How To Get Rid Of Gas
Often, your gas is caused by what you eat. Food is digested primarily in your small intestine. What is left undigested is fermented in your colon with bacteria, fungi, and yeast, as part of digestion. This process produces methane and hydrogen, which are expelled as flatus.
For many people, changing dietary habits is enough to alleviate gas and its accompanying symptoms. One way to determine which foods are giving you gas is by keeping a food diary. Common culprits include:
- foods with high fat content
- fried or spicy food
- artificial ingredients commonly found in low-carbohydrate and sugar-free products, such as sugar alcohol, sorbitol, and maltitol
- beans and lentils
- cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli
- prunes or prune juice
- foods containing lactose, such as milk, cheese, and other dairy products
- fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols molecules found in a wide range of foods, such as garlic and onion, that may be hard to digest
- over-the-counter fiber drinks and supplements
Once you figure out what food is causing the gas, you can modify your diet to avoid the culprit.
If changing your diet doesnt completely do the trick, you have several options to try.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
The stomach and intestines are home to various bacteria, which help the body digest food. Disturbing the balance of bacteria can lead to an increase in harmful bacteria in the small intestine. This is known as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO.
SIBO can cause bloating, frequent diarrhea, and difficulties digesting food and absorbing nutrients. These chronic symptoms may lead to osteoporosis or weight loss in some people.
When Gas Is A Symptom Of Something Else
If excessive gas is persistent or severe, consult your doctor it could be a sign of a more serious digestive condition, such as:
- Lactose intolerance This is the inability to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and milk products. I test with a milk challenge, says Bickston. The patient drinks a pint or two of milk it can be any percent fat. What follows tells the patients whether they should limit their milk intake. If avoiding milk reduces your symptoms you may be lactose intolerant.
- Irritable bowel syndrome Patients who meet the diagnostic checklist for irritable bowel syndrome suffer more pain at the lower levels of the abdominal cavity, he says.
- Colon cancer Excess gas is rarely the main symptom of patients with colon cancer, Bickston notes. But it does trigger my reflex to remind patients to get screened for colorectal cancer.
- Upper gastrointestinal disorders Occasional belching is normal, but frequent belching may be a sign of an upper gastrointestinal disorder. These include peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease , or gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying.
Also, warns Bickston, if you’ve had abdominal surgery, a hernia, or significant weight loss or weight gain, never dismiss your gas-like symptoms as normal. Get them checked out.
As annoying as it might be, some gas is a natural by-product of the bodys digestive system. But if your gas is excessive, painful, or chronic, talk to your doctor about possible causes and remedies.
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When To Seek Medical Help
You should contact a healthcare provider if you have gas along with these symptoms:
- Long-lasting diarrhoea or sudden onset of diarrhoea
- Chest pain or signs of heart attack
- Rectal bleeding, bloody or fatty stool
- Abdominal pain or tenderness
You must not rely on home remedies for the treatment of this condition you should consult a qualified doctor for any advice for the condition.
What Natural Or Home Remedies Help Relieve Excessive Flatulence Or Gas
Flatulence is most often related to diet, and sometimes to those habits that cause a person to swallow air. One home remedy is to begin to try to remove problem foods from the diet. For many people, this is a trial-and-error procedure on how to relieve and/or prevent excessive gas or flatulence.
Natural and home remedies may or may not cure or eliminate chronic, increased, constant or extreme flatulence . In some people, home remedies may help reduce symptoms. Individuals are encouraged to discuss home remedies and gas symptoms with their health-care professional.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Could a medical condition be making me gassy?
- What tests can determine the cause of intestinal gas?
- What steps can I take to cut down on intestinal gas?
- What foods or drinks should I avoid?
- Whats the best treatment for my gas symptom?
- How can I tell the difference between gas and something more serious?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
While intestinal gas is common, the symptoms belching, flatulence, bloating and stomach discomfort can be embarrassing and even painful. Gas is sometimes a symptom of a more serious health problem. Talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns. The right treatment can ease gas symptoms so you can go about your day in confidence.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/11/2020.
Diagnosing Gas Gas Pains And Bloating
Even though gas and bloating are common, a medical evaluation may sometimes be necessary. If you experience blood in the stool, diarrhea, fevers, anemia, or weight loss, you should talk to a doctor.
Medical History & Physical Exam
First, your doctor will review your medical history and ask questions about your symptoms and dietary habits.
The doctor may also examine your abdomen for tenderness or anything that feels abnormal. A stethoscope may be used to help the doctor determine how well the digestive tract is working.
The results of these preliminary tests will help determine the next level of diagnosis if necessary.
Additional Tests for Gas, Gas Pains, and Bloating
- Breath tests Breath tests can help determine problems of malabsorption or intestinal bacteria overgrowth.
