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Secrets to Gas Control

Consider a Supplement

Some supplements contain digestive enzymes that break down hard-to-digest foods. You can buy the enzyme lactase over the counter if dairy products give you gas. A product called Beano helps break down gas-producing sugars in beans.

Avoid Swallowing Air

We all swallow small amounts of air. That’s normal. When we swallow too much air – called aerophagia -- it causes abdominal bloating, gas, or belching. Pay attention to things you do that may make you swallow more air than you need, such as:

  • Chewing gum
  • Drinking carbonated sodas
  • Eating too quickly
  • Smoking
  • Wearing loose dentures

Stress can also make you swallow too much air. "Often people aren’t even aware that they’re gulping down air," Kosinski says. "If you’re feeling anxious or [are] under a lot of stress, look for ways to relax. Or talk to your doctor about stress reduction techniques."

Get Moving

Walking, bicycling, running, and other forms of exercise can help move gas through your digestive tract, easing bloating.

Talk to Your Doctor if You’re Worried

If lifestyle changes don’t help, and you’re bloated or gassy often, talk to your doctor.

"Bloating or abnormal amounts of intestinal gas can be a symptom of celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, bacterial overgrowth, or problems associated with the pancreas," Kosinski says. "Certain medications can also cause intestinal gas. So it’s definitely important to mention it to your doctor if you’re worried."

Your doctor may suggest tests to rule out underlying problems. If the culprit is simply the foods you love, your doctor can also prescribe medicine -- a gastrointestinal stimulant -- that moves gas through your intestines more quickly.

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Reviewed on September 17, 2012
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