How do I cure gas pain?

Dear Reader,

Gas pains — whether they're sharp, jabbing pains, cramps, or a general feeling of being bloated — are uncomfortable, unwanted, and totally natural. Everyone passes gas. Everyone gets gas pains sometimes. So what can a person do to fuel relief?

Here are some of the closest things to a "cure" that you can try when you're experiencing gas pains:

  • Antacids containing simethicone, a foaming agent that joins gas bubbles in the stomach so that gas is more easily burped away.
  • Activated charcoal — to be taken before and after meals; it may cause some harmless side effects, including constipation and black stools.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, and Bismatrol) — this can relieve inflammatory conditions of the stomach and intestines, which can sometimes relieve gas.
  • Herbal remedies like drinking a cup of water with a drop of peppermint extract; sipping teas with ginger, peppermint, anise, or chamomile after a meal; or chewing fennel seeds.

It's helpful to figure out what's causing your gas so you can better know what to do to prevent it. For example, if you notice that your gas seems to be caused by:

  • Eating a lot of beans, try using products like Beano just before eating.
  • Eating dairy products (milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, etc.), try products like LactAid, Lactrase, and Dairy Ease.
  • A high fiber diet — whether the fiber is from foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) or supplements (Metamucil type products), try cutting back somewhat on your fiber intake. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water to aid in digestion.

Some recommendations for preventing gas pains include:

  • Eat in an environment where you can be relaxed to help reduce flatulence & burping.
  • Chew slowly and thoroughly. Gas can be a sign of undigested food.
  • Take a short walk after eating to prevent gas from accumulating and can help stimulate the passage of gas through the digestive tract.
  • Avoid common food sources of gas including artificial sweeteners, carbonated beverages, alcohol, sugar-free candies or chewing gum, and dairy products. Also, (due to their fiber content) foods like brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, artichokes, asparagus, prunes, bran cereals or muffins, and whole-wheat bread can also cause gas.

Finally, check out the Mayo Clinic site for more information!


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