How to Stop an Embarrassing Gas Crisis
Power saws and car horns, at 110 decibels each, are jarring noises that cause you to cover your ears. They’re annoying and obnoxious. Yet neither of them is louder than what an Englishman did in 2001—burped at 118 decibels, the loudest belch ever recorded.
While you will probably never burp that loudly, you might, after drinking carbonation, like a can of soda, or eating a heavy meal, burp continuously. Consuming food is the time when gas builds up in your system because you A) swallow air and B) have harmless bacteria breaking down undigested food. To get rid of the 1-4 pints of gas the body produces each day, most people pass gas 14-23 times. How do they do so? One way is burping. Flatulence, or farting is another.
Statistics may say it’s normal, but passing gas will always be embarrassing, particularly if done so in front of people. Luckily, it can be treated. The most common ways of doing so, according to the Natural Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, are dieting, medications, and reducing the amount of air swallow.
Dieting. Though dietary limitations will vary from person to person, rendering trial and error the best way to figure out which foods can reduce your gas production, there are a few general rules to follow. Gas is a digestive disease, so avoiding fatty foods helps the stomach empty faster. Unfortunately, many healthy foods can produce gas, like beans, broccoli, whole grains, and dairy products. Additionally, foods containing sorbitol, like dietetic foods and sugar-free candies and gums, should be avoided.
Medications. You won’t need a prescription for most of these meds. Dietary enzymes work because they help digest carbohydrates. An example is lactase, whose common brands Lactaid and Lactrase are available over the counter (OTC) as caplets or chewable tablets. These are the same enzymes used by those who are lactose intolerant; purchasing lactose reduced milk and other diary can help with gas. Also, check out the OTC med Beano (liquid or table) to help digest sugar in beans and many vegetables. And if you think you might have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), your doctor can prescribe a medicine to help reduce symptoms.
Air swallowing reduction. Bad news for gum chewers and hard candy devourers: curtail your habits. Health professionals agree that doing so is one of two ways to reduce your swallowed air intake. The other? Simple. Eat slower. Between bites you won’t be gasping for breath, and when you’re finished, you might have just a single burp to offer. Best make it a loud one.
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.