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Flatulence (Gas) (cont.)

Flatulence (Gas) Medical Treatment

The goal of treatment of flatulence is to reduce gas and smelly odor. Medical intervention includes treatment with antibiotics if bacterial overgrowth of the GI tract is suspected or evidence of parasitic infection is seen.

  • Some promising studies have investigated feeding nonoffensive strains of bacteria to push out the bacteria that are offensive, although no established treatments are available at this time.
  • Regulation of bowel function is essential. Constipation should be treated with increased dietary fiber or certain laxatives.
  • In cases where anxiety causes the person to swallow air, the doctor may suggest the person seek mental health counseling to change habit patterns.

Flatulence (Gas) Medications

If the patient does not desire to avoid the foods that cause gas, many nonprescription over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are available to help reduce symptoms.

  • Beano is an enzyme supplement that may be useful with bean ingestion. It contains the sugar-digesting enzyme that the body lacks to digest the sugar in beans and many vegetables. Beano has no effect on gas caused by lactose or fiber. Beano can be purchased over-the-counter. Add 3-10 drops per serving just before eating beans and vegetables to break down the gas-producing sugars during digestion.
  • Antacids, such as Mylanta II, Maalox II, and Di-Gel, contain simethicone, a foaming agent that joins gas bubbles in the stomach so that gas is more easily belched away. However, these medicines have no effect on intestinal gas. These can be taken before meals. Dosage varies.
  • Activated charcoal tablets (Charcocaps) may provide relief from gas in the colon. Gas can be reduced if tablets are taken before and after a meal. The usual dose is 2-4 tablets taken just before eating and one hour after meals.
  • Certain prescription medicines may help reduce symptoms, especially if you have a disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome. Some medicines such as metoclopramide (Reglan) have also been shown to decrease gas complaints by increasing gut activity.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/11/2015

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