Intestinal gas is a byproduct of digestion that is eliminated by belching or passing through the rectum. Most people pass 3 - 4 pints of this gas in a single day. The average rate of passage is 13 - 15 times a day. This gas comprises carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and sometimes methane. The unpleasant odor of the gas is due to the presence of sulfur-containing gases produced from the activity of bacteria in the large intestine. Passing of this gas for more than 15 times a day is considered to be a problem associated with the intestinal gas. Flatulence is the term to describe such a condition. Surprisingly, there are only 2 reasons behind the overproduction of this gas.
► Over Swallowing of Air
All human beings normally swallow some amount of air daily. This is passed through the rectum several times a day. But, there can be some factors that increase the amount of swallowed air. These are eating or drinking too quickly, chewing gums and hard candies, talking while eating, drinking carbonated beverages, drinking fluids with straw, frequent deep sighing, long-term use of medications for cold, drinking very hot or cold beverages, tight-fitting garments, and smoking cigarettes; cigars; and pipes.
► Bacterial Activity
Sometimes, incompletely-digested foods, mainly sugars and soluble fibers, reach the large intestine. They are acted upon by the intestinal bacteria. They further break down these substances and produce excessive gas, which in turn leads to bloating. The food substances that commonly remain undigested till they reach the large intestine are soluble fibers (present in beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables), sorbitol (present in fruits and artificial sweeteners), raffinose (found in vegetables, like cabbage and Brussels sprouts), lactose (found in dairy products), and fructose (found in fruits, vegetables, and soft drinks).
Some Home Remedies Enlisted
➜ Keep a check on the intake amount of foods that are rich in sugar and soluble fibers. This is one of the most simple and effective intestinal gas remedies.
➜ Do not over consume foods with artificial sweeteners, such as creams, ice creams, pastries, and soft drinks.
➜ Try to swallow as little air as possible. Avoid all those things that can make you swallow air.
➜ Chew your food well before swallowing. This eases their digestion and hence reduces the chances of gas production.
➜ Taking a hot water bath helps in providing some relief from the gas pain.
➜ Chew some fennel seeds and aniseeds after every meal. This is a very effective treatment option for gas.
➜ Take over-the-counter anti-flatulence containing polyethylene glycol and simethicone. This will provide instant relief from the gas. Activated charcoal, pepto-bismol, and lactase enzyme are some examples.
➜ Drink beverages at room temperature and take a small walk after eating. These small things help a lot in the prevention and cure of intestinal gas in the long run.
➜ Chew 5 - 7 fresh leaves of holy basil every morning before eating or drinking anything else. This is one of the best home remedies.
➜ Some natural remedies include the consumption of peppermint tea, chamomile tea, caraway, and coriander.
➜ Try some exercise postures to expel out the excess gas. Lie down straight on your left side on the floor. Bring your knees close to your chest. Hold the position for 5 - 10 minutes. This helps in the removal of the gas.
➜ Drink a glass of lukewarm water mixed with 2 - 3 drops of lime juice and one teaspoon of honey every morning on an empty stomach.
➜ Avoid leading a sedentary life. Be physically active. Walk for at least 30 minutes everyday. This greatly helps in getting rid of the gas.
➜ Do not eat or drink while you are lying. This posture will increase the tendency to swallow more gas.
In a majority of the cases, intestinal gas accompanied with abdominal discomfort does not need either home or medical treatments. The discomfort disappears as the gas leaves the body. However, trying the above-given remedies will ease the condition to a great extent. In case you find no relief and your abdomen is painful and hard to touch, you should visit a physician and ensure that there are no underlying causes responsible for the formation of the gas.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.