Excess gas in the digestive tract can cause a lot of discomfort. It might be caused due to swallowing of excess air or due to certain bacteria, producing gases inside the body. If gas is produced in excess amount, it causes pain known as gas pain. Symptoms of excess gas in the digestive tract is belching in which an individual expels the excess gas out of the body. Occasional belching after meals is normal. However, chronic belching could be due to some gastrointestinal disorder. Other symptoms include flatulence, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain and discomfort. This article discusses some simple treatments for gas pain relief.
Some people swallow excess air habitually. Such people are often unaware of the problem and this is sometimes anxiety related. This air is mostly oxygen and nitrogen. While most of the oxygen is absorbed by the body, it is nitrogen that ends up in flatulence. Eating heavy meals or meals rich in fatty foods, or food that contains carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed, can lead to gas formation. Poorly absorbed carbohydrates are broken into hydrogen and carbon dioxide by the bacteria present in the colon.
People suffering from chronic diseases like diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, constipation, or Crohn's disease, may often experience gas pain. Excessive consumption of laxatives or antibiotics can cause gas and abdominal pain. In case, flatulence is accompanied with diarrhea and weight loss, it can be considered as pancreatic insufficiency and lactose intolerance symptoms.
There are certain foods (known as gassy foods) like beans, cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower, radish etc., that are notorious for producing gas. Chewing gum, consumption of aerated drinks, and eating in a hurry can lead to formation of gas in the stomach. Artificial additives in the food can also lead to the formation of gas. Sometimes, remaining on an empty stomach results in gas formation and subsequent pain.
In order to ensure gas pain relief, it is very important to identify the cause that triggers the discomfort. If one is prone to it, foods that cause excess gas formation should be removed from one's diet. Foods that cause gas in one may not cause gas in another person. One should be aware if he is sensitive to certain kinds of foods or suffers from intolerance to certain nutrients. He should exclude them from his diet.
Gas pain due to some intestinal problem can be relieved by mild exercises like walking or bicycling. Although the pain may be sharp, taking a short walk can help release the excess gas and hence bring relief. Avoid late night dinners and eating heavy or gassy foods at night.
As mentioned earlier, long periods of fasting could be one of the stomach ache causes. One can get rid of gas pain caused due to an empty stomach by eating something. This doesn't mean that one gorges on junk food. One should eat something nutritious and definitely avoid aerated drinks as they may aggravate the condition.
To get rid of severe pain, you may have to take over-the-counter medicines. Beano is effective for relief from gas pain that is triggered by beans and vegetables. Lactase supplements can be taken by those who suffer from gas problems due to milk and dairy products. Charcoal tablets that are effective are available at all drugstores.
Some effective home remedies for gas pain are:
- Mix charcoal with hot water and drink it. This treatment definitely does not appeal to the taste buds. Nevertheless it is known to have brought results.
- A cup of peppermint tea is very helpful in alleviating pain caused due to gas. Menthol present in peppermint oil provides an anti-spasmodic effect on the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. This brings relief from gas. However, peppermint may also cause heartburn and acid reflux.
- Drink warm water with Asafoetida mixed in it. A glass of lukewarm water with 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar helps. Add 1-2 teaspoon of lemon juice to a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It is good to have it every day.
- Chewing a spoon of celery seeds brings quick relief from abdominal discomfort due to gas.
- Ginger and chamomile tea help improve digestion and help expel trapped gas in the digestive tract. Tea that is prepared by adding a few cumin seeds works great as well. Do not add milk to the tea.
- Chewing one tablespoon of fennel seeds after meals prevents the formation of gas and bloating after eating one's food. Fennel should also be taken by a healthy person after a heavy meal to aid digestion.
- Mix 2 teaspoons brandy with warm water and drink it before going off to sleep. This will provide relief from mild pain.
- You should drink plenty of water every day. Water promotes detoxification, helps maintain the health of the cells and improves digestion.
Gas formation can be avoided by adopting some healthy eating habits. Eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of eating two or three large meals. It is important to eat slowly and chew one's food properly. Digestion of carbohydrates starts in the mouth. If they are not broken there this task will have to be completed by the stomach. Avoid lying down after a meal as gases from stomach tend to pass on to the intestines easily when the body is in this position. Activities like chewing gum, hard candies and smoking should be avoided as they cause one to swallow excess air.
There are a number of remedies for gas pain relief. However, a healthy lifestyle and change in dietary habits, depending on one's sensitivity to certain foods, go a long way in preventing the production of excess gas in the body.