John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
If the patient does not desire to avoid the foods that cause gas, many nonprescription 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.