Flatulence

Many people who suffer from celiac disease, but are not yet diagnosed and continue to eat products containing gluten, suffer greatly from flatulence and/or bloating.

Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are by-products of the digestion process. The mixture of gases is known as flatus.  Flatulence can be an embarrassing problem for some people, however, it is normal for gas in the digestive tract to be passed out through the rectum (as flatus) as often as 23 times a day, depending on your diet.  If you are eating a diet full of fibre, then that will produce more gas than a diet of food with less fibre.

 


 

What causes flatulence?

Possible causes of flatulence include:


  • a diet containing foods that cause gas;
  • swallowing excessive air; and
  • some medical conditions, such as celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or rohn’s disease.

Food that passes through the stomach and small intestine that is not completely digested may cause flatulence when the material arrives in the large intestine. This is one side effect of celiac disease because if the villi are damaged then the food that is eaten is not completely absorbed and end up passing through undigested, to the large intestine.


Gluten intolerance can cause the villi – tiny hair-like projections in the small intestine that absorbs nutrients – to become damaged due to an allergic reaction to the gluten.  Damaged villi interfere with the human body's ability to absorb basic proteins and nutrients, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins and minerals. If left untreated, it can cause damage to the small bowel which  can be chronic and life threatening.   This could lead to an increased risk of nutritional and immune-associated disorders.