Lest you forget the scene in Bridesmaids when farting quickly landslides into explosive diarrhea (and laughs), gastric distress can come out of nowhere. Thank the food gods that not every burrito will end with you “sh*tting in the street!”… in a designer wedding dress. But if you’re curious about which foods are the prime suspects for causing uncontrollable flatulence—that’s the fancy word for farts—I consulted gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal, MD.
Dr. Sonpal says the usual wind-producing suspects (like beans and cruciferous veggies) are in good company with several diet staples. Without further ado, here are the six foods to avoid for a silent and scentless gut.
- Watch out for these 6 foods that make you gassy
- Is There Such Thing as Too Many Cough Drops?
- Halls Cough Drops
- Uses of Halls Cough Drops:
- What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Halls Cough Drops?
- What are some things I need to know or do while I take Halls Cough Drops?
- How is this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) best taken?
- What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
- What are some other side effects of Halls Cough Drops?
- If OVERDOSE is suspected:
- How do I store and/or throw out Halls Cough Drops?
- Consumer information use
- Further information
- More about menthol topical
- Risk Factors
- Author(s) and Publication Date(s)
- 3. You’re swallowing too much air…like literally.
- 4. You’re eating large meals too quickly.
- 5. You don’t go for that post-meal walk or stretch.
- 6. You might have a gastrointestinal condition.
- Why do I fart so much?
- Eating slowly
- Avoiding chewing gum
- Getting regular exercise
- Reducing trigger foods
- Identifying food intolerances
- Avoiding carbonated drinks
- Taking digestive enzymes
- Taking probiotics
- Related: 5 Signs You Might Have A Scary Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Related: 5 Types Of Vaginal Odors You Should Know About—And What They Mean For Your Health
- Related: 7 Sneaky Signs Your Blood Sugar Is Too High
- Related posts:
Watch out for these 6 foods that make you gassy
“Beans contain a lot of fiber, but they also have sugars called alpha oligosaccharides. They get taken up by the bacteria from your colon and gas is a byproduct of the process,” explains Dr. Sonpal. Over time, the digestive tracts of those who consume a lot of legumes will get used to processing chickpeas and other beans, but those who don’t usually partake often may have digestive issues. “If you’re someone who’s not used to legumes, and then you take in, you’ll notice that you’re going to have a lot of bloating, gas, distention. You’ll experience discomfort,” says the gastroenterologist.
For the record, Dr. Sonpal says that pinto beans and black beans are much easier on your digestive system than kidney beans or mung beans. So keep that in mind for future takeout orders.
2. Carbonated Beverages
If you prefer your water with bubbles—listen up: Dr. Sonpal says that LaCroix, Spindrift, and your favorite spiked seltzers will come back to haunt you later. “I tell that the reason they’re bloated is because of all the carbonation and gas in the actual water. I tell them that the best thing they can do is try to reduce the amount that they’re drinking,” the gastroenterologist says. Keep it at a minimum, folks.
Here’s what a dietitian thinks about your favorite spiked seltzers:
3. Sugar-free chewing gum
“You swallow air while you’re chewing gum. When that air goes down, it can either come out above, or —more commonly—from below,” says Dr. Sonpal.
4. Sugar substitutes found in low-calorie foods
The artificial sweetener, Zorbitrol, takes the place of sugar in low-calorie ice creams, unsweetened chewing gum, and diet sodas. “Sugar substitutes like Zorbitrol, which are in diet sodas, diet foods, sweeteners, and gums can’t be digested by your body. Zorbitrol actually gets fermented in your gut and creates diarrhea and very explosive gas,” says the doc (very graphically).
5. Cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage all contain polysaccharides—a carbohydrate that causes bloating. “It’s just a matter of understanding which ones are triggers for you,” says Dr. Sonpal. “What I tell patients who really like broccoli and cauliflower is to try switch to things like spinach and lettuce, to add roughage and reduce the amount of cruciferous vegetables on their salads.”
