Is It Possible to Stop Flatulence?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

It is not possible to stop flatulence completely, but it may be possible to reduce it. While it proves embarrassing or humorous to many because of its close connection to bowel movements, a normal amount of flatulence is expected and is often the sign of intestinal health. When people say they want to stop flatulence, they may really mean they’d like to reduce it to acceptable levels.

Beans are one of the most common causes of flatulence.
Beans are one of the most common causes of flatulence.

There are a number of reasons why the body may produce excess flatulence. Certain types of foods or failure to digest some foods may result in a build-up of gases in the gastrointestinal system. Sometime excess swallowing or swallowing of air also introduces gases into the system, which then need to be released. For most people who want to stop flatulence, the first place to look is the diet, since there are many foods that commonly cause more more gas, which can be eliminated or reduced.

Over the counter medications may help reduce gas and bloating.
Over the counter medications may help reduce gas and bloating.

Some of the common food offenders include most beans (legumes), grains like wheat, corn and potatoes, onions, garlic, cashews, baker’s yeast, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbages, and many dairy products. There are other foods on this list and some people may notice an individual flatulent response to eating certain foods that aren’t generally classed as heavy gas producers. This could be part in part due to allergy or sensitivity to a food.

Intestinal illnesses, like irritable bowel syndrome, often result in poor digestion of foods.
Intestinal illnesses, like irritable bowel syndrome, often result in poor digestion of foods.

Foods are one component that can increase gas and make people want to stop flatulence, but the other component is poor digestion. Many people have minor to severe intestinal illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, constipation, Crohn’s disease or other conditions that routinely result in poor digestion of foods. Any type of food that sits in the digestive tract for too long can ferment and build more gases, which worsens flatulence. With severe intestinal conditions, excess gas and bloating can become painful and onerous.

People must figure out the causes of excess gas to stop flatulence, or bring it under control. If a person consumes a number of offending foods, he might consider removing some of these to see if the condition improves. Should the problem remain, especially if present with other intestinal problems, people might seek medical attention. It’s possible that an underlying medical condition needs treatment to reduce chronic flatulence.

Some quick fixes exist that may stop temporary excess flatulence. Products like Beano®, which has digestive enzymes, can be taken with gas-producing foods and improve their digestion. Others believe foods with live active cultures, like yogurt, are equally beneficial. People also use over the counter medicines like simethicone to reduce gas and bloating, or some prefer activated charcoal, which can help reduce odor. Should flatulence continue unabated with these remedies, and particularly if it is always problematic, people might consider having their intestinal health evaluated by a physician.

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower cause flatulence.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower cause flatulence.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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