By Nipun A Jacob August 2011 Passing too much gas? Solve this embarrassing problem, with these alternative but effective cures. How is it diagnosed?• Belching (burping) after meals or even on an empty stomach may be accompanied with hiccups.•The upper and lower abdomen may feel bloated even when empty.•Release of flatus from the rectum.•Gurgling sound that may move in the upper or lower abdomen.•Overall heavy feeling in the body especially on waking up, as flatus travels to the muscles and tissues.•Frequent headaches, migraine and joint stiffness.•Increase in weight, despite no change in diet or exercise.•Burning sensation in the chest.•Heart pounds more than normal.Recommended lifestyle modifications• Avoid heavy and oily food items•Dairy products and processed, bottled, pickled and baked food too should be avoided.• Avoid anxiety, stress, tobacco chewing, and excessive intake of tea and coffee.•Do not drink liquids with meals. Take them half an hour before meals or an hour later.•Avoid excessive eating of dry fruits.•Avoid drinking water immediately after eating moisture-rich food items such as peas, cauliflower, ladyfinger, pumpkin and cucumber. •Cut back on high fibre rich foods. •Food containing sorbitolor added fructose should be avoided.•Avoid sucking candies.• Avoid drinking with straws.•Avoid packed juice When Virendra Narayan Tripathi’s wife, whom he regarded as goddess Lakshmi in his life, died a few months back, it sent him spinning into depression. He fondly recalls the years of togetherness, of sharing food on a single plate, of sharing love, happiness, sorrow and the occasional quarrel with his wife. “I was left all alone,” he says gloomily. Erratic eating habits and severe stress led to the stomach disorder known as flatulence. He is presently under medical supervision at the Bapu Nature Cure Hospital in New Delhi. “Nature and our own Indian system of medicine is the best remedy. I have been able to sleep well since the last few days,” says Tripathi.What is flatulence?Flatulence is the production of abnormal amount of flatus (gas) in the gastro-intestinal tract (mouth to rectum) with distension in the stomach. It is primarily formed due to the ingestion of food such as legumes and grains that are hard to digest. They pass to the colon, giving rise to gas-forming bacteria. The digestive power of the stomach is reduced. The stomach and the intestines weaken too if left untreated.Before administering the medicines, all good homeopaths, ayurvedacharyas, naturopaths or unani haqims would like to have a detailed patient profile before prescription. “The first form of happiness is sound health. One should partake nutritious, balanced food to keep the body healthy. So it is essential to maintain the health of the mind and body simultaneously. ”– Rig Veda Patients are often asked the following questions:• Are you currently taking any medications or antibiotics ?• Do symptoms occur after eating specific foods?• Do you experience gas when you drink milk or milk products?• Have you added any new food items to your diet recently?• Have you been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or other intestinal condition?• How long have you noticed increased gas or gas pains?• How many times do you pass gas each day?Ayurvedic cureIn ayurveda, it is called adhmana or udarvata. People with vata dosha tend to have flatulence. “Wrong dietary habits and sedentary lifestyles are responsible for this disorder. One can overcome flatulence by simple changes in lifestyle,” says Dr S. P Singh from Sitamani.Treatment • Take small quantity of jaggery after meals• Chew part of small harare after meals• Take one or two chitrakadi vati after meals• Take two spoonfuls of herizyme syrup and mix with a portion of water after meals• Mix lavan bhaskar churna and hingvastak churna in equal quantity. Take half teaspoonful churna with water after meals• Crush 1 or 2 shankha vati and take after meals• If patient complains of constipation, give isabgol• Gasharan churanUnani cure Flatulence is called nafakh, apharah or naghnah in the unani system of medicine. Hakeem Ehtisham Ali from Tibbiya College, Aligarh Muslim University says, “The temperature of the stomach becomes cold, leading to poor digestion of food. It is generally seen in patients suffering from gout, sciatica and arthritis.”Treatment • Mix 2 gm gulkund with mastich • Boil 7gm fennel, 5 gm anisoon and 5 pieces of black cardamom, strain the liquid and mix with 20 gm gulkand • Mix jawarish anaaren and jawarish kamooni 3 gm each and take in the morning and at night after meals• Include chicken, mutton and turkey soup in your diet• Habbe kabid naushadari twice a day after meals• Habbe papita twice a day after meals• Mix qaranfal and kishneez in a powder form and use it after meals• Mix honey with khulanjaan (4.5gm) as it gives very good results in flatulence• Podina, aneesoon, qaranfal and mastagi roomi are very beneficial for flatulence. (These medicines can be used in powder form).