Dr. Sonpal says that everyone’s tolerance for lactose is a bit different, so a little bit of dairy exploration will help you decide how much cheese, milk, and ice cream belong in your fridge. “What I tell people is to find out how lactose-intolerant they are by doing what I call Netflix and Milk. Turn on a Netflix show on a Friday evening when you have nowhere to go and start consuming a lot of dairy until you find what you’re set point is. Maybe it’s a glass of milk, or two pieces of pizza, or three scoops of ice cream,” he says. Sounds like my kind of experiment.
Constipated? These foods will get things moving.
Passing gas is your body’s way of telling you that whatever you just ate wasn’t handled well in the gut and is about to be released in the form of—well, you know. Sure, it’s embarrassing; but it’s actually quite natural. “Most people pass gas on average 13-21 times per day,” says Ilyse Schapiro, R.D., and holding it in is painful and harmful to your health, per this study out of New Zealand.
That said, there are certain foods, like the diet staples listed here, that build up even more pressure in your gut—and can make gas worse. But don’t worry if some of your favorite healthy foods are on this list: everyone differs in their reactions to certain foods. So, monitor what you consume and then give the surrounding air the old sniff test a few hours later. Fun (gross) fact: “The smell depends upon what you eat—foods like cauliflower, beans, cabbage, eggs, and meat can make the smell stronger,” Schapiro says. “The sound depends upon the speed of the gas leaving your body, and how tight the sphincter muscles are.”
If you’re a gassy guy, you can reduce the intensity of your farts by amping up your exercise, eating slower to take in less air, and ultimately avoiding (or limiting) the following 10 foods.
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Is There Such Thing as Too Many Cough Drops?
When you’re sick, a cough drop can feel like the most satisfying thing in the world. They’re tasty, they’re candy, and they’re effective — your aching throat immediately gets to experience that sweet, sweet relief.
Of course, the effect is temporary. Before you know it, you’re reaching into your bag for more for what seems like the billionth time. How many cough drops have you had today? At some point, you got concerned you could be in danger of an overdose. But is a cough drop overdose even really a thing?
Long story short: Yes, you can overdose on cough drops. Most cough drops contain menthol, meaning that menthol poisoning could occur if you’ve had too many.
But here’s the catch: You’d have to eat, like, a bajillion cough drops. The lethal dose of menthol is one gram per kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, around 68 kilograms, you’d have to eat 68 grams of menthol. Each cough drop only contains 3 to 10 milligrams of menthol — meaning you’d have to consume a minimum of 6,800 cough drops to really overdo it.
That doesn’t give you license to eat as many as you want without consequences, however. Like with almost any food or drink, consuming an excessive amount of cough drops can result in a few uncomfortable symptoms. You will likely experience a stomachache, nausea, drowsiness, or a headache. If your body’s giving you these signs, it’s time to stop.
There was one strange case in which a man experienced dire symptoms after eating whole bags of cough drops every day for over 20 years. His skin and mouth became covered in lesions, he was extremely disoriented, and he even lost control of his muscles and limbs. But again, this man was eating a ton of cough drops. The symptoms ceased once he brought himself to give them up.
Whatever it is about cough drops that makes them so tempting, there’s no need to worry. Your cough drop addiction likely isn’t life threatening; there are more dangerous foods to keep an eye on.
Halls Cough Drops
Generic Name: Menthol Lozenges (MEN thol)
Brand Name: Cepacol Regular Strength, Cepacol Sore Throat, Dads Menthol Throat Drop, Flanax Cough Relief, Halls Cough Drops, …show all 16 brand names.Ludens Throat Drops, Medikoff Drops, Medikoff Drops SF, Ricola Cherry Honey Herb, Ricola Herb, Ricola Honey Herb, Ricola Lemon Mint, Ricola Mountain Herb, Ricola Natural Herb, Ricola with Echinacea, Vicks VapoDrops
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 19, 2019.
