Gaseous questions - beyond wise Solomon

They can be loud or silent, smelly or odorless: one of the most divisive functions of our body is defecation. Many people do not talk about it and there are those who make jokes about it. Nevertheless, it is important to pay attention to our body in this regard as well. Dr. Tamás Bakucz, a gastroenterologist at the Duna Medical Center, helps us navigate the gassy questions.
Gaseous questions - beyond wise Solomon

Smelly facts:

  1. Everyone's gut flora is different, which is why we differ in who, what and how much we urinate. Because of this, it is possible that some people's intestinal gas does not contain methane.
  2. 99% of intestinal gases are colorless and odorless, 1% cause discomfort.
  3. Foods with a high sulfur content, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, garlic, wine, but also animal proteins can affect odors. Bodybuilders who consume a lot of protein powder may therefore produce more, more unpleasant gas than others.
  4. According to some literature, decanting can help prevent unpleasant after-effects when drinking wine.
  5. The stachyose and raffinose found in legumes are carbohydrates (oligosaccharides) that are not broken down by our digestive system, so they increase gas formation when they reach the large intestine.
  6. Sweeteners are also to blame, as they are not absorbed, but travel further in the colon and amplify unpleasant odors. Let's also think about the sweeteners in chewing gum!
  7. If we are constipated, the stool stays in the intestines for too long, so it becomes more and more smelly.
  8. Food supplements with iron or high fiber content can also cause more frequent bowel movements.
  9. Certain medications can also cause increased gas formation. e.g. pain relievers containing ibuprofen, cholesterol-lowering agents.

Why are we dating?

To understand the question, it is important to start with the basics. Belching and belching can both be related to gas content in the intestines. How does it get there? the question arises.

On the one hand, we swallow. There is no need to think about serious diseases here, even with normal eating, chewing, and smoking, there is plenty of air in the alimentary canal. In true eating disorders and some psychiatric illnesses, more air can enter the intestines. Most of the swallowed air is expelled in the form of belching, however, some may continue towards the large intestine.

The other possibility is to be found within ourselves, since gas is also formed during the digestive process. The half-digested food is further broken down and fermented by the bacteria living in the large intestine. Gas is formed as a result of chemical reactions.

Dangerous foods

We have all noticed that if we eat certain foods (e.g. cabbage, onions, dairy products, yeast, etc.), later we will pass more gas due to increased gas formation. Fewer people know, however, that the consumption of certain vegetables - especially those belonging to the cabbage family (e.g. cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage), certain meats, and even wines with a high sulfur content not only increase the daily "average" also for pungent, unpleasant smells. Even the sweeteners used by many (e.g. sorbitol, mannitol) can be problematic. You can't take in calories with them, but when they reach the large intestine undigested, the flora there ferments them, thus increasing gas formation.


So now a lot or a little?

This question has already concerned many people, and some have also conducted research in this area. In their article published in 1991, Tomlin et al. reported the following: in 10 healthy men and 10 healthy women, the amount of splenocytes was measured using a special catheter. In 24 hours, an average of 705 ml of intestinal gas left the volunteers (476 - 1491 ml), there was no difference between men and women. Gas production also took place at night, albeit in a reduced amount (16 ml/h vs 34 ml/h). During the investigation, they also looked at the composition of the evacuated gas mixture. The results showed that the constituents responsible for the characteristic smell, various sulfur-containing compounds (hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, etc.) are only present in minimal amounts, and most of the escaping gases are colorless and odorless. In 1998, Bolin et al. investigated the loitering habits of 120 (60 men - 60 women) healthy volunteers. They found that men farted slightly more often, an average of 12.7 times, while women only averaged 7.2 times (other literature reports roughly 8-20 farces per day). However, the difference is not to be found in the different anatomy of the sexes, but rather in the eating and drinking habits of men.

Too many genies in the bottle

So it all depends on the food and gut bacteria? The situation is not that simple. In any case, certain life situations tend to predispose to loitering. Just think of the air that escapes with coughing, straining - increased abdominal pressure. In fact! Even Jannus Pannonius mentioned the annoying gasses during love affairs in his epigrams about Lucia. Sneezes are also more common when the lower sphincter relaxes consciously or unconsciously, for example when we sleep. Pregnancy is a special situation, as a result of hormonal changes, the functioning of the intestine slows down, and as a result, more gas is formed due to the longer fermentation time. In addition to the above, control over the lower sphincter also decreases, so more frequent slouching is also natural. Many fear what will happen if you stay inside. Nothing. Normally, you can resist it for a while, but sooner or later it will leave anyway.

Does sound matter?

No, so the wisdom associated with Solomon has no reality. The sound depends on the tightness of the sphincters and the speed of the exploding gases. It is true that this can also be influenced by the degree of obesity or the presence of liquid next to the escaping gases.

If it's too uncomfortable...

Based on the above, it makes no sense to talk about too many - too few, quiet - loud, smelly - odorless groups. When our windstorms become troublesome, the first step is diet. " The first questions I have for my patients who come to me with the above complaint are related to their diet," revealed Dr. Bakucz. On the one hand, the food causing the complaint can be filtered out, and on the other hand, it can draw attention to certain diseases (e.g. lactose sensitivity). If a question arises regarding diet, the dieticians can help. When should you consult a specialist? If the diet or sloppiness does not help, in addition to bloating, other complaints (diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever) also occur. This is especially true if so-called "ominous" - "alarm" symptoms (e.g. vomiting, anemia, jaundice, change in bowel habits, involuntary weight loss) have also appeared, which may even indicate a more serious illness.

You can make an appointment for our gastrology appointment via our telephone customer service at +36 1 790 7070 or online!

Meet our gastroenterologists:

Dr. Tamás Bakucz

Dr. László Bálint

Dr. Péter Fuszek