- Colonoscopy In patients 50 or older, or who have a family history of colorectal cancer, the possibility of colon cancer may be considered.
- Imaging If chronic belching is a problem, x-rays may be used to inspect the small intestine, stomach, and esophagus. This is known as an upper GI series
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How To Reduce Bloating With These Top Tips
Bloating happens when your abdomen becomes full of gas, causing it to distend. Many of us are familiar with the unpleasant feeling of a bloated stomach, which causes us to spend the next few hours suffering from stomach pains and increased flatulence. Not to mention the uncomfortable expanding waistline that means we have to unbutton our jeans. Bloating is a widespread digestive problem, affecting approximately 16-31% of the population. Whilst it often goes away after time, surely there must be a way to reduce bloating?
The answer is: Yes, there is! There are several things that you can do to reduce or prevent bloating. In this article, find out what causes excessive amounts of gas in the stomach and how to reduce bloating.
Simple Strategies For Blasting Gas
1. Burping or belching Sometimes this is all you need to do to eliminate trapped gas and relieve your discomfort. Of course, that might be easier said than done, especially in social situations. If the opportunity presents itself, go for it, because that gas wants to come out.
If you feel like belching or burping, do it, Dr. Weiss advises. He cautions that big belches could damage your esophagus, so go easy. Let the air out but dont increase the pressure.
2. Nonprescription anti-gas remedies Gas-X®, Maalox® Plus, and other over-the-counter options that contain simethicone might help. These products allow small gas bubbles to coalesce into a large bubble, which permits the gas to pass more easily from either end. They dont work for everyone, and studies havent confirmed their effectiveness, but they may be worth a try. If it helps you, terrific. Dr. Weiss says. If not, no harm done.
3. Peppermint Those peppermint candies at the diner are more than just breath fresheners: They can help relax the muscles in your esophagus, which helps you pass digestive gases. If candys not your thing, peppermint tea offers the same assist. Anise, fennel, ginger, cloves and chamomile also may offer relief.
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What Medical Conditions Are Related To Excessive Gassy Stomachs
Most of the time, excessive gas is a normal part of our digestive system and medical assistance is not always necessary. On the other hand, if you have already tried at-home remedies and the gas is constant, there may be an underlying health reason and you should seek care from a healthcare provider. Some health conditions contributing to excessive gas may include the following:
- Chronic intestinal disease
Conditions That Can Make Belching Difficult
Many upper gastrointestinal disorders can either cause frequent burping, or the inability to burp. These include peptic ulcers, acid reflux, or gastroparesis. These conditions may benefit from some of the techniques to induce burping.
Peptic ulcers are sores that may develop in the food pipe, stomach, or small intestine.
Acid reflux is a disease where stomach acid irritates the lining of the food pipe. Symptoms include gas and bloating after eating that worsens with lying down.
Gastroparesis affects the stomach muscles and makes it hard to empty the stomach. It also affects digestion and causes bloating and a feeling of fullness even when a person has eaten little food.
People who have had surgeries performed on the upper GI tract such as anti-reflux surgery, or who have strictures in their esophagus, can have difficulty or discomfort with belching as well.
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Get Up And Walk Around
Exercise isnt just great for your overall healthit can also help clear up painful gas and bloating. While a five-mile run probably isnt first on your to-do list when youre doubled over in pain, if you can manage a quick walk or other gentle movement, that can make a big difference.
Exercise helps exercise your intestines, too, Dr. Wakim-Fleming says. Experts dont know exactly why exercise helps move gas along, but something about physical activity helps to boost your intestines muscle activity, Ashkan Farhadi, M.D., a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Groups Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells SELF.
Peppermint Eases Ibs Pain
Peppermint might prove especially helpful for people with IBS who suffer from abdominal cramps and bloating. Peppermint contains menthol oil, which can help relax the intestinal muscles and prevent them from spasming.
How to use:
Inhaling the fumes of this herbal oil can induce a calming effect on the gastrointestinal tract, which can improve its motility and function.
Note: The antispasmodic effect of peppermint can be used to reduce the severity and frequency of IBS symptoms, but it is to be used only as an adjunctive therapy and not as a replacement for the standard treatment.
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Try Herbs For Gas Relief
Some research suggests a number of herbs may help relieve excess gas. For example, a review published in April 2015 in European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Studies found ginger helps speed digestion. This is helpful because if the stomach empties faster, gas can move more quickly to the small intestine to relieve bloating and discomfort.
A review published in 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that peppermint oil significantly improved symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain.
How To Get Rid Of Gas Naturally
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and drink right before a meal. This can help to relieve digestive conditions including acid reflux and heartburn by boosting healthy bacteria and acid in the gut.
