cramps. The tea is prepared with persilia seeds (1 tsp per cup of water).

Polei mint or flea herb (Mentha pulegium): the ingredients carvacrol, thymol and menthol support the outflow of intestinal gases.
Terpenes have an antispasmodic effect, as rosmarinic acid (phenylacrylic acid) and salicylic acid, as well as carvacrol, limonene and cineole also have antispasmodic effects.
That is why Polei mint is very effective in treating digestive abdominal pain when colic, meteorism or bloating occurs.
It also stimulates the liver cells to increase the secretion of bile and is used to promote digestion if there is a dysfunction of the liver.
However, this plant contains pulegone and isopulegon, two highly toxic active ingredients for the liver, so it should be used with caution and the recommended dose must not be exceeded.
For regular treatment, preference is given to other medicinal plants that are equally effective, but do not contain poisons. Peppermint tea, for example, can be drunk frequently.
For preparation, use 2 spoons of dried leaves or 4 spoons of fresh leaves per liter of water.
Drink two cups of it daily, do not exceed this amount.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): helps with liver diseases. Rosemary tea after meals supports digestion and prevents digestive problems, such as bloating, flatulence, heartburn, etc.

Sage (Salvia): works against indigestion, diarrhea and vomiting. Drink one cup 3 times a day (15 g of dried leaves to 1 liter of water).
Sage tea helps with heartburn, swollen abdomen and is also used for gastritis or diaphragmatic hernia (hiatal hernia).

Real thyme (Thymus vulgaris): supports digestion, prevents stomach and intestinal cramps and prevents the formation and accumulation of gases in the intestine. Thyme tea is prepared with flowers and leaves (1 tsp to a cup of water). Drink one cup of it 3 times a day, after meals.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): is an ideal sedative for the treatment of intestinal cramps. Helps patients with abdominal swelling to better endure the discomfort and sleep peacefully. Applied internally, valerian has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, so it is used to treat diverticulitis, gluten intolerance and Crohn’s disease, where it leads to relaxation of the intestinal muscles and relieves spasms. Pour 1 spoonful of dried valerian over a cup of water.

What to eat?

Flatulence-neutral diet

  • Meat, fish, poultry
  • Vegetables (excluding the varieties listed below)
  • Cereals (except bread)
  • Eggs and dark chocolate

Moderately flatulent foods

  • Honeydew melons, apples, pears, citrus fruit, pineapple
  • Bread, potatoes
  • Certain wheat products
  • Confectionery products
  • Walnuts, peanuts
  • Eggplants

Flatulent foods (to be avoided)

  • Fresh milk and dairy products
  • Certain vegetables: cabbage, cauliflower, onions, chard
  • Fruit (except the above varieties)
  • Legumes (chickpeas, lentils and beans)
  • Fatty foods
  • Water and drinks
  • Champagne and sparkling wine
  • Whipped cream, cream, mayonnaise, mixed fruit drinks.

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