The 8 Best Gas Medicines of 2021

Over-the-counter options for the most common causes of cramps and bloating.

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First Look

Best Overall: Gas-X Extra Strength Softgel at Amazon

"Easy-to-swallow, extra-strength gel capsules powered with simethicone, a doctor-recommended anti-gas medicine."

Best for After-Dinner Relief: Beano Ultra 800 Tablets at Amazon

"A supplement of digestive enzyme alpha-galactosidase, which your stomach needs to break down complex carbohydrates more effectively."

Best for Lactose Intolerance: Lactaid-Fast Act Lactase Enzyme Supplement at Amazon

"Formulated with simethicone specifically to help alleviate pain."

Best for Multi-Symptom Relief: Imodium Multi-Symptom Relief Caplets at Amazon

"Uses a potent combination of active ingredients to tackle excessive gas and bloating along with diarrhea and cramps."

Best for Stomach Aches: Pepto Bismol LiquiCaps at Amazon

"Effective in remedying excessive gas experienced in conjunction with an upset stomach."

Best Gummy: Alka-Seltzer Heartburn + Gas Relief Chews at Amazon

"For folks who struggle with swallowing pills, a tasty gummy that helps relieve excessive gas, heartburn, acid indigestion, and more."

Best Charcoal: CharcoCaps Activated Charcoal Detox & Digestive Relief at walgreens.com

"A 100 percent natural way to alleviate gas, bloating and discomfort."

Best Tea: Traditional Medicinals Organic Gas Relief Digestive Tea at Amazon

"Combines the powers of chamomile and peppermint, two known gas-relieving herbs, to help soothe gas-related bloating and discomfort."

Gas is a normal component of the digestive system. It accumulates as you swallow air when you eat and drink, and it can form in the large intestine as bacteria work to break down carbohydrates like fiber, some starches, and some sugars that aren't digested in your small intestine. Passing the remaining gas that bacteria doesn’t consume is just a fact of life—the average person passes gas between 10 and 20 times per day.

However, when excessive gas gets trapped in the gastrointestinal tract, the resulting side effects are far from pleasant. Anyone who has experienced bouts of cramping, bloating, and distention due to gas knows how painful and disruptive excessive gas can be. Luckily, there are plenty of over-the-counter medicine options that can help relieve excessive gas quickly, as well as the side effects that come along with it.

Different OTC remedies help with excessive gas typically caused by eating different kinds of food and large quantities of food. With that said, they do not treat chronic conditions for which excess gas can be a symptom, such as irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease. If gas or gas pains are so persistent that they impact your ability to function normally each day, speak with your doctor about potential root causes and a more suitable treatment plan.

Best Overall: Gas-X Extra Strength Softgel

Gas-X Extra Strength Softgel

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Relatively few side effects

  • Safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • Fast-acting

  • No contraindications

Cons
  • Can cause allergic reactions

  • Can decrease the absorption of thyroid medications

These easy-to-swallow, extra-strength gel capsules are powered with simethicone, a doctor-recommended anti-gas medicine. Simethicone is an anti-foaming agent that helps reduce the buildup of gas in the stomach and intestines responsible for gas pressure, bloating, and discomfort. It’s an effective remedy for excessive gas resulting from eating a wide range of foods and some users report that they begin experiencing relief in a matter of minutes.

Gas-X is a top doctor-recommended brand of simethicone-based gas relief. If you’re uncomfortable with swallowing a small softgel, you can achieve the same relief in Gas-X’s chewables formula.

Active Ingredients: Simethicone | Dose: 1 or 2 tablets as needed. Don’t exceed 4 in 24 hours (500 milligrams) | Uses: Relieve pressure, bloating, and fullness due to gas

In pregnancy, the hormonal effects, particularly from progesterone, slows the digestive system by relaxing the smooth muscles. As such, there is an increase in bloating and gas, as food moves slower through the gut. Gas-X is commonly utilized in pregnancy because simethicone works by breaking up surface gas bubbles in the intestine and it isn’t absorbed into the body or excreted in breast milk. Kecia Gaither, M.D., double board-certified OB/Gyn and doctor of Maternal Fetal Medicine, director of perinatal services at NYC Health and Hospitals, Lincoln.

