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Intestinal Gas Treatment

by Brad McHargue
  • Overview

    Typically, people pass gas (called flatulence) up to a dozen times a day. At times, however, the gas can smell bad and result in abdominal pain. While intestinal gas is inevitable, its severity and frequency can be reduced.
  • Causes

    Excessive bouts of painful and foul smelling intestinal gas are primarily caused by the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates in the colon by bacteria. Other causes include foods high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains; underlying health conditions such as Crohn's disease or inflammatory bowel disease; antibiotics; an intolerance to certain foods, such as lactose; and some artificial food additives such as sorbitol. Pain results when the body is unable to expel the gas and it builds up in the intestine.
  • Medical Treatment

    Over-the-counter treatments include: Beano, which is taken with beans and vegetables to diminish their gas-producing effect. Take it with your first bite of food. It works best when you only have small amounts of gas in your body. A lactase supplement such as Lactaid, which helps people who have trouble digesting lactose. If a supplement does not work, consume lactose-free products or eliminating lactose altogether. Simethicone, an ingredient in medications such as Mylanta and Gas-X. It reduces the bubbles in intestinal gas and counters excessive belching. Activated charcoal, taken in the form of tablets. Examples include Charcoal Plus and CharcoCaps, which are typically taken before and after a meal.
  • Lifestyle Treatment

    Identify which foods might contribute to your gas and slowly eliminate or reduce them from your diet. If culprits include fruits and vegetables, find vitamin supplements. Eliminate fatty foods, which can cause pressure on the digestive system. Reduce or moderate fiber intake to help prevent gas build up. Remedies include warm peppermint tea, as peppermint has an antispasmodic effect on the colon. Regular exercise helps regulate the digestive tract. Eating smaller portions at a slower pace reduces pressure on your stomach. As swallowing excessive air is a major gas contributor, chew thoroughly and, if you smoke, quit.

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