What do I take for intestinal gas?

Intestinal gas is also referred to as flatulence. It is the air that builds up in the intestine and which is expelled through the rectum. The air can also pass through the digestive tract and is released through the mouth through belching. Gas accumulates in the intestine when an excess of air is swallowed. It can also be due to the action of bacteria that is naturally present in the colon. Certain foods remain undigested as they pass through the small intestine. When these foods reach the large intestine, the bacteria act upon these foods and in the process produce hydrogen and methane gas. It is usually the sugars such as fructose, lactose and sorbitol that are improperly digested. Starches also tend to cause intestinal gas. These starches are present in the foods such as potatoes, oats and wheat which contain fiber.

Air is constantly being swallowed and the bacteria in the intestine are continuously involved in the production of gas. The gas is pushed towards the rectum due to contractions of the muscles of the colon. The release of the gas in this manner prevents it from building up in the intestines. The gas can also be eliminated from the intestine when it is absorbed by the intestinal lining and passed into the blood, from where it is eliminated through breathing. Certain other bacteria in the intestine can also remove the accumulated gas. Intestinal gas may be caused due to irritable bowel syndrome, antibiotics and consumption of foods that the body is unable to tolerate such as dairy products.

The best way to avoid gas is to restrict the consumption of foods that cause it. Such foods include sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, beans and broccoli. Air is easily swallowed when chewing on gum or hard candy, drinking through a straw, ill fitted dental braces, carbonated drinks, consuming food or water too quickly and smoking. Avoidance of such practices would ensure that less air is swallowed, thereby reducing the risk of intestinal gas. Ginger serves as an excellent remedy for intestinal gas. You may dip a piece of ginger in lemon juice and salt and chew on it after each meal. Eating fennel seeds after meals is another good remedy for gas. One can also chew holy basil leaves first thing in the morning for preventing the production of intestinal gas. Drinking a glass of warm water to which honey and lime juice has been added also helps to provide relief from flatulence.

answered by G M

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