Best for After-Dinner Relief: Beano Ultra 800 Tablets

Pros
  • Works to prevent gas before it occurs

  • Vegetarian-friendly

  • Can be taken with every meal

  • No documented side effects or contraindications

Cons
  • Not as effective if taken after meal

  • Need to be stored before 77 degrees or enzyme can get inactivated in heat

  • Can cause allergic reaction

If you find that your meals including beans, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains are followed shortly by episodes of excessive gas, Beano might be the best solution for you. The active ingredient in Beano is actually a digestive enzyme called alpha-galactosidase, which your stomach needs to break down complex carbohydrates in certain foods more effectively. By taking two Beano tablets before mealtime, you prepare your digestive system to better handle the contents on your plate, resulting in less bloating and discomfort from gas.

Beano’s formula is gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly, and the manufacturer reports that it provides 33% more gas-preventing power than the leading store brand.

Active Ingredients: Alpha-galactosidase enzyme | Dose: 2-3 tablets right before you eat a meal | Uses: Helps break down complex carbohydrates found in beans, vegetables, and whole grains so they don’t cause gas

Alpha-galactosidase (in Beano) is an enzyme that works with your digestive tract to break down the complex carbohydrates that are found in beans, vegetables and whole grains, and makes them more easily digestible before reaching the colon. Overall, the alpha-galactosidase enzyme works to prevent gas before it even occurs. —Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, pharmacist

Best for Lactose Intolerance: Lactaid-Fast Act Lactase Enzyme Supplement

Pros
  • Fast-acting

  • Few side effects

  • Kosher

Cons
  • Must be kept away from heat and humidity

  • Not effective against gas that doesn’t come from lactose

The severity and symptoms of lactose intolerance and dairy sensitivity can vary greatly depending on the person, but excessive gas is a common symptom for many. Lactaid is a well-respected brand known for helping folks with dairy issues enjoy their meals and the hours thereafter more comfortably. The active ingredient is a hefty dose of the digestive enzyme lactase, which helps the stomach break down lactose (milk sugar) more efficiently. Simply take an easy-to-swallow Lactaid capsule before a dairy-containing meal and enjoy your food free of stress and discomfort.

This Lactaid product is certified kosher, and it’s safe for both adults and children ages 4 and up. If you aren’t comfortable swallowing a capsule, this product also comes in a vanilla-flavored chewable.

Active Ingredients: Lactase enzyme, sodium | Dose: 1-2 caplets with a bite of dairy food, take 1 more 30-45 minutes later if symptoms continue | Uses: Aid with digestion of dairy products containing lactose

If the gas is due to lactose intolerance, lactase (which is in Lactaid) can be taken to help with symptoms. Lactase is an enzyme that is naturally produced in our bodies. However, people who have lactose intolerance are not able to produce this enzyme that helps with digestion of dairy products —Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, pharmacist

Best for Multi-Symptom Relief: Imodium Multi-Symptom Relief Caplets

Pros
  • Can be used by adults and children over age 12

  • Relieves both diarrhea and gas-related symptoms

Cons
  • Can cause tiredness, drowsiness or dizziness

  • May interact with certain prescription drugs

  • Must be taken on an empty stomach

When excessive gas, bloating, and discomfort are paired with diarrhea and cramps, you need a combination of active ingredients to tackle your symptoms—and that’s where this Imodium formula comes in. The caplets use simethicone to treat gas and bloating and loperamide hydrochloride to treat loose stools acutely.

This product is one of the few on the OTC market that combines these two ingredients to provide safe and effective multi-symptom relief, and can be taken by both adults and children ages 12 and up.

