Gas that forms in the stomach can lead to bloating and discomfort. Over-the-counter medications, supplements, and prescription drugs can often counter it, and lifestyle remedies can also help.
Having gas sometimes is not a cause for concern. However, severe, frequent, or persistent gas may be a sign of an underlying condition. In some cases, a person may want to relieve gas with medication.
This article outlines what gas is, medications for gas, and other treatments. It also answers some common questions about gas.
Most people experience a buildup of gas in the stomach at some point in their lives. Swallowing air while eating and drinking
Symptoms of gas
Accompanying symptoms may include:
There are various potential causes of gas. These include:
- eating or drinking too fast
- sucking candy
- chewing gum
- drinking carbonated drinks
Burping can release excess gas and relieve uncomfortable bloating.
Frequent gas and bloating may be a sign of food intolerance. This occurs when the body is unable to digest and process certain foods properly. Common food intolerances include:
A person with food intolerance may also experience:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS refers to a group of symptoms that affect bowel movements and cause pain in the abdomen, without visible signs of disease or damage to the digestive tract. As well as gas, symptoms of IBS include:
- repeated abdominal pain
Fermentation in the gut
Less common causes of gas
Other causes of gas
Below are some common medications a healthcare professional may recommend to relieve gas.
Simethicone is available over the counter (OTC) under a variety of brand names.
The medication is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding people and may have some mild side effects.
- whole grains
Breaking down complex carbohydrates helps prevent or reduce gas by limiting fermentation. Alpha-galactosidase typically has no side effects.
Taking a lactase supplement may help the digestive system process lactose, which may reduce gas.
It is not likely that a person will require prescription medication to treat general gas. However, a doctor may treat an underlying condition with prescribed medication.
Medications to manage IBS
- laxatives to relieve constipation
- antispasmodics to relieve abdominal pain and cramps
- antimotility medications to help stop diarrhea
Medications to manage GERD
Natural products and lifestyle strategies may have an impact on reducing and preventing gas. However, a person should speak with a doctor before using alternative methods to manage gas.
Natural products that researchers have found to alleviate gas include:
- Cinnamon: Researchers have found that cinnamon
inhibitsthe secretion of the enzyme pepsin as well as gastric acid. Over time, this may lead to a significant reduction in gas.
- Ginger: Ginger has a
carminative effect. This means it may reduce bloating, flatulence, and cramping, and relieve pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Anise: Research suggests that extracts of anise may be helpful as a laxative, carminative, and antispasmodic treatment, which could help alleviate gas.
Overeating any food, or eating or drinking too fast, may cause gas. Eating smaller meals more frequently, and eating more slowly, may help reduce gas.
Researchers have found that certain conditions may be linked to gas and bloating, such as:
Maintaining a moderate weight and seeking treatment for mental health conditions may have a positive impact on digestive functioning.
Avoiding or limiting certain types of food may reduce or prevent gas and bloating. Foods that may contribute to gas include:
- beans and peas
- smoked foods
- salty foods
- fatty foods
- fried foods
- fruit with high moisture content, such as watermelon and cucumber
- stale food
- carbonated drinks
Certain activities may also increase the risk of gas, including rigorous exercise soon after a meal.
Below are some of the most common questions about gas.
How can someone get rid of gas quickly?
Most OTC medications for gas work fairly quickly. A person may also try movement and massage to relieve gas.
What are the symptoms of trapped gas?
Symptoms of trapped gas
- pain or discomfort in the abdomen
What causes excessive gas?
- swallowing too much air
- food intolerances
- fermentation in the gut
Most people experience gas at some point. It occurs as a natural byproduct of the digestive system. Gas may sometimes be uncomfortable or even painful.
There are various medications available to relieve gas, including simethicone and alpha-galactosidase. There are also medications a doctor may prescribe for underlying conditions that cause gas, such as IBS.
Some natural remedies may also help relieve gas, such as cinnamon, ginger, and anise.
Avoiding certain foods that contribute to gas can help reduce or prevent gas. Gentle movement may also help alleviate gas.