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How can I Control Flatulence?

By Anne Kostuchik
Updated May 17, 2024
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A person can control flatulence, or intestinal gas, primarily by changing his diet. Reactions to food can be as varied as people; eliminating certain gas-producing foods one at a time can help a person more accurately determine the cause. Foods that tend to produce gas in most people include vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, and broccoli; whole grains, such as corn, wheat, rice, and oats; and legumes, such as beans, lentils, and peanuts.

Air that is swallowed and not burped up is another cause of flatulence that usually happens when food is eaten too quickly. Food that is chewed slowly, thoroughly, and completely helps reduce the amount of air swallowed. This also allows the enzymes in saliva to break the food down, making it easier to digest.

A diet high in fiber is recommended to control flatulence and aid in the digestion process; however, if introduced too quickly, fiber can cause an increase in flatulence. The amount of gas and bloating — when the abdomen feels unnaturally large — caused by eating fiber-rich foods should decrease over time. Foods high in fiber include most fruits, such as bananas, apricots, peaches, and strawberries, as well as items made with brown rice, oat bran, whole wheat, and black beans.

While having some gas every day is normal, excessive flatulence is not. Gas naturally occurs in the stomach and intestines as food is broken down into energy. Most people don't feel a need to control flatulence, since the average person passes gas anywhere from six to 20 times a day. A person suffering from excessive gas and bloating might find relief by taking medicine containing simethicone, an anti-foaming agent that works by dissolving gas bubbles.

A person with an intolerance to lactose — the sugar found in milk and most dairy products — is deficient in lactase, the enzyme responsible for digesting lactose. People who are low in lactase can suffer from gas and bloating when they consume dairy products. Lactase enzyme supplements taken before a meal can facilitate normal digestion when eating foods containing lactose. Before taking any medication, a person with lactose intolerance should check with a doctor to determine the best course of action.

Making the digestive process easier can reduce the amount of gas produced. Some doctors suggest sitting up straight while eating; this allows food to pass smoothly through the intestines. The smoother the digestive process, the more completely food can digest and the less gas may be likely to develop. Maintaining a balanced diet, cutting out carbonated drinks, and eating smaller meals also can help control flatulence.

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