Gas is a normal part of digestion, and the average adult passes gas between 13 and 21 times a day. However, if gas builds up in the intestines and you can’t expel it, it can cause pain and discomfort.
Bloating, gas pain and frequency of passing gas can be made worse by anything that causes diarrhea or constipation, but it can also be caused by overeating, swallowing air, chewing gum, eating certain foods, and smoking.
However, you should visit your doctor if your symptoms cause you distress, have suddenly changed, or accompany constipation, diarrhea, or weight loss.
Getting Rid of Gas
Gas is often caused by the foods you eat. Food is primarily digested in your small intestine, and what is left undigested is then fermented in your colon, along with bacteria, fungi, and yeast. This part of the digestive process produces methane and hydrogen, that are then expelled when you pass gas.
Often, changing your diet is enough to reduce gas and the symptoms that accompany it. Keeping a food diary is a good way to find out which foods may be causing the symptoms.
Some common foods that cause gas include:
Foods high in fiber Foods high in fat Spicy and fried foods Carbonated drinks Artificial ingredients such as sugar alcohol, sorbitol and maltitol Lentils and beans Cruciferous vegetables – Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli Prunes and prune juice Foods containing lactose – milk, cheese, and other dairy products Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP). These are molecules found in many foods such as onion and garlic, that may be hard to digest Ready-made fiber drinks and supplements
Tips For Reducing Gas and Other Symptoms
If changing your diet isn’t working as well as you hoped, there are some other options to explore.
Studies have shown that peppermint tea or peppermint supplements may help reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome – and that includes gas. You should speak to your doctor before you start using peppermint supplements, as they can interfere with iron absorption and also with certain medications. Peppermint may also cause heartburn in some people.
Follow the instructions on the packaging for supplements, and if taking peppermint tea, drink one cup before each meal.
2. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea can also help to reduce indigestion, trapped gas, and bloating. Drink it before
Simethicone is a medication that is available over-the-counter under several brand names, including Gas-X, Mylanta Gas, and Phazyme.
Simethicone works by combining gas bubbles in your stomach, which allows you to expel them more easily. Follow the instructions on the medications, and talk about it with your doctor before you buy it if you are pregnant or taking other medications.
4. Activated Charcoal
This is another over-the-counter medication that can help get rid of gas trapped in your colon. Take the tablets just before, and also one hour after, meals.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a drink, such as water or tea. Drink it just before eating, or up to three times a day to help reduce symptoms.
6. Physical Activity
Exercise can help to release trapped gas, as well as relieve the pain. Walking after meals is a good way to try and avoid getting gas. Also try running or jumping rope to help you expel gas.
7. Lactase Supplements
Lactose is a sugar found in milk, and those with lactose intolerance can’t digest it. Lactase supplements can be bought over-the counter to help the body break down lactose and digest it.
Clove oil may help to reduce gas and bloating by producing helpful digestive enzymes. Add two to five drops to an 8-ounce glass of water and drink after meals.
Other Ways to Prevent Gas
If there is no medical reason why you are suffering from gas, trying to prevent it by altering habits and diet may help.
Eat slowly, and sit down for meals Try not to swallow air when eating and talking Don’t chew gum Avoid or limit soda or other carbonated drinks Don’t smoke Take a walk after eating, or find other ways to add exercise to your routine Don’t eat foods that are known to cause gas Don’t drink through straws