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Passing wind

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This page is about cancer and passing wind. Passing intestinal gas is called flatulence and is normal for everyone. We all do it on average about 15 to 25 times a day. But sometimes illness, what you eat, and stress can increase the amount of wind you pass each day. Although this is not a serious problem, or a sign that your cancer is getting worse, it can be embarrassing and worrying.

Sometimes your cancer and its treatment may create to much gas in the digestive system making you pass wind more frequently than usual. Several things can make flatulence worse. These include

  • Eating some high fibre foods
  • Swallowing too much air
  • Drinking gassy drinks, including beer
  • Smoking
  • Lactose intolerance

It isn’t possible to stop flatulence altogether but there are things that you can do to help control it. Try

  • Avoiding foods that make it worse, such as cabbage, corn, brussel sprouts, onions, beans and cauliflower
  • Eating slowly and chewing your food for longer – this lessens the amount of air you swallow and helps to break your food down before it enters your stomach and bowel
  • Activated charcoal tablets or powders, because these can absorb smell and may help
  • Eating ginger, because this is said to help digestion

Some processed foods contain ingredients, such as sweeteners or preservatives that can cause wind, especially

  • Any foods that contain artificial sweeteners
  • Sugar free sweets and chewing gum
  • Fizzy drinks
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Updated: 10 September 2012