Meet Dr. Donnica Video Introduction TV Appearances

Diseases & Conditions Today on DrDonnica.com Clinical Trials Decisionnaires FAQs Top Tips Fast Facts Debunking Myths News Alerts Celebrity Speak Out Guest Experts Women's Health Champions Books Women's Health Resources

Mission Privacy Policy Sponsors Press Room What's New? Contact Us

This website is accredited by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.


Hope Award

Send to a Friend

Uncontrollable Flatulence

Q: My problem is so embarrassing I'm almost afraid to admit it. I have uncontrollable flatulence. I've tried everything I can think of to make it go away, including OTC and herbal remedies and cutting gassy foods like beans out of my diet. Other than that, my diet and daily routine haven't changed a bit. What's going on and how can I stop it?

Dr. Donnica:
Flatulence, or passing gas, is normal but uncontrollable flatulence isn't. Embarrassing as this may be, the first thing that you need to do is discuss this condition with your healthcare provider. Uncontrollable flatulence can be caused by numerous medical conditions including colitis; celiac disease; Crohn's disease; diabetes; Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); inflammatory bowel disease; AIDS/HIV; malabsorptive syndromes; pancreatitis; lactose intolerance; and numerous medications including some antiviral medications, antibiotics, and cholesterol lowering medications; and even protein supplements. The good news is that most of these conditions are treatable.

The unpleasant odor of flatulence comes from bacteria in the large intestine that release small amounts of gases that contain hydrogen sulfide and methane. Contrary to popular belief, women pass gas as frequently as men, and older people have no more gas than younger adults. Most gas is produced when bacteria in your colon (large intestine) ferment carbohydrates that weren't digested completely in your small intestine. Your body does not digest and absorb some carbohydrates (the sugar, starches, and fiber found in many foods) in the small intestine because of a shortage or absence of certain enzymes. Certain foods produce more gas than others because they contain more indigestible carbohydrates than others. Beans are a classic example of gas producers. Other high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes may also increase flatulence. Sugars are known to create gas. Fructose is naturally present in onions, artichokes, pears, and wheat. It is also used as a sweetener in some soft drinks and fruit drinks. Sorbitol is a sugar found naturally in fruits, including apples, pears, peaches, and prunes. It is also used as an artificial sweetener in many dietetic foods and sugar free candies and gums.

By contrast, fats and proteins cause very little gas. As long as you don't have one of the medical problems listed above, trying a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet such as the Atkins Diet may help reduce your flatulence. If this doesn't work, a product called the Flatulence Deodorizer (www.flatd.com) may help you reduce any related odor problems.

Created: 12/27/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

All the content contained herein is copyrighted pursuant to federal law. Duplication or use without
the express written permission of DrDonnica.com subjects the violator to both civil & criminal penalties.
Copyright © 2006 DrDonnica.com. All rights reserved.

Home | Today on DrDonnica.com | Meet Dr. Donnica | TV Appearances | Clinical Trials
Diseases & Conditions | Decisionnaires | Celebrity Speak Out | Guest Experts | Women's Health Champions
FAQs | Women’s Health Resources | Archive | Books & Tapes | Site Certification | Advanced Search
Mission | What’s New? | Press Room | Privacy Policy | Sponsors | Partners | Contact Us