“Flatus” (Latin) means “a blowing” , “a breaking wind”. Flatulence is “flatus” expelled through the anus or a state of being flatulent; which in turn is defined as being with gas generated in the intestine or stomach. Flatulence is in common parlance known as farting, “messing”.
Intestinal gas is composed of varying quantities of exogenous sources and endogenous sources. The exogenous gases are swallowed when eating, drinking or when rate of swallowing increases during times of excessive salivation; for instance, when nauseated.
The endogenous gases on the other hand are produced either as a by-product of digesting certain types of food or of incomplete digestion. Anything that causes food to be incompletely digested by the stomach or small intestine may cause flatulence when the material arrives in the large intestine, due to fermentation by yeast or prokaryotes normally or abnormally present in the gastrointestinal tract.
Fermentation occurs when unabsorbed food residues arrive in the colon leading to the production of intestinal gas. The volume of gas produced is partially dependent upon the composition of the intestinal microbiota (gut bacteria); the greatest concentration of which is in the colon.
More than the composition of the microbiota, diet is the primary factor that dictates the volume of fart produced. Flatulence-producing foods are typically high in certain polysaccharides; especially oligosaccharides such as inulin. Those foods include beans, dairy products, onions, garlic, spring onions, sweet potatoes, potatoes, cashews, oats, wheat, and yeast in bread.
In beans, endogenous gases seem to arise from complex oligosaccharides (carbohydrates) that are particularly resistant to digestion by mammals but are readily digestible by gut flora – microorganisms (methane-producing archaea; Methanobrevibacter smithii) that inhabit the digestive tract.
These oligosaccharides pass through the upper intestine largely unchanged, and when they reach the lower intestine, bacteria feed on them, producing copious amounts of fart. It should be known that a proportion of intestinal gas may be swallowed environmental air. Hence, flatus is not totally generated in the stomach or bowels.
Fart is brought to the rectum and pressurized by muscles in the intestines. It is normal to fart; though, volume and frequency vary greatly among individuals. It is also normal for intestinal gas (fart) to have a feculent odor; which may sometimes be intense.
The noise commonly associated with flatulence is produced by the anus and buttocks which act together in a manner similar to playing wind instrument. Both the sound and odor are sources of embarrassment, annoyance or amusement.
Beans is not the only diet that precipitate farts the most. Infact, consumption of any of the cruciferous vegetables that belong to the genus brassica (e. g. cabbage) are commonly reputed to not only increase flatulence but to increase the pungency of the flatus. Summarily, flatulence is a natural phenomenon. So, enjoy your beans and fart in peace.
Caveat: Endeavour to fart with decorum.
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