How You Can Relieve Gas Fast and Have Less Gas and Bloating In the Future

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Although often used by comedy writers for an easy laugh, for many people there is nothing funny about having to deal with intestinal gas and bloating.

The experience of passing loud or smelly gas in social situations can be quite humiliating. Bloating, the sensation of increased abdominal pressure, can result in feelings of physical discomfort that range from unpleasant to debilitating.

This article will share what causes these distasteful digestive symptoms and steps you can take to get rid of gas and bloating.

Bubbles in water

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Causes of Intestinal Gas

It is normal and healthy for gas to be present throughout your digestive system.

There are two main causes of intestinal gas: swallowed air and gas that is produced by intestinal bacteria as a by-product of the digestion of certain foods.

Most swallowed air is released through burping. The rest is either absorbed in the small intestine or travels through the intestines to be released through the rectum, known as passing gas.

How to Prevent Gas and Bloating

There are things you can do to address the causes of gas.

Stop Swallowing Air

To make sure you are not swallowing an excessive amount of air:

  • Eat slowly to avoid gulping air as you are filling your belly.
  • Avoid chewing gum and eating hard candy.
  • If you wear dentures, make sure they fit properly.
  • Stop smoking.

Avoid Foods That Cause Gas

What you eat often plays a major role in the development of gas and bloating.

The foods that lead to gas can vary from person to person, but they typically contain carbohydrates and include sugars, starches, or fiber.

Common foods that cause gas

A lot of the so-called gassy foods, or foods that have a high potential for producing intestinal gas, carry many nutritional benefits.

Therefore, it is important to accurately identify the foods that your system has the most difficulty with rather than to willy-nilly cut out an entire group of foods, such as vegetables, because of their gassy reputation.

Use a food diary and keep a careful record of what you eat and whether or not you experience gas afterward. You may find that your body can handle smaller amounts of gassy food without a problem. Plus, you can enjoy​ the foods best known for keeping gas away.

Foods that may lead to gas include:

  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Onions
  • Artichokes
  • Pears
  • Wheat bread and products
  • Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Noodles
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lentils and peas

Low FODMAP diet

Researchers identified groups of compounds in foods called FODMAPs that commonly contribute to gas and bloating in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

IBS is a condition in which the colon (large intestine) is sensitive to certain triggers and leads to abdominal pain and digestive symptoms, including gas and bloating.

The low-FODMAP diet for IBS swaps high-FODMAP foods for low-FODMAP foods to try to reduce gut fermentation that may contribute to IBS symptoms.

You may not need to follow the diet all of the time, but you might benefit from choosing more low-FODMAP foods when you really need to be gas-free.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance means you cannot fully digest a milk sugar called lactose in dairy products. This happens due to low levels of the enzyme lactase needed to breakdown the lactose.

Lactose intolerance leads to gas and digestive symptoms after ingesting dairy foods.

Limit dairy to see if gas resolves. If you are lactose intolerant, you can also take enzyme supplements to replace lactase.

Fiber adjustments

Fiber-rich foods are an important part of a health diet, but a common mistake people make when trying to eat healthier is to increase fiber intake too quickly, which can result in gas and digestive symptoms.

It can also occur if you swing between eating low-fiber and high-fiber without giving your system time to adjust. The Michigan Bowel Control Program recommends adding 5 grams (g) of fiber to your daily intake every two weeks until you reach the recommended levels (25 g per day for women, 38 g per day for men).

The effects of different types of fiber also vary from person to person. Try shifting your diet slowly and use a food diary to track which fiber-rich foods may affect you the most.

Watch What You Drink

It is easy to overlook beverages when you are trying to figure out what sets your system off.

Carbonated drinks such as soda and drinks containing alcohol both have the potential for increasing intestinal gas and contributing to bloating. 

Fructose and sorbitol are sweeteners that are used in soda and some fruit drinks that can also contribute to gas.

Try to Manage Stress

Stress can affect all systems of the body, including your digestive system, and may contribute to gut discomfort or make it more noticeable, including gas.

To better manage stress, try to get a good night's sleep and get some physical activity each day. It can also be helpful to schedule some social time with a friend or important loved one.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Consult a healthcare provider if your gas and bloating is increasing without any changes in diet or you have additional symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss, heartburn, or changes in stool.

There are some medical conditions that can contribute to bloating and gas, such as:

If your healthcare provider suspects one of these conditions, additional testing may be recommended.

If you suffer from constipation, you are also more likely to experience intestinal gas and bloating. This may be because the gas gets trapped behind the excessive amounts of stool stored in the bottom parts of your colon.

Flatulence that arises may be more odorous due to it making its way around the un-passed stool.

If you deal with chronic constipation, talk to your healthcare provider about developing a treatment plan.

What to Do for Gas and Bloating

There are some strategies that you can try at home to address gas and bloating, such as taking supplements or getting some gentle exercise.

Try an Over-the-Counter Product

There are a variety of over-the-counter products (OTC) that are designed to reduce intestinal gas.

Some of these products work by providing your body with specific digestive enzymes to help you to more effectively digest certain carbohydrates, therefore reducing their availability to be broken down into gas by intestinal bacteria.

How to choose? Check your food diary! If you have difficulty with dairy products, a lactase supplement may prove helpful.

If you have difficulty with vegetables, beans, and some FODMAPs, products such as Beano (alpha-galactosidase) will help you to digest the sugars within those foods that are causing the problem.

Products containing simethicone, such as Gas-X or Mylanta, can also help with gas and bloating but they don't work for everyone.

Try a Probiotic

Often called “friendly bacteria,” probiotics are thought to help to create an optimal balance of bacteria within your intestines, helping to reduce excessive gut fermentation. They therefore may be effective in reducing intestinal gas, bloating, and excessive farting.

Herbal Capsules
Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

Probiotics can be found over the counter in your drugstore, but some of the more effective ones may require a prescription. 

Another way to add probiotics to your gut is by consuming fermented foods and drinks, such as yogurt, kefir, sourkraut, and kombucha. Such foods have been prepared in a way that encourages the growth of friendly bacteria.

Move More

Increasing your physical activity can help to relieve and prevent gas and bloating. Some light stretches or movement are sometimes all that is needed to help relieve gas.

Go for a walk or bike ride or try stretching a few times a week.

Treat Constipation

If you deal with chronic constipation, talk to your healthcare provider about developing a treatment plan.

You may want to explore bowel retraining for constipation, which can help to regulate and encourage regular bowel movements.

Summary

Swallowed air and the foods that you eat can contribute to gas and bloating.

The foods most likely to cause gas and bloating vary from person to person so it may take some careful tracking and experimentation, such as removing and reintroducing certain foods, in order to identify your biggest gas triggers.

If you also suffer from constipation or additional symptoms along with gas and bloating, you should see a healthcare provider who may recommend a treatment plan or additional testing for conditions such as acid reflux or celiac disease.

A Word From Verywell

If you have the unfortunate experience of passing unwanted gas while in the presence of others, remember that although this is embarrassing it is not the end of the world. Everyone passes gas! It is helpful to keep in mind that it is simply what bodies do.

Just say “excuse me” and get on with your day. By handling the situation with grace and dignity, you also serve as a role model for those around you should the situation happen to them someday (and it will!).

15 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Barbara Bolen, PhD
Barbara Bolen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and health coach. She has written multiple books focused on living with irritable bowel syndrome.