Treatment for Gas in the Digestive Tract

How can I reduce or prevent excess gas?

To reduce or prevent excess gas and gas symptoms, your doctor may suggest the following:

Swallow less air

Your doctor may suggest that you take steps to swallow less air. For example, eat more slowly, avoid gum and hard candies, and don’t use a straw. If you wear dentures, check with your dentist to make sure they fit correctly. Swallowing less air may help ease gas symptoms, especially if you burp a lot.

Quit smoking

If you smoke, quit smoking. Your doctor can help you find ways to quit smoking. Studies show that people who get help quitting have a better chance of succeeding.

Woman breaking a cigarette in half
If you smoke, quit.

Change your diet

To reduce gas, your doctor may suggest you eat smaller, more frequent meals and eat less of the foods that give you gas. Learn more about changing your diet to reduce gas.

Take medicines

Some over-the-counter medicines may reduce gas or gas symptoms:

  • Alpha-galactosidase (Beano, Gas-Zyme 3x) contains the enzyme the body lacks to digest sugars in beans, grains, and many vegetables. You can take this enzyme just before eating to break down gas-producing sugars. Doctors recommend the enzyme for adults and for children ages 12 and older.
  • Simethicone (Gas-X, Mylanta Gas) can relieve gas-related bloating and pain or discomfort in your abdomen by helping gas pass through your digestive tract. Doctors may recommend simethicone for infants and children.
  • Lactase tablets and drops are available for people with lactose intolerance. The lactase enzyme digests the lactose in the food or drink and reduces the chances of developing symptoms such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea. Lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk and milk products are available at most supermarkets and are identical nutritionally to regular milk and milk products. Check with your doctor before using lactase products. Some people, such as children younger than age 3 and pregnant and breastfeeding women, may not be able to take these products.

For safety reasons, talk with your doctor before using supplements or any complementary or alternative medicines or medical practices.

Your doctor may prescribe medicines to help reduce gas or gas symptoms, especially if you have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or irritable bowel syndrome.

July 2016
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