- Side Effects
Uses of Halls Cough Drops:
- It is used to relieve coughing.
- It is used to treat a sore throat.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Halls Cough Drops?
- If you have an allergy to this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) or any part of this medicine (Halls Cough Drops).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Halls Cough Drops?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine (Halls Cough Drops). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), check labels closely. Some products have sugar.
- Do not use this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) for longer than you were told by your doctor.
- When treating a very sore throat, talk with the doctor if signs last more than 2 days, or happen with fever, headache, rash, upset stomach, or throwing up.
- Different brands of this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) may be for use in different ages of children. Talk with the doctor before giving this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) to a child.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) while you are pregnant.
- Tell the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby. You will need to talk about any risks to the baby.
How is this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) best taken?
Use this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Suck oral lozenge. Do not chew, break, or crush it. Do not swallow it whole.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- If you take this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) on a regular basis, take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- Many times this medicine (Halls Cough Drops) is taken on an as needed basis. Do not take more often than told by the doctor.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
What are some other side effects of Halls Cough Drops?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Halls Cough Drops?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from heat.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this medicine (Halls Cough Drops), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about menthol topical
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- 9 Reviews
- Drug class: topical rubefacient
- FDA Alerts (1)
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- Sore Throat
Intestinal gas is a topic that people often find difficult to discuss, but we all have gas in our intestinal tract. Gas can contribute to a sense of bloating (fullness), belching, abdominal cramps, and flatulence (gas). These symptoms are usually brief and resolve once gas is released by belching or flatulence. Some people can be more sensitive to even normal amounts of gas and develop the above symptoms.
Belching is a normal process and results from swallowed air accumulating in the stomach. The air can either be belched back or can be passed out of the stomach into the small intestine and be subsequently passed as rectal gas (flatus).
Bloating refers to a sense of fullness in the upper abdomen. This can be influenced by gas and/or food accumulation in the stomach. Some patients experience the symptom with normal amounts of gastric gas.
Flatulence refers to the passage of rectal gas. The gas is generally a combination of swallowed air and gas produced by the action of colon bacteria on undigested carbohydrates.
Gas which accumulates in the right upper portion of the colon can lead to pain which could seem like gallbladder pain. Gas which accumulates in the left upper portion of the colon can radiate up to the chest and seem like cardiac pain.
We all swallow air during the process of eating. Individuals can have excess swallowing due to sucking on hard candies or chewing gum. Drinking carbonated beverages such as soda or beer can also generate excess gastric air. In addition, individuals who experience anxiety may swallow air excessively. Poorly fitting dentures and chronic postnasal “drip” can also cause excess air swallowing. As a result, significant amounts of gas can enter the stomach and small bowel in 24 hours which can lead to belching, bloating or flatulence.
Some carbohydrates cannot be digested by the enzymes in the small intestine and reach the colon where bacteria metabolize them to hydrogen and carbon dioxide gasses. Examples of such food are bran, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and beans. This can result in excess flatulence in some patients. Many patients experience abdominal cramps, bloating and flatulence when they ingest milk, certain cheeses or ice cream because they lack the enzyme (lactase) which is required to digest milk sugars (lactose). This condition, called lactose intolerance, is less common in people of northern European origin.
Another cause of bloating and abdominal distension is termed bacterial overgrowth. This is not an infection, but occurs when there is an excess amount of normal bacteria in the small intestine. This results in increased production of intestinal gas contributing to the above symptoms. Finally, underlying constipation may also contribute to bloating and a sense of abdominal distention.
As mentioned above, excessive air swallowing, and certain foods and carbonated beverages are significant contributors to belching and flatulence. Some patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) appear to be uniquely sensitive to normal or only slightly increased volumes of intestinal gas and may develop abdominal cramps as a result. Patients with altered anatomy due to surgery or those with certain rheumatologic diseases may be at an increased risk of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine which can lead to belching, bloating or flatulence.
