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August 2011
How Not to be Gassy
Belching and passing air can be embarrassing; more so in public. However, these conditions can have far worse implications than simply being smirked at.Passing excessive gas, feeling nauseous and belching are all symptoms of abdominal distension in which a person experiences raised abdominal pressure and volume.

Medical experts attribute abnormal bloating in the stomach to excessive eating and sleep swallowing, also known as aerophagia. In fact, swallowing too much air can cause frequent belching and painful cramps when the excess air reaches the stomach. Also, the intestines push up against the diaphragm and exert pressure in the lower chest when they get swollen with air. Constipation can also lead to bloating because of non-removal of faeces and toxins from the body.

Difficulty in digesting high-fibre foods, and lactose-intolerance also often results in improper digestion and stomach bloating. However, bloating can be rectified through simple home remedies and changes in lifestyle. Certain steps that can be incorporated to reduce the gassy feeling in the stomach are as follows:
  • Indentifying and avoiding food products which cause gas formation such as beans, peas, lentils, cauliflowers, cabbage, radish, broccoli, apricots, bananas, raisins, whole-wheat bread, bran cereals, pretzels, sodas, and carbonated beverages
  • Reducing the intake of fried and fatty food which increase the sensation of fullness by delaying stomach emptying
  • Temporarily reducing the intake of high-fibre foods, and adding them back gradually over a period of some weeks
  • Drinking at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day, and eating smaller meals
  • Reducing intake of dairy products
  • Resorting to over-the-counter digestive aids if fullness persists
Colon Cleansing
Constipation is one of the reasons for abdominal distension and a constricted colon can lead to this condition. Hence, the alternative medical process of Colon Cleansing is sometimes used to wash out putrefied feces which might line the large intestine’s walls. The idea is to cleanse the body of these accumulations which often harbour parasites or pathogenic gut flora resulting in general ill-health.

Colon cleansing improves the digestive system’s ability of breaking food particles, absorption of nutrients, water and salt, and smooth elimination of fecal wastes.

Colon cleansing, in addition to reducing bloating, also aids in losing weight, increasing your body’s energy levels, and decreasing water retention.Colon cleansers may be Oxygen-based cleansers or fibre based. If you believe that your colon is perfectly okay, but you experience occasional constipation, Oxygen-based colon cleansers are the best for you. If you do not have constipation, but experience indigestion, an enema or colonic cleanser is recommended.

Chelation Therapy
Another alternative treatment is that of the Chelation Therapy, where certain chelating agents are used to remove heavy metals from the body. This is done primarily in cases of heavy metal intoxication, involving mercury, lead, uranium, plutonium and arsenic. Plaques shrink and get smoothed after chelation therapy is carried out. This helps to make the walls of blood vessels softer and more pliable, which in turn allows their easier expansion. As a result, their blood carrying capacity increases. As far as reducing abdominal distension is concerned, the therapy helps to prevent free radical formation. The chelating agent may be administered intravenously intramuscularly, or orally. These chelating agents bind to heavy metals in the body and prevent them from binding to other agents. The heavy metals in this way are then excreted from the body.

Dr.R Ravi is Senior Consultant in Interventional Gastroenterology,Apollo Hospitals,Chennai

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