Does gas have you floating? Tips to relieve flatulence
Flatulence has many terms associated with it—farts, passing gas and more, but it is simply the natural process of excess air being released from the intestinal tract. Sure, they are the butt of jokes, causing lots of laughter, but it’s a normal function of the human body and nothing to be embarrassed about.
“Passing gas can happen more than 20 times a day, and for most people it’s not problematic,” says Nicole Florence, MD, medical director and bariatrician at Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center. “But if you have gas that causes significant or recurring bloating, or is uncomfortable, it’s important to contact your primary care provider to discuss it. Especially if it affects your day-to-day activities.”
Why do excess gas or bloating occur?
The reason that gas accumulates in your digestive tract because humans swallow air when they eat, drink or even when they are having conversations. Using straws and eating fast can add to this accumulation. In addition, some food or drink can produce extra gas. Furthermore, if your bowel movements are not regular, it can contribute to a buildup of bacteria that produces gas and causes you some discomfort. The stool is broken down in the colon and requires the presence of healthy bacteria.
Lifestyle Changes that Can Help
The good news that some simple lifestyle changes can help you to limit gas and bloating. Dr. Florence recommends these strategies:
- Limit vegetables that produce gas like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, and eat a healthy, nutritious diet.
- If you’re lactose-intolerant, avoid dairy products.
- Drink plenty of water – at least 64 ounces daily – to avoid constipation.
- Avoid carbonated drinks and fermented foods.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week.
- Take a probiotic.
- Ask your doctor if any medications contribute to bowel changes.
If you have ongoing issues that indicate a medical condition related to the intestine, you can discuss with your doctor the option of being referred to a gastroenterologist to investigate. Common conditions include diabetes, thyroid disorder, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Need nutrition counseling?
Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center offers nutrition counseling to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.