Flatulence, known as passing wind, is normal and is usually nothing to worry about. Everyone passes wind, some people more than others, the average being 5 to 15 times a day.
Flatulence can be caused when you swallow air or eat foods that are difficult to digest. It also occur as a result of health conditions or medications.
Health conditions linked to flatulence are:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Coeliac disease
- Lactose intolerance
Medications for which flatulence can be a side effect are:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), like ibuprofen
- Some laxatives
- Antifungal medicines
- Statins used to treat high cholesterol
Flatulence can be treated at home with simple changes to diet and lifestyle such as:
- Eating smaller meals, more often
- Drinking or chewing food slowly
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Drinking peppermint tea
- Avoiding chewing gum, smoking, or sucking pen tops or hard sweets to avoid swallowing air
- Avoiding wearing loose-fitting dentures
- Avoiding eating foods that are difficult to digest
Treatments are also available from the pharmacy that can help with flatulence. These include peppermint capsules (Colpermin), charcoal tables or preparations containing simethicone (Windeze).