How to Prevent Gas and Bloating

Tips to Reduce Excessive Flatulence

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Excessive gas and bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It is normal to pass gas several times per day, but excessive gas, especially when it is associated with a feeling of fullness and discomfort, can be an unnecessary distraction for you. Most of the time, gas and bloating are not caused by any serious medical condition, and you can make some changes to reduce your symptoms—even if they are caused by a medical problem.

What's Normal?

If you pass gas between 10 to 20 times per day, this is considered completely normal. You are more likely to pass gas when you are going to have a bowel movement, but it is also normal to pass gas at any time throughout the day.

If you experience uncomfortable bloating, or if you notice that frequent episodes of particularly smelly gas that are interfering with your day and your interaction with others, you may have a medical problem that treatment could help address. Even if such an issue is not to blame, you may want to reduce your symptoms, at least for times when you are around others.

These tips can help.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you have frequent stomach upset, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, or burping, you could have an undiagnosed gastrointestinal issue that can be managed with a special diet or with medication, such as inflammatory bowel disease.

You may also experience gas and bloating if you have thyroid disease, diabetes, an infection, or as a side effect of a medication.

Identify Food Sensitivities

You may notice that you are gassier and bloated after eating a specific type of food. An allergy, intolerance, or food sensitivity can trigger symptoms, including stomach upset, pain, nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

Lactose intolerance, which is caused by a lack of lactase, an enzyme that breaks down the lactose sugar in dairy products, is a very common cause of gas an bloating.

Try to watch for foods that make you gassy and see if avoiding them reduces the problem.

Adjust Your Diet

Certain foods contribute to gassiness for almost everybody. The most common culprits are dairy products, beans, and fiber-rich vegetables and grains. They contain components that are not fully digested and interact with intestinal bacteria, with gas as a byproduct.

Many of the foods that commonly cause gas are healthy, such as legumes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms, onions, apples, peaches, pears, bran, whole wheat, yogurt, and cheese. In your effort to reduce gas, be sure you replace any foods you eliminate or reduce with other good-for-you options.

Change What You Drink

Carbonated beverages are a common cause of gas and burping. The carbon dioxide infused into carbonated beverages is a gas, and when it goes into your digestive system, it has to come out as a gas, too. You might feel bloated as the carbon dioxide is passing through your digestive system, or gas may come out shortly after you drink as a series of burps.

Sugary fruit drinks, and drinks with high fructose corn syrup, which are not considered particularly nutritious, also commonly cause gas and bloating.

Finally, alcohol damages the liver, altering your digestive enzymes and interfering with digestion. This can lead to gas, burping, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, and diarrhea.

Take Gas Medicine

Sometimes, medication can help reduce gas and bloating. There are a number of over-the-counter medications for gas, and you can usually get some relief.

Some people use these medications when they know they will be in a gas-inducing situation (or one in which they especially want to avoid passing gas), such as a social gathering or a professional meeting.

If you have a medical condition that predisposes you to gas and excessive bloating, your doctor may give you a prescription for medication to reduce your symptoms.

Try Probiotics

Some people use probiotics, as a pill supplement or a dietary additive, to relieve the symptoms of gas and bloating. The evidence for its effectiveness is not consistent, and it may be useful for some situations more than others. That said, they are considered safe and you may find them worth a try.

Quit Smoking

Smoking affects the muscle function in your esophagus, stomach, and intestines, causing gas, bloating, and indigestion. Quitting is important for everyone, but it's particular important if a medical condition is the cause of your gas.

Avoid Swallowing Air

Some people notice that habits associated with swallowing excessive air—eating too quickly, talking while eating, chewing gum, using a straw, and sucking on hard candies—can increase gas and bloating.

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