Treatment

If your gas pains are caused by another health problem, treating the underlying condition may offer relief. Otherwise, bothersome gas is generally treated with dietary measures, lifestyle modifications or over-the-counter medications. Although the solution isn't the same for everyone, with a little trial and error, most people are able to find some relief.

Diet

Dietary changes may help reduce the amount of gas your body produces or help gas move more quickly through your system. Keeping a diary of your diet and gas symptoms will help your doctor and you determine the best options for changes in your diet. You may need to eliminate some items or eat smaller portions of others.

Reducing or eliminating the following dietary factors may improve gas symptoms:

  • High-fiber foods. High-fiber foods that can cause gas include beans, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, artichokes, asparagus, pears, apples, peaches, prunes, whole wheat and bran. You can experiment with which foods affect you most. You may avoid high-fiber foods for a couple of weeks and gradually add them back. Talk to your doctor to ensure you maintain a healthy intake of dietary fiber.
  • Dairy. Reducing dairy products from your diet can lessen symptoms. You also may try dairy products that are lactose-free or take milk products supplemented with lactase to help with digestion.
  • Sugar substitutes. Eliminate or reduce sugar substitutes, or try a different substitute.
  • Fried or fatty foods. Dietary fat delays the clearance of gas from the intestines. Cutting back on fried or fatty foods may reduce symptoms.
  • Carbonated beverages. Avoid or reduce your intake of carbonated beverages.
  • Fiber supplements. If you use a fiber supplement, talk to your doctor about the amount and type of supplement that is best for you.
  • Water. To help prevent constipation, drink water with your meals, throughout the day and with fiber supplements.

Over-the-counter remedies

The following products may reduce gas symptoms for some people:

  • Alpha-galactosidase (Beano, BeanAssist, others) helps break down carbohydrates in beans and other vegetables. You take the supplement just before eating a meal.
  • Lactase supplements (Lactaid, Digest Dairy Plus, others) help you digest the sugar in dairy products (lactose). These reduce gas symptoms if you're lactose intolerant. Talk to your doctor before using lactase supplements if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Simethicone (Gas-X, Mylanta Gas Minis, others) helps break up the bubbles in gas and may help gas pass through your digestive tract. There is little clinical evidence of its effectiveness in relieving gas symptoms.
  • Activated charcoal (Actidose-Aqua, CharcoCaps, others) taken before and after a meal may reduce symptoms, but research has not shown a clear benefit. Also, it may interfere with your body's ability to absorb medications. Charcoal may stain the inside of your mouth and your clothing.
Jan. 06, 2022
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