Gas in the digestive tract (flatulence) is usually caused by the fermentation of undigested food in the large intestine by good bacteria. The fermentation process produces gas which will make the intestines swell and enlarge and cause discomfort. Food components that are usually difficult for the human intestine to digest include insoluble plant fiber, large amounts of fructose, milk sugar (lactose), and gluten protein. Passing gas, changing your diet, and taking certain medications can help you relieve flatulence.
Method 1 of 2: Relieve Flatulence Naturally
Step 1. Don't be afraid to take it out
Perhaps the easiest way to relieve abdominal pain due to accumulation of gas in the digestive tract is to expel it (also known as farting). It's just that, since most people think it's rude to pass gas in public, try to hide it by going to the bathroom. To help expel gas, take a walk outside and/or try giving a light, downward massage to the abdomen to push the gas out of the colon.
- The gas produced by fermenting bacteria in the large intestine is a combination of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and sulfur compounds (which cause a foul odor).
- Farting will be more common with age due to reduced digestive enzymes.
Step 2. Reduce abdominal pain by burping
Another way to pass gas, but from the mouth, is to burp. Although it doesn't have a major effect on the lower intestine, burping can expel gas from the stomach and upper gastrointestinal tract. Accumulation of air in the stomach can be caused by swallowing food or drink too quickly, drinking through a straw, chewing gum, and smoking. Accumulated air can be expelled easily and quickly without pain by burping. Although drinking too much can cause flatulence, drinking a few sips of carbonated drinks will help you pass gas and burp.
- Natural ingredients sometimes used to stimulate burping include ginger, papaya, lemon juice, and peppermint.
- Like farting, burping in public is considered rude by many (though not by all). So, pay attention to your surroundings.
Step 3. Avoid gas-producing foods
Some types of food tend to produce gas in the intestines because they are difficult to digest or contain components that can irritate the stomach or intestines. Foods that commonly cause gas or flatulence include beans, peas, lentils, cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, prunes, and mushrooms. Eating too much insoluble fiber (found in most vegetables and some fruits), fructose sugar (found in all kinds of fruit, especially sweet berries), and gluten (found in most cereals such as wheat, barley, and rye) as well can cause flatulence, flatulence and diarrhea. If you like eating raw vegetables and fruit, enjoy them in smaller portions, chew them slowly, and give them more time to digest.
- People with celiac disease are very sensitive to gluten, which can irritate the intestines and trigger abdominal pain and bloating.
- Other gastrointestinal disorders that can increase your sensitivity to flatulence include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease.
- Drinks that can trigger flatulence include coffee, fructose-rich drinks, beer, and fizzy drinks that contain artificial sweeteners (aspartame or sorbitol).
Step 4. Eat foods that will not aggravate flatulence and abdominal pain
Ginger, raw honey, peppermint, chamomile, cinnamon, cucumber, banana, pineapple, fennel seeds and flaxseed, probiotic yogurt, and kale.
Step 5. Avoid dairy products if you are lactose intolerant
Lactose intolerance is the body's inability to produce enough (or not at all) the enzyme lactase, which is necessary for the digestion and breakdown of milk sugar (lactose). Undigested lactose will enter the large intestine so that it becomes a substrate for fermentation and a food source for good bacteria with gas as a byproduct. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include flatulence, flatulence, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Therefore, reduce or avoid consumption of dairy products, especially cow's milk, cheese, whipped cream, ice cream, and milkshakes if you suspect you have a lactose intolerance problem.
- The body's ability to produce lactase drops dramatically after childhood. This means, the risk of lactose intolerance will increase with age.
- If you want to continue consuming dairy products without risking bloating and stomach pain from lactose intolerance, purchase lactase enzyme capsules from your local health food store or pharmacy. Take a few capsules of this enzyme before enjoying a meal containing dairy.
Step 6. Mix a teaspoon or two of baking soda with water
Stomach pain due to gas can also be caused by stomach acid. Baking soda is alkaline, which neutralizes stomach acid, thereby relieving stomach pain.
Method 2 of 2: Medically Relieve Bloated Stomach
Step 1. Consult a doctor
Apart from consuming gas-producing foods and being lactose intolerant, there are many other ailments that can cause bloating and abdominal pain. Therefore, if you experience frequent flatulence, make an appointment with your GP and undergo a physical examination to make sure you are not suffering from a serious illness. Diseases that usually cause flatulence and abdominal pain include gastrointestinal infections (either due to viruses, bacteria, or parasites), stomach ulcers, intestinal obstruction, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, food allergies, colon or stomach cancer, bladder diseases bile and acid reflux.