Some patients, particularly women who have had one or more pregnancies, experience abdominal distension when standing erect. This is often assumed to be gas accumulation. However, if the distension is not present when the patient is lying “flat”, then the likely explanation is weak abdominal muscles (which extend from the lower rib cage to the pelvis on both sides of the umbilicus) due to the stretching and loss of muscle tone which occurs during pregnancy.
There are individuals who have heartburn and stomach disorders that may swallow air for relief. The diagnosis of esophageal reflux or gastric inflammation should be excluded by x-rays or endoscopy (examining the esophagus and stomach with a flexible tube while the patient is sedated). Abdominal distension when erect but not when recumbent is an indication of weak abdominal muscles. If lactose intolerance is suspected, milk can be withdrawn from the diet and symptoms observed. However, lactose can be administered orally and the hydrogen gas which is generated in susceptible people can be measured in the breath. Postnasal discharge from sinus problems can cause air swallowing and should be considered. If bacterial overgrowth is suspected, your physician may administer a hydrogen breath test.
Blood tests are not usually helpful for gaseous problems but testing for celiac disease may prove useful since failure to absorb wheat, barley, and rye can lead to excess flatulence.
Patients complaining of excessive gas passages may benefit from keeping a “flatus” diary for three days. The time of each gas passage and food for each meal can be noted. The gas passages can be compared to published “normal” flatus frequency.
Patients should eliminate carbonated beverages such as soda and beer. Foods such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, beans, and bran should be avoided. Milk and other dairy foods should be avoided. Lactaid milk or non-dairy milk such as soy or almond milk can be used. Chewing gum and sucking on hard candies should be avoided. Sugar free gum and hard candies should be avoided as they may have mannitol or sorbitol as sweeteners which can cause flatulence. To ensure that only potentially symptom causing foods are eliminated without resulting in marked dietary restrictions, patients should eliminate food items one by one and keep a symptom diary.
Simethicone products have been promoted as treatment for gaseousness but their efficacy has not been convincing. Charcoal tablets have also been used to reduce flatulence without convincing benefit. Bismuth subsalicylate has been used to reduce the noxious odor of some sulfa-containing rectal gasses. Alpha-d-galactosidase, an over the counter product, has been used to help in the digestion of complex carbohydrates. Some patients may benefit from this strategy.
Individuals with IBS may benefit from symptomatic therapy for “gas pains” by using antispasmodic therapy such as dicyclomine or hyoscyamine under the tongue.
Some patients with bacterial overgrowth may see improvement from the occasional use of antibiotics to reduce the number of bacteria in the small bowel, thereby reducing gas production.
If weak abdominal muscles are suspected as a cause for abdominal distension, abdominal-tensing exercises may be helpful, although very difficult to achieve when patients are middle aged and older.
If symptoms fail to respond to the dietary strategies noted above, medical help should be sought to be confident that no other underlying abnormalities are present.
- Belching and flatulence are normal body processes.
- Swallowed air is “gas” in the body and contributes significantly to symptoms.
- Unabsorbed dietary carbohydrates can cause gas production by colon bacteria.
- Carbonated beverages, sucking on hard candy, and chewing gum should be avoided.
- Abdominal distension when erect but not recumbent may be due to weak abdominal muscles.
- Increasing frequency or severity of symptoms should prompt medical attention.
Author(s) and Publication Date(s)
Ronak Modi, MD, and Harris R. Clearfield, MD, MACG, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA – Updated July 2013.
Michael Levitt, MD, Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN, and Larry Szarka, MD, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Rochester, MN – Published June 2004.
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Whether you call it farting, passing wind, having gas, or flatulence (the official medical term), the release of excess air through the intestinal tract is both normal and natural.
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Why, then, are farts the butt of so many adolescent boys’ jokes? Perhaps, because of those awkward moments when the body’s internal horn section suddenly plays a little too loudly — becoming noticeable to all in the vicinity.
