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Julie Wilkinson, BSN, RN

Kicking Your Gas Problem

By October 25, 2012

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It may be the brunt of many jokes, but there's nothing funny about having excess gas. The bubbles can cause pain and discomfort in your belly as well as some embarrassing emissions in the form of flatulence (tooting, farting, breaking wind - pick the urban slang) and burping.

There is physically nothing you can do to prevent all gas from forming - it's a natural byproduct of food digestion. As the bacteria in your small intestine and colon finish breaking down food into molecules, gases such as carbon dioxide and, in some people, methane are released. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, it's normal for most people to pass gas up to 23 times per day (not that you've ever counted).

However, if you suffer physically or psychologically from excess gas, talk to your doctor. Gas, bloating and abdominal pain, although vague, can be symptoms of colon cancer. In the meantime, there are things you can do to decrease the amount of gas you have including:

  • Stop using straws to drink - You're unknowingly swallowing air with the beverage when you use a straw. What goes in...must come out.
  • Avoid chewing gum and smoking - Both actions also increase the amount of air you swallow.
  • Sit down and enjoy your meals, try not to eat like it's a race - When you gulp down food, you gulp down air.
  • Ease up on the carbohydrates - Pasta, corn and other starchy veggies form excess gas bubbles during the digestion process in your small intestine.
  • Avoid the foods that you know cause gas such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and lentils.
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