You might notice that you seem to have more trapped gas, or more discomfort from trapped gas than other people. IBS sufferers don’t actually have more gas than others, but gas does seem to have a greater effect on them. It can be painful, uncomfortable, and you may feel more discomfort. The other problem is that there’s no magic cure-all treatment for gas relief. It’s a case of trial and error until you find what works for you.
Over The Counter
There’s many different over the counter remedies. Antacids can be purchased without a prescription, and some can be very effective in relieving discomfort. Unfortunately, there really is such a wide range of OTC remedies, and not every one will work for you. It’s trial and error until you find the right one.
You should be aware that some OTC remedies may have activated charcoal as the main ingredient. Some people can have side effects from this, such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. It may also turn your stool black, which is nothing to worry about.
As with any OTC medication, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on other drugs you may need to check with your doctor before trying any new remedy.
You may find that your gas has a medical cause, and your doctor may be willing to prescribe you medications to help control it. Again, you may need to try a few different ones, before you find the right one for you.
Alternative remedies can be amazing for easing the pain and discomfort of trapped gas. You should check with your doctor before you try some of these, especially If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on other medications.
- Teas - Peppermint, ginger and anise can all have gas relieving properties. You can sip the tea, but if you’re prone to diarrhea, you may want to avoid anise.
- Fennel Seeds - Chewing fennel seeds can help reduce the gas, but you should avoid them if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Exercise - Gentle exercise can help relieve your symptoms, and discomfort. Walking, or yoga, can help to relax the muscles in your abdomen, which can help allow the gas to pass.
- Heat - Applying heat to your abdomen can also help give relief. You can try a hot water bottle, a heating pad, or a hot bath. If you use a hot water bottle, or a heating pad, you need to make sure that you take care not to burn yourself.
- Bowel Movement - You may be able to relieve the pain of trapped gas by passing a bowel movement. It can help in two ways. Firstly, it can help the muscles in the large intestines to move, which can encourage the gas to leave your system. Secondly, it empties the rectum of stored stool, which leaves the passage free for the gas to leave.
You might be able to prevent suffering from gas if you can pinpoint what triggers it. For some people this can be food, so you should keep a food diary. Log what you’ve eaten, and any symptoms you experience afterwards. Many people find that legumes, onions, raisins, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower can trigger episodes of gas. You may also want to cut out high FODMAP carbohydrates. The FODMAP diet should only be followed if you have your doctors go ahead, and you should only follow it for two months or less. Fiber can also be a gas trigger. People who suffer from IBS are often told to add more fiber to their diet, but insoluble fiber, like in whole wheat can increase gas. Any fiber should be added gradually in order to decrease the risk of painful gas. You can also try adding a probiotic to your diet, as it can help keep the balance of bacteria in your gut.
There are a few other things that can help prevent gas. You should chew your food carefully. Eat and drink slowly, and try to avoid chewing gum, or drinking through a straw. Eat small meals, at regular times, and try to keep it to the same time every day. You should also try regular exercise, making sure you get enough sleep, and trying to keep your stress levels under control can all help manage your IBS symptoms.