Flatulence isn’t much fun for the person experiencing it, nor for anyone else that may be around them. Though the idea of passing gas may seem embarrassing to some, everyone has gas. In fact, most people pass gas an average of 10 times per day, and some even pass gas up to 20 times per day.1
It’s a natural part of our digestive process, making it nothing to be ashamed of. If you are looking for ways to prevent gas and bloating from occurring more frequently, keep reading.
For those that feel like they have excessive gas, or are just curious how to reduce gas and bloating, these tips can help. We explore in further detail exactly what flatulence is and its common causes, as well as provide suggestions that could help you learn how to prevent gas.
What is flatulence (gas)?
You may know the sensations of passing gas or being bloated, but it may be useful to understand exactly how flatulence occurs within the body. Flatulence is the passage of intestinal gas (flatus) through the rectum, which usually comes from two sources: swallowed air or the processing of intestinal bacteria on undigested food.2 Many common symptoms of gas or gas pains include:
- Pain or cramps
- A feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen
- Passing gas
Burping and passing gas are normal to experience, especially during or right after eating a meal, and are not be cause for concern.
Foods that could be causing gas
If you’re trying to understand how to prevent gas, then you may want to consider the types of foods you’re consuming. Some common examples of foods that tend to cause gas include:
- Foods containing fructose. You will find fructose in a variety of fruits, including figs, dates, prunes, pears and grapes.2
- High-fiber diets. Though fiber is essential to a healthy digestive system, it can be the cause of excessive gas. Fiber can be found in a variety of foods, including beans, peas, oat bran, and even some fruits.2 The reason foods high in fiber can cause excessive gas is because the small intestine can’t break down certain compounds that fibrous foods contain, which means extra work for the gas-producing intestinal bacteria. In order to reduce gas and bloating, consider eating meals with a lot of fiber slowly to allow the bowels enough time to thoroughly break down the compounds.4
- Dairy products with lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk.2 Those that are lactose intolerant have a hard time digesting milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products that may contain lactose.2 So, if someone does digest lactose they could experience excessive amounts of intestinal gas because the bacteria of the gut digest the sugars by fermentation, which is a gas-creating process.4
- Digesting air along with food and liquid. Whenever you’re consuming food or liquids, you’re also digesting small quantities of air. The combination of oxygen and nitrogen from the swallowed air is then absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine. Any excess air usually exits through the bowel, which produces gas.4 Even doing things like smoking or drinking fizzy sodas may allow for excess air to enter into your bloodstream.1
Tips on reducing gas and bloating
While it’s impossible to completely avoid flatulence or bloating, there are ways you can help prevent some gas by modifying your eating habits and diet.
- Eat and drink slowly. We often find ourselves rushing through our meals, trying to get ready to do the next thing. However, eating and digesting food fast could be the reason you’re experiencing so much gas. So, for a few days, try to really savor each bite, chewing slowly and giving yourself enough time to really digest your food.2
- Avoid consuming foods that may be causing flatulence. Take a break from high-fiber foods, cruciferous vegetables, and carbonated beverages. This may help you determine which foods are triggering more extreme bouts of flatulence and which foods are safe for you to continue consuming.2
If you are experiencing flatulence that also brings on abdominal discomfort, significant bloating or a sudden change in your bowel habits, then you may want to consider contacting your doctor.2 For example, if either constipation or diarrhea occurs over a period of time, this could be a sign of a more serious condition. Talk with your doctor if the steps you’ve taken to reduce gas and bloating have not worked.
If you’re experiencing discomfort and bloating due to gas, Gas-X Extra Strength Chewables may help. These tablets come in two great flavors, and contain simethicone that can help alleviate uncomfortable gas and bloating.
- Gas/Bloating. https://mygi.health/education/symptoms/bloating. Accessed on 4/2/2021. Referenced text indicated in source PDF.
- Gas (Flatulence). https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/gas-flatulence-a-to-z. Accessed on 4/2/2021. Referenced text indicated in source PDF.
- Gas and Gas Pains. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gas-and-gas-pains/symptoms-causes/syc-20372709. Accessed on 4/2/2021. Referenced text indicated in source PDF.
- Flatulence. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/flatulence. Access on 4/2/2021. Referenced text indicated in source PDF.