Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Facts on farting and burping

29 August 2013, 17:11

Burping and farting. Babies love to do it; most kids think it’s hilarious. But for adults, gas is no joke. Nevertheless, “gas is a normal function, and everybody has it,” says Dr. M. Michael Wolfe, a gastroenterologist and a professor at Case Western Reserve University and chair of the department of medicine at Metrohealth Medical Center. Fortunately, if you’ve got gas, there are real steps you can take to prevent and treat it.

Intestinal gas has two causes:

1. Swallowing too much air. This can happen if you’re nervous, or if you eat or drink too fast. Also, people with chronic heartburn or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) may swallow repeatedly in response to irritation in the oesophagus caused by acid reflux. This, in turn, can lead to excess air.
2. Eating certain carbohydrates. Some carbohydrates can’t be fully digested by your body. “In that case, bacteria in the gut break down the food, producing gas, which eventually exits the body from above or below,” explains Wolfe.

Whether gas makes you physically uncomfortable (with bloating or cramping) or merely embarrassed, simple lifestyle changes can help minimise it:

Don’t gobble or guzzle

“You take in less air when you eat and drink slowly, and refrain from talking while doing so,” says Wolfe. “I advise my patients to put down the fork or spoon in between bites and then chew and swallow.”

Identify your problem foods

Not all gassy foods affect all people, and since some of the gassiest foods are also the healthiest, you don’t want to eliminate them unless you have to. To help pinpoint your personal triggers, record everything you eat for a few days, keeping track of when gas occurs and whether the problem goes away if you stop eating a suspect food. Common culprits to watch out for include:

Legumes (beans, lentils)
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)
Milk (cheese, ice cream and other milk products)
Sorbitol and other sugar alcohols
Carbonated beverages

Try a digestive enzyme

If beans and other gassy plant foods are a problem, try a digestive supplement that contains alpha-galactosidase. This natural enzyme “helps your body break down the fibrous structure, which makes certain plant foods difficult to digest,” explains Wolfe.

Be wary of dairy

When we’re babies, our bodies produce plenty of lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose. But after we’re weaned, our bodies produce less and less lactase - and our ability to digest lactose is diminished or even lost. “In that case, bacteria in your intestine do it for you, producing excess gas in the process," explains Wolfe.

To figure out if lactose is a problem for you, try eliminating all dairy for a week. If gas goes away, then see if you can tolerate dairy in smaller doses. If not, switch to lactose-free products or take lactase enzyme supplements, which can help you break down lactose with less or no discomfort.

Get the gas out

For a quick fix, Wolfe often recommends over-the-counter products containing simethicone, which works by breaking up gas bubbles so they’re easier to pass. To reduce the odour associated with gas, a dose of bismuth subsalicylate may help.

Try peppermint or fennel

Sipping peppermint tea or chewing fennel seeds can help decrease bloating after large meals. However, peppermint can also trigger heartburn in some people, so avoid it if acid reflux is a problem for you.

Keep your cool

Tension and anxiety can cause you to swallow air, and some people gulp air as a nervous habit. If you’re feeling stressed, stop and take a few slow, calming breaths.

See your doctor

If all else fails, consult your doctor to rule out gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn or GERD, which can sometimes make gas especially problematic - and vice versa.

“Causes of excess gas, the level of discomfort, and remedies can be different for everyone,” says Wolfe. “Identifying your triggers and finding a solution really can help.”

- Health24


Sex talk

27 October 2016, 10:03

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Man who attacked US Embassy a 24 ...

A man who attacked the US Embassy in Nairobi was a 24 year old from Wajir County. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
US Embassy to remain closed Frida...

The US Embassy in Nairobi will remain closed Friday following a terror attack on it Thursday. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Leave ODM if you are unhappy, Rai...

Leave ODM if you are not happy, Raila Odinga tells Senator. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Former Assistant Minister joins J...

A former Assistant Minister has quit PNU and joined the Jubilee Party. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
DP Ruto intervenes as Kerio Valle...

DP William Ruto will visit Kerio Valley to try solve never-ending clashes between local residents. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM MP chased down by angry Kibra...

Kibra MP Ken Okoth had a hard time in his constituency after angry youth pelted him with stones. Read more...