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tympanites, flatulence, distention of the abdomen as a result of excess accumulations of gas in the alimentary canal.
The stomach and intestine of the healthy human normally contain about 900 cu cm of gas; this is necessary to maintain intestinal tone and peristalsis. When food with large amounts of carbohydrates is eaten (beans, brown bread, vegetables), the gas content increases considerably. Meteorism is a common symptom of many diseases, including ordinary constipation, neurosis, chronic colitis, peritonitis, and intestinal obstruction. It can result from swallowing too much air (aerophagia) or from intestinal inflammation and is manifested by a feeling of abdominal heaviness and bursting, eructation, hiccups, and torminal pains that disappear after the gases pass. Diarrhea, which gives way to constipation, is sometimes noted. Meteorism is treated by limiting the intake of those foods that tend to increase gas formation, taking regular meals, using adsorptives and laxatives, and treating the primary disease.