Intestinal gas is a by-product of digestion that produces varying symptoms in different people, including bloating, abdominal distention, belching, and the release of rectal gas. The genteel English gave us a more civilized word for gas-flatulence. Though embarrassing and uncomfortable, the production and release of intestinal gas is a normal digestive process. The fermentation and breakdown of foods by intestinal bacteria produces gas. The major causes of excessive flatulence are poor diet and improper digestion. Highly processed foods loaded with chemicals can overwhelm the digestive system, leading to a decline in function and excessive waste products, which can ferment and produce gas. A less common cause of excessive flatulence is aerophagia, or swallowing air with the food we eat. Chinese medicine recognizes both the dietary causes of flatulence and the emotional element. Flatulence and bloating are signs of a diminished flow of liver energy, which is greatly influenced by mood and feelings. Digestive weakness and a buildup of dampness due to poor dietary habits often accompany liver stagnation. We often ask my patients about their emotional state when treating digestive disorders. Our treatments focus on a balanced approach-I use herbal therapy and acupuncture to help support healthy intestinal function and promote smooth flow of energy in the liver-gallbladder network
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