Constipation can be a very disabling symptom. Often all that is needed is an increase in fibre but sometimes this is not effective and different approaches are required...

Wind

Belching

  • This is a common symptom.
    • In one survey 17% of people stated that they had excess belching.

  • This is not due to excess production of gas in the stomach but is due to swallowed air.
    • There is a small amount of air swallowed with every mouthful of food or fluid or with every swallow that unrelated to eating.
    • There are more swallows per day if there is discomfort in the mouth (such as ill-fitting dentures or chewing gum).
    • Excess air swallowing can be a “nervous” or stress response - analogous to the “gulp” when startled.
    • Excess air swallowing may relate to the conscious, or perhaps subconscious belief, that belching will relieve abdominal discomfort or bloating.

  • Acid reflux is associated with belching.
    • Acid reflux causes increased saliva production. The old-fashioned term is "waterbrash".
    • The saliva needs to be swallowed - therefore more swallows per day.
    • Treatment of reflux can often reduce the amount of belching by stopping this cycle of events.

  • Other factors.
    • Rapid eating, gulping food.
    • Smoking.
    • Fizzy drinks and beer cause belching by release of carbon dioxide in the stomach. The gas comes out of the drink with time.

  • Belching may be associated with other symptoms of indigestion.

  • Treatment can be difficult.
    • Acid lowering treatment should be tried first.
    • Stress needs to be addresses if possible. Less hurried meals.
    • Some dietary changes. Less fibre and avoiding carbonated drinks.
    • Some success can be achieved with anti-anxiety medication. I prefer Aropax which is an anti-depressant with activity against panic attacks and anxiety.
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