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[L. flatus, a blowing]
1. Gas in the digestive tract.
2. Expulsion of gas from a body orifice, esp. the anus. The average person excretes 400 to 1200 cc of gas each day. The gas passages may average a dozen a day in some persons and up to a hundred in others. Flatus from the lower intestinal tract contains hydrogen, methane, skatoles, indoles, carbon dioxide, and small amounts of oxygen and nitrogen.
SEE: borborygmus; SEE: eructation
Foods known for their ability to cause excess intestinal gas include beans, peas, lentils, cabbage, onions, Brussels sprouts, bananas, apples, raisins, apricots, high-fiber cereals, whole wheat products, milk and milk products, and sorbitol present in some dietetic foods.
Some persons can control excess intestinal gas by avoiding foods they have found to be flatulogenic. Simethicone, an ingredient in many over the counter anti-gas medications, is also effective.
Administration of the enzyme alpha-d-galactosidase derived from Aspergillus niger may be effective in treating intestinal gas or bloating due to eating a variety of grains, cereals, nuts, and seeds of vegetables containing sugars such as raffinose or verbacose. This includes oats, wheat, beans, peas, lentils, foods containing soy, pistachios, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, corn, onions, squash, and cauliflower.