It’s uncomfortable. It’s embarrassing. And there’s no way to prevent it. Flatulence may be socially unacceptable, but it’s a natural by-product of digestion. The average person, in fact, passes gas eight to twenty times a day.
Even though you can’t stop gas entirely, there are ways to reduce its frequency. Here’s how.
Pour a cup of tea. Herbal teas have been used for thousands of years to aid digestion. Natural healers often recommend mint, sage, or anise tea for digestive complaints, including gas.
Drink milk with caution . It doesn’t bother everyone, but some people have trouble digesting a sugar (called lactose) in milk cheese, and other dairy foods. This condition, called lactose intolerance, is a very common cause of gas. You may get some relief simply by cutting back on dairy foods. Many people, however, will have to give them up entirely. Another alternative is to take supplements containing lactase, an enzyme that helps people digest the lactose found in dairy foods.
Stick with the real thing . Sugar may not be the best thing for your waistline, but it’s better that artificial sweetener when it comes to your digestion. Doctors have estimated that many people have trouble digesting artificial sweeteners used in sugar free foods, such as candies and gum.. in fact, the amount of artificial sweeteners in just five sticks of gum may cause gas and diarrhea in some people.
Breathe slowly . Many people routinely swallow large amounts of air, especially while eating. That extra air has to go somewhere – and out it goes, many times a day. To make sure that the air you breathe goes into your lungs and not into your stomach, doctors recommend breathing slowly through your nose rather than gulping air through your mouth. Chewing food more slowly and not chomping away at your gum also can reduce the amount of air that gets inside. Some experts suggest giving up carbonated drinks, as well, because all those bubbles may cause flatulence, too.
Experiment with your diet . If you find yourself constantly battling flatulence, do some experimenting to find the cause. May be it’s not the salad, but the radishes that are causing problems. Perhaps it’s not the pasta and sauce, but the extra garlic you’ve added. By becoming a food sleuth, you’ll learn to eat strategically to avoid gas attacks.
Eat fiber. Even though dietary fiber is very good for your health, it can cause flatulence in people who aren’t yet used to it. If you’ just begun adding more fruits, vegetables, and other higher fiber foods to your diet, do yourself a favor and make the addition slowly. If you give your body time to get used to this news substance, you’re less likely to have a problem with gas.
Eat sitting up. When you’re having problems with gas, don’t take your meals while reclining on the couch. Reclining or slouching when you eat can put bends in the digestive tract that make it hard for gas to escape upward – so it goes out the other way. Sitting straight, on the other hand, allows gas in your stomach to exit in a less embarrassing way, through the mouth.
Talk to your pharmacist. There are a number of over the counter products that can help prevent gas. One you may want to try is called Beano. It contains an enzyme that breaks down sugars in the digestive tract, which helps to prevent gas from forming. Or you might want to try products containing simethicone, such as Alvizyme or Dizec which can help break up gas bubbles in the digestive tract.