What Is Chronic Flatulence?

Lactose intolerance is a condition in which the body is unable to digest lactose, or milk sugar.
Beans often cause flatulence.
Eating dairy products with a lactose intolerance can cause chronic flatulence.
Excessive amounts of swallowed air often lead to painful bloating and gas.
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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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Chronic flatulence is a condition where flatulence is extremely persistent or constantly recurrent. There are many different possible causes for this condition, and it can sometimes be hard to isolate the cause of a particular case. Some of the most common causes include various dietary intolerances and gastrointestinal disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Sometimes, it can also be a behavioral issue involving the way individuals eat food, and many people who think they have chronic flatulence are actually overestimating the extent of their problem.

In some cases, chronic flatulence can be persistent enough to bother someone for years, or it can only linger for a few weeks or months. The length of time that a person has to deal with the disorder will generally depend on the cause. Even though it can be embarrassing, flatulence is not actually dangerous, but sometimes the underlying cause can be fairly serious.

The most common cause of repeated flatulence is an intolerance for some particular food or ingredient. Lactose intolerance is one of the more frequent examples, but other ingredients can have a similar effect on some people. Sometimes the food item causing the intolerance issue can be something very unlikely, like corn, and some people have major allergies to food components like fructose. For most people, the best way to deal with this kind of flatulence is to remove the offending food from the diet.

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Another major cause of chronic flatulence is IBS, which causes the muscles of the large intestine to contract inappropriately. For some people, these muscles may contract with more force, or they may stay contracted too long. IBS can cause a wide range of digestive-related symptoms, and sometimes it can be quite painful. The syndrome can cause excess gas, and this often leads to flatulence.

Some people suffer from excessive flatulence simply because they may open their mouths too wide when they eat, allowing too much air to enter. That air is trapped in the digestive system and builds up. Eventually, it has to escape, and it will either come out through flatulence or burping.

In certain cases, people may think they have chronic flatulence, but it may actually be a relatively normal amount of flatulence. A totally normal body will produce about a quart of gas every day, and that gas has to go somewhere. In general, everybody has flatulence on a daily basis, and flatulence is not necessarily a sign that a person has any problem at all.

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lluviaporos
Post 3

@pleonasm - That's good to know. One of my medications causes excessive flatulence which I'm finding really irritating. It's not painful, just embarrassing. I have discovered, though that if I go for a run that tends to clear me out for a while, I guess because the vibrations help or something.

I'm also trying not to eat many foods that are supposed to cause flatulence. Apparently it's got a lot to do with how much sulfur is in the foods you eat.

pleonasm
Post 2

@indigomoth - Generally, the rule is that if the pain is on your right side, it could be the appendix, and if it's on your left side, it's probably just flatulence problems. Appendicitis often starts with pain in other areas, though, so don't hesitate to go to the doctor anyway if the pain is really severe.

If it's appendicitis it will eventually move to the right side of your stomach, right below your belly button and you'll probably show other symptoms too, like fever and vomiting.

One of the things we used to do if someone was suffering from stomach pains from trapped gas was put them on their back and push their knees against their stomach. You really need someone else to do it in order for it to work, but of course, they are on the business end of the gas when they're doing it, so they'd better be a really good friend or family member!

indigomoth
Post 1

People think of this as funny and I'm not saying it isn't funny, but chronic flatulence can also be really painful. I lived in a developing country for a few years and one of the stables of the diet was beans so, all jokes aside, we all had more flatulence than usual until we got used to it.

I remember someone coming to visit one of my friends for a few weeks and she wasn't used to it and the diet hit her hard. At one point she doubled over and was in so much pain we had to hire a car to get her to the hospital in the main city, because everyone was convinced she had appendicitis. It turned out to be excess flatulence, stuck in her stomach which just caused a lot of pain.

I guess it is comforting though to know that if you are having stomach pains that it might not be anything serious. It might just be that you need to modify your diet, although if it happened too often, I would go to the doctor just in case.

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