Active Ingredients: Loperamide HCI, Simethicone | Dose: Adults and children over 12: 2 caplets after first loose stool, 1 caplet after subsequent stool but no more than 4 caplets in 24 hours | Uses: Relieve symptoms of diarrhea and bloating, pressure, or cramps due to gas

Best for Stomach Aches: Pepto Bismol LiquiCaps

Pros
  • Rapid relief

Cons
  • Can’t use if you have bleeding problems, stomach ulcer, or if allergic to aspirin

  • Can cause side effects, including black or darkened tongue, darker stool, and constipation

A mainstay in the world of OTC tummy trouble relief, Pepto Bismol can be effective in remedying excessive gas experienced in conjunction with an upset stomach. Similar to Imodium, it helps treat diarrhea, but it does so in a different way with a different active ingredient. Bismuth subsalicylate functions both as an upset stomach reliever and an anti-diarrheal, helping to soothe a stomach ache, relieve indigestion and gas, and bring an end to diarrhea. So if you’re experiencing several of these symptoms, Pepto Bismol LiquiCaps can provide fast, safe, and effective relief.

Many users like the capsule form because it makes it easier to take the medicine while on the move. However, if you would rather not swallow a capsule, you can explore Pepto Bismol’s pharmacist-recommended line of liquid medicines instead.

Active Ingredients: Bismuth Subsalicylate | Dose: 2 LiquiCaps every half hour as needed. Do not exceed 8 doses in 24 hours | Uses: Coat upset stomach, calm heartburn and nausea, and relieve indigestion and diarrhea

Best Gummy: Alka-Seltzer Heartburn + Gas Relief Chews

Pros
  • Fast relief

  • Chewable with non-chalky, tropical flavor

Cons
  • Ingredients can cause allergic reactions

  • Can cause constipation

For folks who struggle with swallowing pills, these tasty gummies from Alka-Seltzer can help relieve excessive gas while providing fast heartburn relief. The non-chalky chewable formula contains calcium carbonate, a common ingredient for reducing excessive stomach acid that leads to heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach. Simply chew and swallow one or two gummies as you experience symptoms, and feel them get to work quickly. 

The chews come in a tropical punch flavor and are easier to travel with than traditional Alka-Seltzer tablets that require a glass of water. They are suitable for adults and children ages 12 and up.

Active Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Simethicone | Dose: Chew then swallow 1-2 tablets as symptoms occur. Do not take more than 6 tablets in 24 hours. Do not take maximum dosage for more than 2 weeks | Uses: Relieve heartburn, upset stomach, gas, pressure and bloating

Best Charcoal: CharcoCaps Activated Charcoal Detox & Digestive Relief

Charcocaps
Pros
  • Safe for long-term and daily use

  • Not irritating for stomach

  • Fast relief

Cons
  • May absorb other medications

  • Will absorb a small amount of food’s nutrients

Some people swear by activated charcoal as a natural supplement to alleviate their gas, bloating and discomfort. Commonly used in emergency medicine to help treat drug overdoses, activated charcoal traps toxins and prevents absorption. Research on activated charcoal for gas relief is limited, but it appears to be a safe and effective short-term solution for gas relief.

The CharcoCaps formula is made of 100% natural activated charcoal and free of yeast, corn, soy, gluten, milk, salt, sugar, starch, and preservatives, so it is safe for people with all sorts of dietary preferences. If you use activated charcoal frequently, be aware that common side effects can include tongue discoloration, black stools, and constipation.

Active Ingredients: Activated charcoal | Dose: 2 capsules with water, preferably before meals | Uses: Binds to unwanted gas and absorbs it for gas relief

Best Tea: Traditional Medicinals Organic Gas Relief Digestive Tea

Pros
  • Natural gas relief

  • Can’t overdose

  • Rehydrating

Cons
  • No proven effectiveness

Another natural gas relief option is drinking a carefully curated herbal tea. These tea bags from Traditional Medicinals combine the powers of chamomile and peppermint, two known gas-relieving herbs, to help soothe gas-related bloating and discomfort. The formula also includes caraway fruit, coriander fruit, and lemon balm leaf to further soothe the stomach. It’s aromatic and minty with subtle notes of spice, calming your senses as you bring pointed relief to your digestive system. 