Truth be told, passing gas happens a lot, likely between 14 and 23 times throughout your day, often without attracting much notice. For most people, it’s not a major problem. But what if it’s a problem for you?
“If you have an amount of gas that makes you uncomfortable, you should consult your local GI physician for evaluation and recommendations,” says gastroenterologist Christine Lee, MD. “If you aren’t able to take care of it in a socially acceptable manner, and it’s bothering your lifestyle, you should have it checked out.”
If you’re so gassy it’s affecting your daily activities or causing you pain or embarrassment, you can take steps to minimize the problem, she says.
What causes excessive gas?
Gas can accumulate in your digestive tract simply because you swallow air while drinking, eating or even laughing. But some foods produce excess gas as well. This can make the need to control its passing more challenging.
If your intestines are sluggish, moving food through your gut too slowly (slow motility), excess gas can collect. The longer food sits in your system, the more gas-producing bacteria build up, causing abdominal discomfort.
You also produce more gas as you age due to slowing down of your metabolism and slowing down of the movement of food through the colon. Yes, even the intestinal tract naturally slows down over time.
Excess gas buildup is also likely more of a problem if you have medical conditions such as diabetes, scleroderma, thyroid dysfunction, small bowel bacterial overgrowth, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, or if you have a sedentary lifestyle, Dr. Lee says.
Can sleep apnea make flatulence worse?
In some cases, the way you sleep can contribute to excessive gas buildup in your system.
About 25 percent of men and nearly 10 percent of women have sleep apnea, causing them to snore with their mouths open.
“People with sleep apnea are mostly mouth-breathers, and they inhale a lot of air when they’re snoring and swallowing,” Dr. Lee says. “So, they wake up with gas pain because they’ve been swallowing air all night.”
Talk to your doctor if you suspect you have sleep apnea.
How to limit gas buildup
Dr. Lee suggests these tips to help lessen the impact of excess gas in your system:
- Exercise. The more active you are, the more frequently and discreetly you’ll eliminate gas from your intestinal tract. Focus on abdominal-strengthening exercises to help keep the digestive tract moving. Aim to work out for at least 30 minutes three or four days each week.
- Limit cruciferous vegetables. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and asparagus produce more gas than other vegetables. (But they’re also nutritious, so don’t avoid them altogether!)
- Avoid dairy products if you’re lactose intolerant. If you do eat milk, cheese or yogurt, consider taking Lactaid® beforehand to help ease your digestion, Dr. Lee says.
- Avoid constipation. Having a bowel movement anywhere from three times daily to once every other day is normal. This helps limit a buildup from gas-producing bacteria. Hydration and exercise can help keep things moving in this department.
- Review your medications. Narcotics, decongestants, allergy medications, and some blood pressure drugs can slow your intestinal processes. Talk to your doctor if you think you need to make a change.
- Limit carbonated beverages, fermented foods and drinks containing high fructose corn syrup. These products just add more gas or feed the bacteria in your digestive tract.
Ultimately, Dr. Lee’s tips should help relieve your gas problem — and perhaps make you less anxious in social situations.
It’s also important to talk to your doctor about any changes in your health. “Consult your physician if you’ve had a change in bowel movements (especially if they are sudden) or if you feel that something isn’t right,” she says.
The best way to combat gas related to a food sensitivity is to pay attention to your body, possibly with the guidance of a medical professional. Your doctor will probably ask you to start keeping a food diary to help find patterns between what you’re eating and what you’re feeling. This way, you can take note of what foods might be causing issues for you so you can decide whether you want to eat them only once in a while or avoid them altogether.
3. You’re swallowing too much air…like literally.
One commonly overlooked cause of gas is actually ingesting air, which causes it to accumulate in the esophagus, according to the Mayo Clinic. It happens when you do anything that causes you to swallow an excessive amount of air, such as “drinking carbonated beverages, smoking, eating or drinking too fast, talking while eating,” Dr. Balzora explains.