- If your flatulence is caused by an infection or food poisoning, your doctor may recommend short-term antibiotics. However, antibiotics will also kill the good bacteria in the gut and trigger other symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Certain medications often cause flatulence and flatulence such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen), laxatives, antifungals, and statins (for high cholesterol). So, consult the use of your prescription drugs with your doctor.
- Your doctor may need a stool sample and check your blood to diagnose celiac disease and perform a breath test to diagnose lactose intolerance. An X-ray or colonoscopy may also be needed in some cases.
Step 2. Ask your doctor about the use of hydrochloric acid
Normal digestion of food, especially protein-rich foods, requires a lot of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid or concentrated HCl). Insufficient production of stomach acid (common in old age) can cause protein not to be digested completely so that it ferments in the intestines and produces gas. In this case, ask your doctor to check your stomach acid production and consider taking HCl supplements if your body is not able to produce enough stomach acid naturally.
- To aid protein digestion, eat beef, poultry, or fish before bread and/or salad. The stomach tends to release stomach acid immediately when you start eating. In fact, digestion of carbohydrates requires less stomach acid than protein.
- Betaine hydrochloride is a fairly popular HCl supplement available at most health food stores. However, remember to take this supplement tablet after a meal, not before or during a meal.
Step 3. Consider the use of an alpha-galactosidase enzyme
As explained above, a common cause of gas in the intestines is that the human body is unable to digest certain complex sugars (eg insoluble fiber and sugar oligosaccharides). Using an over-the-counter alpha-galactosidase product (Beano, Suntaqzyme, Bean-zyme) can help with this problem. The enzyme alpha-galactosidase breaks down complex sugars before they reach the intestines and are fermented. Take a supplement tablet containing alpha-galactosidase right before eating fiber-rich foods (mostly vegetables, fruit, and legumes) to help prevent gas production and stomach pain.
- This sugar enzyme comes from the fungus Aspergillus niger which is safe to eat, but can trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to mold and penicillin.
- The enzyme alpha-galactosidase will break down galactose into glucose effectively, but may interact with diabetes medications. Consult your doctor first if you have diabetes and are considering using a product containing this enzyme.
Step 4. Try using probiotics
Probiotic supplements contain the healthy strains of bacteria that are normally present in the large intestine. However, these good bacteria can die due to the use of antibiotics, laxatives, excessive alcohol consumption, heavy metal intake, and colonoscopy examinations. An imbalance of healthy bacteria in the gut can trigger problems and symptoms in the digestive tract. If you suspect you may be at risk for an imbalance of healthy bacteria in your gut, consider taking a probiotic supplement to relieve flatulence. Probiotics are safe to use and are generally available in health food stores.
- Probiotics are available in tablet, capsule, or powder form and must be used regularly to maintain effective colonies/levels in the large intestine. Regardless of the type, choose an enteric-coated preparation so that the probiotics can reach the small intestine and stay alive.
- Fermented foods are also good sources of good bacteria, such as natural yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, fermented soy products (natto, miso, soy sauce, tofu), sauerkraut, and even unpasteurized beer.
Step 5. Consider using laxatives to treat constipation
Constipation is a condition in which bowel movements are irregular or difficult to pass stool. Constipation can be caused by consuming too much fiber (or not consuming fiber at all) or not drinking enough. Chronic constipation is usually defined as the frequency of defecating less than 3 times a week for weeks or months. However, most cases of constipation only last for a few days. Constipation can cause intestinal pain and cramping similar to flatulence, only the causes are very different. One of the drugs that can be used to treat constipation is a laxative that can stimulate bowel movements. Laxatives can have an effect by shaping the stool (FiberCon, Metamucil, Citrucel), softening the stool, moving fluid through the colon (milk of magnesia), or lubricating the colon (mineral oil, cod liver oil).
- Seniors with a poor diet will usually experience constipation due to lack of fiber consumption. This is why consumption of prunes or plum juiceƒ is often recommended.
- Constipation in children and young adults is more often caused by consuming too much fiber at once, for example from carrots or apples.
- If constipation is caused by excessive fiber consumption, gas production and flatulence due to bacterial fermentation may also occur. If so, there are a lot of suggestions above that you should be able to use to work around it.
- Eating too much too quickly can cause bloating and stomach pain regardless of the food. So, prepare food in smaller portions and enjoy it slowly.
- Avoid chewing gum or sucking on candy as this will cause you to swallow more air than you normally would.
- Check your dentures frequently, if any. Dentures that are not installed properly will cause you to swallow more air when eating and drinking.
- Try lying on your stomach and let the gas escape on its own.
- While lying on your back, gently rub your belly downwards to help push the gas out.
- Drink lots of water. Avoid dehydration as much as possible.