And unlike the other options on this list, you can enjoy as much tea as you like without fear of overdoing it with certain pharmaceuticals. You also help to rehydrate your body, which can be beneficial in the fight against bloating as well.

Active Ingredients: Chamomile and peppermint | Dose: Drink tea as often as needed | Uses: To relieve symptoms of gas and bloating

Studies on digestive and herbal teas are still in the works. Currently, there isn’t enough evidence to support the use of tea for gas relief. —Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, pharmacist

Final Verdict

When it comes to gas medicine, Gas-X Extra Strength Softgels (view at Amazon) are your best bet for overall relief. Their gel formula helps quickly relieve bloating and stomach pain from most foods. If you're reluctant to try a pill, Alka-Seltzer Heartburn + Gas Relief Chews (view at Amazon) are a great tasting option that offer the same gas relief in a tasty, chewable gummy.

“Simethicone (in Gas-x) treats pain and pressure of excess gas in the stomach and intestines. It works by decreasing the surface tension of gas bubbles; this disperses and prevents gas pockets.”Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, pharmacist and co-founder of online pharmacy Honeybee Health

What to Look for in Gas Relief Medicine

Ingredients:

Gas relief isn't a one-size-fits-all medication. The most popular gas medicines on the market use different ingredients, depending on the need they fill. For example, if you're lactose intolerant, you'll want to look for products that include the digestive enzyme lactase. If you're not sure what ingredient will best suit your needs, talk to your doctor.

Form:

Gas medication is available in different forms, so if you're hesitant to swallow pills, there are other options you can resort to. Gummies, teas, and caplets are some of the most popular forms, so it's easy to find a medication you enjoy taking.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can gas medicine cause constipation?

    It depends on the gas medicine you use. Gas-x, Beano, and Lactaid “should not cause constipation,” says Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, pharmacist and co-founder of online pharmacy Honeybee Health. “There are few side effects reported with these medications.” There are also no clinical studies indicating that CharcoCaps cause constipation and herbal teas shouldn’t either. 

    However, some of the other medications, including Imodium Multi-Symptom Relief Caplets, Pepto Bismol LiquiCaps, and Alka-Seltzer have been known to cause constipation for some people. If you experience this side effect, stop using the medication and contact your doctor. 

  • Does gas medicine help with diarrhea?

    Most simple active ingredient products, such as Gas-X and Beano, won’t help with diarrhea, though Lactaid can since it helps improve the digestion of dairy products. 

    Imodium Multi-Symptom does help with diarrhea though because it contains loperamide as an active ingredient, which is an anti-diarrheal. Pepto-Bismol also helps treat diarrhea, though with a different active ingredient: bismuth subsalicylate. Choose an anti-gas medicine carefully if you are experiencing more than one symptom. Not all of them treat the same thing. 

  • Can you take gas medicine while pregnant or breastfeeding?

    It depends on the gas medicine because not all gas medicines have been studied for use with pregnant or breastfeeding women. That’s why it’s always recommended that you speak to your doctor when you’re pregnant before taking an over-the-counter medication. 

    However, according to the American Gastroenterological Association, Simethicone, the active ingredient in Gas-X, is generally considered safe for pregnant women. The reason why it’s generally considered safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding women is that it works by breaking up gas bubbles in your intestine but isn’t actually absorbed into your body, so it won’t pass to the baby in utero or through breast milk. 

Why Trust Verywell Health?

As a seasoned health writer, Alena Hall understands how important it is to know exactly what you’re getting in a product intended for medical use. Over the years, she has reviewed dozens of products, from athletic recovery aids to condition-specific products to homeopathic essential oils, to help readers like you discover products that can help you live your best life.

Additional reporting to this story by Simone Scully

Simone Scully is a New York-based writer and editor with years of experience writing about health, wellness, science, and lifestyle. Her byline has appeared at Healthline, Well+Good, Romper, Motherifigure’s magazine, Nautilus, Narratively, AskMen, among other places.

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Article Sources
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