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Flatulence is defined in the medical literature as 'flatus expelled through the anus' or the 'quality or state of being flatulent', which is defined in turn as 'marked by or affected with gases generated in the intestine or stomach, likely to cause digestive flatulence'. The root of these words is from the Latin flatus 'a blowing, a breaking wind'. Flatus is also the medical word for gas generated in the stomach or bowels. Despite these standard definitions, a proportion of intestinal gas may be swallowed environmental air, and hence flatus is not totally generated in the stomach or bowels. The scientific study of this area of medicine is termed flatology. Flatus is brought to the rectum and pressurized by muscles in the intestines. It is normal to pass flatus, though volume and frequency vary greatly among individuals. It is also normal for intestinal gas to have a feculent odor, which may be intense. The noise commonly associated with flatulence ('blowing a raspberry') is produced by the anus and buttocks, which act together in a manner similar to that of an embouchure. Both the sound and odor are sources of embarrassment, annoyance or amusement (flatulence humor). There are several general symptoms related to intestinal gas: pain, bloating and abdominal distension, excessive flatus volume, excessive flatus odor, and gas incontinence.
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