4 Moves to Relieve Gas

Passing gas is as normal and unavoidable as breathing. In fact, according to an oft-cited study from 1991, the average adult passes gas at least 14 times a day. However, even though everyone does it, passing gas can be a source of embarrassment, sometimes even discomfort.

Though a variety of over-the-counter medications can be used to reduce gas, many of them aren't suitable for long-term use. Luckily just a little physical activity can help move gas and ease any discomfort you may be experiencing.

Get On Your Feet

Mother and son leaving for a walk at front door

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Taking a walk can sometimes be all it takes to relieve gas and bloating in the short-term. According to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, mild physical activity can help move intestinal gas and eliminate uncomfortable abdominal bloating. At least 30 minutes of exercise three or four days a week should be plenty to keep the bloating and burps at bay.

Lie on Your Side

Young woman sleeping on sofa

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This simple move may be especially effective in releasing gas trapped in the lower intestine. On a bed, sofa, or the floor, lie on your side and gently draw both knees toward your chest. If you don't get relief after several minutes, try slowly moving your legs down and up a few times. If you're limber enough to do this comfortably or without causing more pain, try using your hands to pull your knees closer to your chest.

Squat

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Squats are good for more than building strong thighs and gluteal (butt) muscles: Lowering yourself into this position can help relieve gas. Start with your feet hip-width apart and facing forward. Put your hands on your hips or hold on to the back of a sturdy chair, then slowly bend your knees until your rear end is close to the floor.

Place your hands on the tops of your thighs (or continue to hold onto the chair) and stay in this position until you feel the gas start to move. Note: This position may cause the need to have a bowel movement so make sure you can easily get to a bathroom if necessary.

See a Doctor

Massage Therapist palpating the abdomen

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Intestinal gas is rarely a sign of a medical problem. Again, it's a normal by-product of digestion. But according to the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians (ACOFP), there are a handful of conditions that are associated with an increase in gas. These conditions include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), lactose intolerance, and celiac disease.

For this reason, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) advises seeing a doctor about gas if:

  • It really bothers you.
  • It becomes more frequent or intense or changes in some other way suddenly.
  • It's accompanied by other symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhea, bloody stool, or weight loss.

Otherwise, measures such as changing your diet to exclude foods known to cause gas, such as milk, beans, and cruciferous vegetables, kicking the habit (if you smoke), giving up chewing gum and drinking through straws (both of which introduce air into the body), and getting more exercise, should help to keep the amount of gas you experience each day to a minimum.

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  1. Katz LC, Just R, Castell DO. Body position affects recumbent postprandial reflux. J Clin Gastroenterol. 1994;18(4):280-283. doi:10.1097/00004836-199406000-00004

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