Meteorism is one of the most common functional digestive symptoms. It is caused by the accumulation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. There are many possible causes for this intestinal disorder.
Meteorism or intestinal bloating
Meteorism is a swelling of the abdominal cavity due to the accumulation of gas in the intestine. If this gas cannot be eliminated, it builds up and causes pain.
It is a very common symptom reported by around 20-40% of the general population (1) .
Meteorism symptoms impair the quality of life to a greater or lesser extent and often have physical, social and psychological repercussions for the patient.
What are the symptoms of meteorism / bloating?
Meteorism symptoms may include a feeling of abdominal distension and/or pain, but also gurgling in the intestine. In 2/3 of patients there is a visible increase in waist circumference(1) . Meteorism is often aggravated by meals and is worse at the end of the day.
Functional bloating occurs when these symptoms are at least 6 months old and no cause is found.
What are the causes of meteorism / bloating?
Four pathophysiological factors have been clearly identified as the origin of this sensation:
Dysfunction of the abdominal muscles
Disruption of gas transit through the intestine
(makes the subject abnormally sensitive to intestinal gas movements of normal volume)
Excessive intestinal gas production
Stress, excess weight, diet, sedentary lifestyle, the aftermath of gastroenteritis, hormonal upheavals (pregnancy, menstrual period, menopause) are all factors that can promote abdominal meteorism.(1)(3)
What foods can cause intestinal discomfort?
2Longstreth GF, Thompson WG, Chey WD, Houghton LA, Mearin F, Spiller RC. Functional Bowel Disorders. C2 Functional bloating. ROME III: The Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Drossman DA, 3rd edition, Degnon Associates, 2006;9:509-51
3https://www.vidal.fr/maladies/estomac-intestins/ballonnement-flatulence-aerophagie/causes.html (consulté le 03/06/2022)