It can also be caused by chewing gum, sucking on candies all day, or breathing through your mouth while you sleep. If you have gas in the morning or wake up feeling completely full, it might be because of the way you’re breathing as you sleep. It also turns out that swallowing air can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a condition where stomach acid travels up the esophagus (instead of staying where it belongs), but we’ll get into that a bit later.
If swallowing air is simply something you do when you’re nervous, this situation is called “aerophagia,” and it can contribute to excessive gas. So if you think swallowing air might be at the root of your gas issues, Dr. Schnoll-Sussman suggests taking a look at your daily habits and seeing where that extra air might be coming from. For instance, you might be able to minimize the amount of air you ingest by opting for non-carbonated beverages (sorry, seltzer fans!), trying not to talk while you eat, and avoiding chewing gum.
4. You’re eating large meals too quickly.
It’s simply a fact that large, fatty meals take a long time to digest and, therefore, hang out longer in your gut and build up more gas than smaller, less fatty meals. That lengthy digestion can lead to the classic post-burger-and-fries feeling of bloat and gassiness. On top of that, eating quickly increases the chance that you’ll inhale some air along the way, just adding even more gassiness.
That doesn’t mean you can’t eat large meals (please, by all means, enjoy your burger!), but it does mean that you might just have to accept some (totally normal) discomfort along the way.
If you’d rather skip that feeling, you can stick with more frequent smaller meals rather than less frequent larger meals. And no matter what you’re eating, you can do your best to eat mindfully, paying attention to every bite and how it affects your body without rushing.
5. You don’t go for that post-meal walk or stretch.
After eating a deliciously satisfying meal it’s tempting to just sit back and relax. Or, more likely, you’re eating your lunch at your desk and just staying there is the easiest thing to do.
On the other hand, one of the best things you can do for your digestive tract is keep up some form of regular physical activity. We’re not saying you need to do burpees after every meal (that would be ill-advised), but if you’re dealing with gas right this second, you can try going for a quick walk or doing some stretches designed to move digestion along and ease your gassiness. Experts aren’t totally sure why it helps, but it does.
6. You might have a gastrointestinal condition.
Gas can be a symptom of many gastrointestinal disorders. If it’s isolated, it’s most likely your diet or excessive air-swallowing. But if you’re experiencing other symptoms like belly pain, heartburn, changes in your weight, or frequent bouts of diarrhea, that could mean your gas is a sign of a more serious issue. For instance, GERD, celiac disease, and even intestinal blockages can all be causes of excessive gas. Additionally, your excessive gas coupled with other ailments like abdominal pain could be a symptom of gastritis or peptic ulcer disease, according to Hopkins Medicine. So if your gas doesn’t resolve itself (one way or another) or if it’s causing any other concerning symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor.
Finally, know that gassiness is a normal part of life. It’s a good time to remind you that passing gas (even sulfuric gas) is healthy, so if your belches and farts aren’t excessive, this might not be something you need to worry about. It’s normal to expel about 1 to 4 pints of gas, per day! So try to think of any lingering awkwardness as a sign that your digestive processes are humming along. “It’s important to understand that farting is normal,” Dr. Balzora reiterates. “But it shouldn’t be ignored if you’re having other symptoms.”
If you feel like your gas is excessive, you’ve noticed an overall change in your gastrointestinal habits, your flatulence comes with other symptoms (abdominal pain, for instance), or you’re anxious about whether or not something is normal, it’s always worth checking in with a doctor who can help put your mind—and your gut—at ease.
Why do I fart so much?
People can often relieve gas by changing their eating habits, identifying and eliminating trigger foods from the diet, or making lifestyle changes.
Some methods may work better for one person than another, so if one does not work, try another. Methods include:
Much of the gas that farts release comes from eating, as people swallow a bit of air with each bite. Eating in a rush may make matters worse. People who eat in a hurry may not chew their food completely and may swallow bigger chunks of food as well, making the food harder to digest.
