There are many ways to describe excess gas: gas, flatulence, and bloating. Although the name you give it may seem inconsequential, being able to identify where the gas starts, and where it ends, can help you deal with painful and bothersome symptoms.
Flatulence, or farting, is intestinal gas that escapes from the rectum. Bloating is used to describe the feeling of excess intestinal gas that has not yet been released.
Gas passing through flatulence is caused by the body’s inability to absorb or digest certain carbohydrates in the small intestine. Once these undigested foods pass through the small intestine, bacteria break them down, producing hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and sometimes methane. But that doesn’t happen to everyone.
When it comes to gas-causing factors, there are several big culprits:
Eating fiber-rich foods like beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
Drink soft drinks
Eating too fast or talking while chewing, causing you to swallow more air
Drink with a straw
Consumption of artificial sweeteners
Chronic bowel diseases such as diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel disease
Food intolerances such as celiac disease or lactose intolerance
Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine
It is common to feel gas after eating and release it through flatulence. It is normal to pass gas 13 to 21 times a day.
But if you have painful gas and chronic, smelly flatulence, you can start playing detective. Try to eliminate the cause using the following steps.
1. Avoid foods known to cause gas
One way to manage flatulence is to eat less of these well-known foods. The most common culprits are:
Fruits like apples and pears
Vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and onions
Whole grains like bran
Dairy products, including milk, cheese and ice cream.
These products contain fiber, sugars and starches that are not easily digested or absorbed, which can cause intestinal gas.
Foods containing sorbitol, a natural sugar found in fruit, are on the list of sensitive foods for some people. Other people are bothered by soft drinks and fruit drinks. If you discover that these foods are causing you excess gas, eliminate them from your diet or eat them in smaller portions. When it comes to foods to avoid, moderation is key.
Keep in mind that almost any food or food combination can cause gas.
2. Drink before meals
If you drink liquids with your meals, you lose stomach acids and cannot break down food as well. Try to drink about 30 minutes before a meal to help your stomach digest better.
3. Eat and drink slowly
When you eat or drink quickly, you may swallow a lot of air, which can cause gas. The simple solution? Slow down when eating.
4. Take over-the-counter digestive aids
Digestive enzymes are available as over-the-counter supplements. You will know very quickly, within a few weeks, if it makes a difference. Antacids won’t do much for excess gas
5. Try activated charcoal
Although research is still limited, researchers believe that activated charcoal can help reduce and treat excess gas and bloating. Unlike the charcoal you find in your grill or fireplace, activated charcoal undergoes a special treatment that makes it safe for human consumption. Once you take activated charcoal (in liquid or pill form), it attaches to the fluid in your gut, which can reduce gas and bloating and create firmer stools.
In a small study published in the Journal of Ultrasound, 42 people with a history of excessive gas in their intestines took 448 milligrams (mg) of activated charcoal for two days before a medical exam and then 672 mg on the day of the exam. The researchers found that they had better ultrasound vision of certain organs that would normally have been obscured by excess gas.
6. Don’t fill up on air
Habits like smoking, chewing gum, and drinking through a straw can cause the stomach to fill with air, which leads to gas.
7. Avoid artificial sweeteners
Sorbitol and related sugar alcohols used in many sugar-free versions of foods can also make gas worse. Sorbitol is often the first ingredient in all brands of sugar-free chewing gum. The sugar substitutes found in coffees or in popular soft drinks are not the type to cause gas. The various sachet sweeteners: sucralose, saccharin, aspartame are not associated with gassy or laxative effects.
8. Try herbs for gas relief
Some research suggests that a number of herbs may help relieve excess gas. For example, a study published in April 2015 in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Studies found that ginger helps speed up digestion. This is helpful because if the stomach empties faster, gas can move faster to the small intestine to relieve bloating and discomfort.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that peppermint oil significantly improved abdominal pain.
Chamomile is believed to help relieve a number of digestive issues, including stomach upset, bloating and intestinal gas, by relaxing gastrointestinal muscles and improving digestion.
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