Treatment of gas or flatulence aims to reduce discomfort and symptoms. Treatment involves self-care and diet changes, taking medicines and reducing the amount of air swallowed. Your doctor will prescribe medicines if flatulence and other symptoms are severe.
Diet changes: Flatulence is most often caused because of foods that one eats and sometimes, by habits that cause a person to swallow air. Avoiding problematic foods in the diet are important to prevent excessive gas. Some of the problematic foods include those that are high in unabsorbable carbohydrates. Some foods high in unabsorbable carbohydrates include:
- apples and
- brussels sprouts.
Eating a healthy balanced diet, which includes at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day is important. Your doctor or dietician can help you choose foods to avoid. Some foods that contain carbohydrates and are easy to digest include:
- citrus fruits, such as oranges and
As different people react differently to certain foods, even when you eat foods that usually do not cause gas, you may continue to experience flatulence. Keeping a food diary can help you to find out the foods that make your symptoms better or worse. Besides changes in what you eat, eating six small meals a day rather than three large ones can also be helpful. Eating small meals makes it easy to digest and help produce less gas.
When eating, chew your food properly and make sure that you eat slowly. This helps reducing the amount of air that you may swallow, thereby improving digestion. Avoid chewing gum as it makes one swallow more air than usual.
Doing exercises regularly improves the functioning of digestive system and bowel movements. It also improves symptoms, such as bloating and clearing of gas. Exercising for 20 to 30 minutes on most days of the week is adequate.
Quit smoking if you are a smoker as it can cause you to swallow more air than usual. In addition to the likelihood of swallowing more air, tobacco smoke has substances that can irritate the digestive system.
Medication and other remedies
If diet and lifestyle changes do not improve gas and bloating, you may need medicines. Several over-the-counter remedies are available to help treat symptoms of flatulence. Some medications that are useful for gas include:
- Alpha-galactosidase: It is a dietary supplement, which has been shown to improve digestion of carbohydrates and reduce the symptoms of flatulence.
- Charcoal tablets: Charcoal absorbs gas in the digestive system and reduces the symptoms of flatulence.
- Probiotics: Probiotics can encourage the growth of 'friendly bacteria' in your digestive system. As 'friendly bacteria' aid digestion, probiotics can reduce the symptoms of gas and flatulence.