Try switchel, a fermented drink made from apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, real maple syrup and water. You can use natural sparkling water to add some fizz to the drink that may help you belch some of the gas in your system. Fresh ginger is known for combatting nausea, promoting digestion and protecting against stomach ulcers.
2. Clove Oil
Add 25 drops of clove essential oil to eight ounces of water to reduce bloating and gas. It may also help other digestive problems like indigestion, motion sickness and hiccups.
3. Activated Charcoal
Take 2 to 4 tablets of activated charcoal just before eating and again one hour after a meal to relieve gas pains. Activated charcoal may help relieve symptoms including flatulence, bloating and distention of the abdomen by eliminating gas trapped in the colon.
4. Digestive Enzymes
Take a full-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement as recommended. Look for a high-quality supplement that contains lactase to breakdown lactose in dairy, lipase to breakdown fats, amylase to breakdown starches and protease to breakdown proteins. For further digestive support, look for one with ginger and peppermint that also support healthy gut function.
6. Fennel Essential Oils
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When To See A Doctor
While most cases of stomach pain and gas can be treated at home, you should talk to your doctor if you are worried. You should also consult your doctor if:
- Your pain lasts more than a couple days
- Stomach gas and pain remain well after an immediate cause, such as constipation, is relieved
Potential causes of more enduring gas pain include celiac disease and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth . If you suspect you may have celiac disease, pay attention to your gluten intake to discover whether pain changes accordingly.
SIBO is generally seen in people who have:
- Had abdominal surgeries
Try It Steps To Avoid Gas Pain
Since constipation causes gas and cramping, you should try to exercise regularly, stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet with plenty of fiber, Veloso says.Here are some other tips:
- Dont drink with a straw.
- Choose noncarbonated beverages.
- If your symptoms persist, see your doctor to rule out food sensitivities, and other conditions.
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Treatment For Gas In The Digestive Tract
Specific treatment for gas in the digestive tract will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
How To Prevent Cabbage From Causing Gas
There is a technique to reduce the power and odor of the gas. Simply cooking the cabbage makes it much simpler to digest.
This implies that the fiber in each piece of cabbage has already been softened and broken down, making it easier to digest.
And most of the sulfur will escape from the cabbage as it cooks. When cooking cabbage or anything similar, keep a window open.
Fermented foods, like cabbage, cause less gas. This is because the fermentation process has already broken down the fiber. It also contains beneficial probiotics, which support the microorganisms in our intestines.
Fermented cabbage often produces less gas. However, too much of it, and too frequently, will result in a gut imbalance.
The probiotics you bring can assist, but if you bring too many of them, they might overrun the microorganisms in the stomach.
This isnt an issue if you eat fermented cabbage once in a while, but it might be a problem if its your main vegetable every week.
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What Are The Complications Of Intestinal Gas
Extra gas can cause pain, discomfort and embarrassment, but its usually not a serious health problem. Gas buildup can sometimes feel more worrisome, though. Gas on the left side of the colon can cause chest pain that you might mistake for a heart attack. Gas buildup on the right side can mimic pain from gallstones or appendicitis. A health professional should check out these symptoms for any concerning underlying cause.
Who Might Get Intestinal Gas
Excess gas can make your stomach feel swollen or bloated. You may pass flatulence . Though uncomfortable, excess gas is rarely a concern. Things that make you produce too much gas include:
- Behavioral factors, such as swallowing air while chewing, drinking and talking.
- Dietary choices, such as consuming too many gas-producing foods .
- Intestinal infections, such as giardiasis, that cause an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria.
- Medications or motility disorders that slow the bowels, such as IBS, diabetes and scleroderma.
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When To Seek Relief
Most minor fluctuations in gas and bowel habits are normal, but if you experience excessive or persistent gas or bloating, its time to seek medical attention, cautions van der Linden. A little gas is probably healthy, but a lot of gas, that could be a problem, he says.
Talk to your doctor if gas symptoms change suddenly, become severe, begin to interfere with your normal activities or are accompanied by other symptoms. A physical exam, stool tests, blood tests and imaging tests, which may include an endoscopy or colonoscopy, might be performed to help rule out or diagnose an underlying health issue. Your physician will also review your symptoms and family history and may recommend keeping a food journal or eliminating certain foods from your diet.
Dietary changes, such as eating more slowly, not gulping food or drinks and avoiding or limiting certain foods or beverages, can help relieve some uncomfortable symptoms. Adding even small bouts of exercise to your day can help push gas through your system and ease bloating. Stress management techniques, like yoga or meditation, can help keep you from unintentionally swallow air when youre talking, which can happen when you’re upset or nervous.