Flatulence a.k.a. farting, 'passing wind' or 'messing' (Nigerian version) is caused by gas in the bowel. It is normal for the intestine to produce gas which is passed out through the anus at regular intervals. So it is normal for you to 'mess'! Intestinal gas medically known as flatus is generated by swallowed air, digestion, high-fiber foods and the by-products of intestinal bacterial. It contains hydrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, methane and at times sulphur-containing gas. Farting is normal and the amount of gas produce and passed out varies between individuals, while some people fart a couple of times per day, some people can't just get their anus 'sealed' for hours. Farting could be very embarrassing for some people as they find it hard to control the passage of gas out of their anus or the sound that it brings. Some people fart and go unnoticed (the silent gas and the odorless gas) while some people can't escape the attention it draws towards them (the loud gas and the smelly gas). On a lighter note, this reminds me of the 'fart lines' of Chatur Ramalingam; the silencer in a bollywood movie titled '3 idiots'. He did a very good job describing the might of a fart (thanks to Rancho's demo). His lines: "A good loud fart is honourable A medium fart is tolerable Softer windbreaks are terrible And the silent ones unbearable". So this is what happens in your digestive tract… The bowel contains several gas-producing bacteria which aid digestion by fermenting some food components, also undigested food substances passed into the large intestine are acted upon by these bacteria to break them down producing flatus as a by-product. Some gases are absorbed into the bloodstream and expelled through the lungs while the remaining gas move down the bowel and out through the anus. The gas produced may be smelly depending on the type of food consumed. So are you 'MESSING' excessively? Is your fart honourable, tolerable, terrible or unbearable? Then a change in diet and lifestyle can help reduce excessive flatulence: • Chew your food well • Avoid overeating and late night eating • Avoid excessive talk while eating • Drink plenty of water • Avoid carbonated drinks • Avoid excessive consumption of fried foods • You may replace gas-forming foods with healthy alternatives e.g. soya milk instead of dairy milk (people react differently to different foods, so take note the foods that gives you excess gas) • Exercise regularly N.B: It is advisable to consult a doctor/dietitian/nutritionist if you are experiencing excessive flatulence.