When discussing gas, much attention is often given to embarrassing noises and unpleasant smells. While these aspects are indeed bothersome, the discomfort of gas pain is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the entire experience. Even among young children who might find gas amusing as a bodily phenomenon, experiencing actual pain is not enjoyable.
The reassuring aspect is that experiencing gas is a natural part of having a human body, so you’re not alone in managing it. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average person passes gas around 20 times a day. However, while gas is normal, coping with severe gas pain is not. You don’t have to endure it silently and attempt to push through. Instead, it’s advisable to address gas pain promptly to prevent it from disrupting your life.
Tips to get rid of gas and accompanying symptoms
If adjusting your diet doesn’t entirely resolve the issue, there are several options available:
- Peppermint: Research indicates that peppermint tea or supplements can alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as gas. However, consult your doctor before starting supplements, as peppermint may interfere with iron absorption and certain medications, and could cause heartburn in some individuals. Follow the dosage instructions on supplement labels, or drink one cup of peppermint tea before each meal for optimal results.
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea is known to reduce indigestion, trapped gas, and bloating. Consuming chamomile tea before meals and bedtime may alleviate symptoms for some individuals.
- Activated charcoal: Over-the-counter activated charcoal medication helps eliminate trapped gas in the colon. Take tablets before and one hour after meals.
- Apple cider vinegar: Drinking diluted apple cider vinegar before meals or up to three times daily may combat bacteria responsible for abdominal gas accumulation and discomfort.
- Physical activity: Engaging in exercise can help release trapped gas and alleviate gas pain. Walking after meals is particularly beneficial, while jumping rope, running, or walking may help expel gas if pain occurs.
- Lactase supplements: Individuals with lactose intolerance can benefit from lactase supplements, which aid in digesting lactose found in milk.
- Cloves: Clove oil, known for producing digestive enzymes, may reduce bloating and gas. Add two to five drops to an 8-ounce glass of water and consume after meals.
- Over-the-counter medications: Simethicone is an OTC medication that consolidates gas bubbles in the stomach, making them easier to expel. Beano, another OTC digestive aid, helps break down sugars in beans and certain vegetables. Consult your doctor before using these medications, especially if you’re taking other medications or pregnant.
- Prescription medications: Your doctor may prescribe medications depending on the cause of your abdominal gas, such as those for GERD, IBS, or IBD.
- Diet: If an underlying medical condition isn’t the cause, dietary changes may alleviate gas. Keeping a food diary can help identify problematic foods such as high-fat or high-fiber foods, carbonated beverages, beans, and lentils, allowing you to modify your diet accordingly.
Conditions that cause gas, pains, and bloating
Several conditions can lead to excess gas production. These conditions include:
- Lactose intolerance
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Peptic ulcer
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Ways to relieve gas pain
Given your likely curiosity about alleviating gas pain, we regret to inform you that there’s no single magic remedy that can instantly eliminate any discomfort you may be feeling. As Dr. Staller puts it, “Figuring out how to cure gas is the holy grail for us.” Nevertheless, there are a few strategies you can experiment with to either alleviate the gas or, at the very least, improve your comfort level.
Sip a glass of water slowly
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