Practical Tips to Reduce GasPublished on Friday, February 25, 2022 by
Colloquially- to gas someone up is to inflate their ego via compliments, praise, or actions.
Unfortunately, from the physiological perspective, getting gassed up may be far less pleasant.
While the actual prevalence of intestinal gas is hard to quantify, the quality of life implications mean it does indeed represent one of the most common reasons why an individual may seek out various forms of medical care.
In today’s article we will go through some of the common and perhaps some of the complex causes of excessive gas production and offer up some best practices to help you fight back against frivolous flatulence.
Let’s get right into it.
Causes Of Excessive Gas
There are a few different ways to look at the causes of excessive intestinal gas.
From the broad perspective, intestinal gas may be taken in from external sources or created within the digestive tract.
Swallowing air, scientifically referred to as aerophagia, is a primary cause of air ingestion from an external source.
Eating smaller, more spread out meals more slowly and in a relaxed setting as well as minimizing carbonated beverages (especially when consumed with a straw), chewing gum and sucking on hard candy are some of the ways to minimize this manner of introducing excessive gas into your system.
But there’s so much more to it.Two common internal causes of excessive intestinal gas include;
- Intolerance to certain types of carbohydrates (think lactose) and other dietary components
- Various gut issues (bacterial imbalances, IBS/FODMAPs and more)
While certain causes of intestinal gas, such as lactose intolerance, could be easy enough to resolve given the plethora of lactose and dairy free alternatives – others such as IBS may require much more support to properly manage.
It’s possible as well, especially in those living with IBS, that both the digestive tract’s ability to move gas and the individual’s ability to tolerate gas in general may be compromised as compared to an otherwise healthy person and this could be due to a variety of factors including the ways in which the muscles of the GI tract contract/relax.
Dietary Guidance For Gas Reduction
There are a wide array of foods that- when consumed in moderate to large amounts- may be more likely to cause excessive gas production in some people.
The list is exhaustive but could include various types of legumes, onions/garlics, sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol etc), dairy products, certain vegetables like cabbage/cauliflower and much more.
It’s beyond the scope of today’s article to properly advise you in this regard, but if you suspect your diet and digestive health outcomes are out of alignment then I strongly suggest seeking the help of appropriate medical professionals.
And while I’m apprehensive to suggest avoiding certain foods in this article, I will alternatively include a list of foods that could help.
The American Journal Of Gastroenterology suggests that increased consumption of foods that are high in soluble fiber and low in fermentable (potentially gas causing) fiber may benefit individuals living with IBS.
So here are 10 foods that fit that description:
- Ground flax/chia/hemp
There are a number of individual and environmental factors at play that could contribute to excessive intestinal gas production and other digestive health concerns.
The actionable points discussed in today’s article are equal parts generic and low-risk, but also are not likely to resolve excessive intestinal gas in cases of moderate or greater complexity.
Because of the wide array of medical factors potentially at play, further support and intervention from practitioners with experience in this area (specific doctors, dietitians) is advisable for those who may require it.
Andy De SantisMPH, RD