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Bladder & Bowel

Meteorism (flatulence)

Flatulence is a common problem. Is it a problem for you too? People with spinal cord injuries are frequently affected due to a disorder in bowel functions.

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Flatulence caused by nutrition

Flatulence can occur right after eating and be caused by the following foods, among others:

  • Cabbage
  • Herbs
  • Onions and other bulbous plants
  • High-fibre foods
  • High-sugar foods

Flatulence problems as a reaction to various foods differ from person to person. Also the way they are prepared may play an important role: some foods may be easy to digest when they are cooked but can cause severe flatulence when eaten raw.

Intolerances to certain foods or food groups may also cause flatulence. Among these are:

  • Lactose intolerance
  • Fructose intolerance (fruit sugar)
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Histamine intolerance
    • fish and seafood
    • smoked meat
    • red wine
    • etc.

Flatulence caused by constipation

In the case of constipation, the stool remains in the bowel longer than usual and bowel bacteria can digest it multiple times. Gas is formed, causing flatulence. This causes an increased bowel volume and therefore an increased formation of gas.

What can be done to reduce flatulence?

  • Eliminate constipation
  • Identify foods that cause flatulence
  • Reduce the swallowing of air – learn how to avoid it:
    • eat slowly, chew well
    • avoid overly large portions
    • avoid stress when eating – no hurry or time pressure
    • eat regularly
    • reduce or avoid carbonated drinks
    • no cigarettes or chewing gum
  • Eat fennel, cumin and aniseed (also available as tea)
  • Take anti-foam preparations such as Flatulex®, Sab Simplex®, Immogas® etc.

Can flatulence also cause respiratory problems?

Yes, especially for tetraplegics. Since their auxiliary respiratory muscles do not work or work only partially, they mainly breathe into their abdominal cavity.

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