• Namak-e-sulemani is also very useful for flatulence• Majoon rais chatni People who are suffering from fl atulence should not stay on an empty stomach. Severe fl atulence can lead to migraine and premature greying of hair as well. According to naturopathy, stomach is the root cause of all diseases.”Dr Rukamani Nair,Medical superintendent at Bapu Nature Cure hospital All the unani medicines mentioned are available in the market.According to Hakeem Wasim Ahmed, research officer at RRIUM, “Patients come with the complaint of retrosternal burning sensation accompanied with a sound of paper mashing, nausea and vomiting. During the treatment, we tell the patients to wear loose fitting clothes, go for a morning walk and avoid sex just after taking meals.”Homeopathic cureFlatulence is called wind, Borborygymus in homeopathy. In acute cases, it can be treated without medication with simple lifestyle changes but in chronic cases medication is required. “While gas may be uncomfortable and embarrassing, it is not life-threatening. People can find relief when they understand what causes gas and what the possible treatment options are. It may be advisable to adopt a low gas-forming diet. The suggested diet would require limited consumption of foods that are difficult to digest such as beans, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lentils, mustard greens, and turnip greens,” says Dr Rashmi Chanana, a senior homeopath in New Delhi. Homoeopath, colon hydrotherapist, yoga and diet expert, Dr Poonam Bali, says, “The combination of colon hydrotherapy, fasting on a specialised diet, yoga, detoxing and massage therapy help in treating flatulence.” Indigestion and gas can be caused by poor eating habits, emotional tensions, food allergies, imbalances in stomach, acid or digestive enzymes. For moderate problems, homoeopathy can offer a number of safe and gentle remedies. Arsenic album, bryonia, carbo vegetabilis, colocynthesis, lycopodium, natrum carbonicum, nuse vomica and pulsatilla are some of the often employed remedies.TreatmentIn cases of self-treatment, select the remedy that closely matches the symptoms, otherwise consult your physician. The frequency of the dosage varies with the condition. In some severe cases of painful gas conditions, endoscopy and other tests are performed. Naturopathy cureThe approach of the naturopathy system of treatment is low cost, risk-free and easily accessible. Naturopathy involves natural food and environment to cure the sufferer. Switch to natural food such as aloe vera juice, beetroot, carrot, green papaya, coconut water, fresh curd, ash gourd juice, cucumber juice, alfalfa sprouts, honey, ripened banana, buttermilk, dalia, oatmeal and cornflakes. “Stress affects the autonomic nervous system and results in reduced peristaltic movement and accumulation of fecal matter in intestine, so stress is also one of the causative factors for flatulence,” says Dr Manu Pradeesh.Dr Rukamani Nair, Medical superintendent at Bapu Nature Cure hospital adds, “People who are suffering from flatulence should not stay on an empty stomach. Severe flatulence can lead to migraine and premature greying of hair as well.”“According to naturopathy, stomach is the root cause of all diseases,” says Dr Nair. “In flatulence, generally the patient does not need to be admitted in the hospital unless the condition is grim. We also recommend hydrotherapy treatments that include wet abdominal pack, hip bath, mud pack and massages to improve the peristaltic movement,” she adds.People vulnerable to flatulence“There is no particular age group which is more prone to flatulence. It is noticed in younger, growing children, young adults or in the elderly. It is generally seen to occur in people with unhealthy lifestyles. People who have abdominal worms, or are lactose intolerant or consume fried and fatty foods, or are on a high fibre diet, smoke, and havechewing gums are prone to it. The mentally upset and anxious are also vulnerable to flatulence,” says Dr Reema Vohra, homeopath.
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