Gas is produced in the intestines when the intestinal bacterial flora metabolizes complex carbohydrate. It is a normal part of the digestion process. A healthy person passes gas at least ten times a day. Passing gas is rarely a sign of a serious health disorder. However, excess gas building up in the intestines that cannot be easily expelled causes abdominal pain and discomfort. Medications may be needed to eliminate the gas and alleviate the gas pain.
Constipation is frequently accompanied by gas pain. The hardened stools in the colon prevent the gas from passing out of the intestines, aggravating gas pain. Excess gas formation can be a symptom of inflammatory bowel disease. Treating these conditions can provide relief from gas and gas pain. Food intolerance is linked to excess gas formation that can be avoided by eliminating the offending foods from the diet.
In most cases, excess gas formation and gas pain associated with it are treated with dietary modifications and anti-gas medications.
Medications To Treat Gas
Simethicone is widely used as an anti-gas medication. However, simethicone cannot impair gas production. It only helps to eliminate the gas building up in the intestines rapidly. The anti-foaming action of the drug breaks down the bubbles in the gas, thereby helping the flatus to pass easily. Over-the-counter simethicone drugs can easily provide relief from gas pain.Simethicone is available in the form of chewable tablets, tablets, capsules and suspension. They are taken orally, usually two to four times a day after meals or at bedtime. The maximum daily dose of the drug should not exceed 500 mg. Simethicone is a safe drug, free from adverse side effects.
By absorbing intestinal gas, activated charcoal treats pain and discomfort associated with excess gas build-up in the intestines. Depending upon the severity of gas pain, 10 to 100 grams of activated charcoal can be taken each day. It is considered safe when used for a short time. Constipation and black colored stool are common side effects of this medication.
Activated charcoal is not recommended for people with any form of obstruction in the intestines. People suffering from gastrointestinal disorders that slow down movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract should avoid this drug. Activated charcoal should not be taken with any other medication. By inhibiting absorption of other drugs, activated charcoal reduces their effectiveness.
Legumes and cauliflowers are common gas forming foods. They contain complex sugars known as polysaccharides and oligosaccharides that remain unaffected in the small intestine. They are broken down by the bacteria present in the large intestine. The fermentation process in the large intestine increases gas production.
Beano contains alpha galactosidase, an enzyme that breaks complex sugars in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables and beans, peanuts and legumes into simple sugars. Simple sugars are easily metabolized in the small intestine, thereby decreasing formation of intestinal gas during the digestion process.People susceptible to gas pain should take beano with cruciferous vegetables and legumes. Although considered safe, it may interact with certain diabetic drugs.