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Leicestershire Centre for Integrated Living

Is FLATULENCE a sign you've got the blues? Depressed people are more likely to break wind, feel bloated and suffer other stomach troubles, study says

Date: 7/10/2021
Summary: Breaking wind, burping and being bloated could be a sign of poor mental health, a global survey suggests.

Researchers sought to get to the bottom of how common flatulence and other gas-related symptoms are in the population.

They quizzed nearly 6,000 people in the UK, US, and Mexico about their issues over 24 hours, as well as their mental health in the past week.

Breaking wind was the most common complaint, with 81 per cent of adults reporting they'd let at least one rip that day. The average person farts five to 15 times a day according to the NHS.

It was followed by stomach rumbling (60 per cent), belching (58 per cent), and bad breath (48 per cent). 

Other common symptoms included trapped wind (47 per cent), a swollen tummy (40 per cent) and bloating (38 per cent). 

On average, volunteers were affected by three gas issues within the 24-hour period, with only 11 per cent reporting no gas at all. 

In addition to gas, survey participants were also asked about their mental health and emotional wellbeing over the last seven days.

The scientists noted that the more gassy people also tended to report higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

This could mean that poor mental health was causing the gassy problems, or the reverse where people's embarrassment or worries about their gas was impacting their mental wellbeing. 

Anxiety, nerves and depression are all known to impact the digestive system and  can result in stomach cramps, diarrhoea, constipation and loss of appetite.

By country, Mexico was the most full of hot air, reporting the highest number of all symptoms. 

The UK trumped the US in terms of flatulence, with 83 per cent of Britons breaking wind compared to a more modest 76 per cent of Americans.

Mexico still took the prize for most flatulent of the three nations overall however, with 85 per cent of respondents reporting the symptom.

The UK and the US were mostly neck and neck in terms of other gassy behaviour.

Britons reporting slightly more stomach rumbling. and Americans belching more and also more likely to have bad breath. 

The study was conducted by scientists from the Rome Foundation Research Institute in the US in collaboration with Danone Nutricia Research in France. 

Study lead author Professor Olafur Palsson from the University of North Carolina Department of Medicine, said the differenced between the countries needed to be looked 

'The reasons for the marked differences in the amount of gas-related symptoms between Mexico and the other countries we surveyed are unknown, and need to be investigated further,' he said.

'Cultural, linguistic, diet or public health factors might affect population levels of gas-related symptoms.'

The research was presented at the United European Gastroenterology week. 

Source: Mail Online


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