Chewing is an integral part of the digestive process. Thoroughly chewing food makes it easier for the body to break it down. Taking the time to chew food slowly before swallowing may help the body digest this food and reduce the air that enters the intestines.
Avoiding chewing gum
Chewing gum may cause a person to swallow air along with their saliva. This may lead to more gas in the intestines and therefore, more flatulence.
Getting regular exercise
Getting moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes per day may help prevent gas buildup in the body. It may also stimulate the digestive system, which could help with other issues, such as constipation.
Reducing trigger foods
Many foods that cause gas are a vital part of a complete diet. For instance, fiber is essential for digestive health, but eating too much of it may cause flatulence.
Following a healthful, balanced diet is unlikely to cause long term gas. However, any dietary changes can cause short term gas while the body gets used to the new foods.
Identifying food intolerances
People with digestive disorders could keep a food journal to help them identify the possible trigger foods that are causing their reactions, such as lactose or gluten. Once they identify these trigger foods, avoiding them may help prevent excessive farting.
Avoiding carbonated drinks
Carbonated drinks add gas to the digestive system. This generally comes back up as a burp but can also continue through the intestines and cause flatulence.
To avoid this, reduce or eliminate sources of carbonation, such as:
- sparkling juices
- sparkling water
Taking digestive enzymes
People who have difficulty digesting certain food groups but want to continue eating them might try taking digestive enzymes specific to those foods.
For instance, people with lactose intolerance could take the enzyme lactase before eating dairy products to help them digest it.
There are different digestive enzymes for each food type, so be sure to get the correct enzymes to help with digestion.
People can buy digestive enzymes in drug stores or choose between brands online.
Probiotics are supplements containing similar healthful bacteria to the ones in the digestive system. Adding more of these bacteria to the body might make it easier for the body to break down certain foods, which may reduce flatulence in some people.
Probiotics are available in supermarkets, drug stores, and online.
Being gassy just plain sucks. And, given that no one is happy to be farty and bloated, it makes sense that you’d want to do what you can to limit how gassy you feel.
Having some gas is normal, though. “Most people actually pass gas from below pretty frequently over the course of the day,” says Kyle Staller, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He estimates that, on average, most people are letting one rip between 10 and 20 times a day.
Still, if you’re regularly going beyond that or are just feeling bloated and uncomfortable a lot, it’s time to take action—and the best way to combat gas is to prevent it from getting out of control in the first place. These are the biggest habits that tend to make people gassy. (Kick-start your new, healthy routine with Women’s Health’s 12-Week Total-Body Transformation!)
While you’re probably not consciously gulping down air, talking when you eat or chewing too much gum can cause you to swallow a bunch of it, says Ashkan Farhadi, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Group’s Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, Calif. Once it’s in your stomach it can go one of two ways—back up as a burp or out as a fart.
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Cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are delicious, but they’re also known stinkifiers. “If you’re in the habit of having certain kinds of foods like these, they may make you gassier than others,” Farhadi says.
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Dairy seems innocent enough, but people tend to lose the enzyme that helps break it down as they get older, Staller says. As a result, your body can’t handle it very well. That explains why you might feel gassy after having a few bites of ice cream, while you used to polish off sundaes with zero issues in the past. “Many people will have more problems than they did previously,” he says.
Try Halo Top’s new dairy-free ice cream:
Most carbs break down into your body as sugar, and the bacteria in your gut loves sugar, Staller says. If you have too much of it, more sugar could head into your colon. “The bacteria in your colon have a field day and eat that sugar—and their waste is gas,” he says.
Foods that contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol and sorbitol aren’t meant to be absorbed by your body. “Any form of sugars that your body doesn’t absorb eventually is going to be food for the bacteria in the gut,” Farhadi says. “They make gas out of breaking down those un-absorbable sugars.”
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If you’ve been super gassy lately, Staller recommends looking at your diet and eliminating a few things to try to get rid of the issue. If that doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to see your doctor.
Korin Miller Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self, Glamour, and more.