Nothing ruins a great time quite like painful gas. Whether you are dressed up at a social event or binging shows in your sweatpants, nobody wants to feel bloated. Severe gas can be quite painful and shouldn’t be ignored. For the sake of your comfort, your health, and your social life, don’t wait, find a solution that lets the pressure off.
Jeffrey Fein, MD, is a gastroenterologist at Banner Health Center in Arizona. He commented that diet is almost always the cause of intestinal gas pain and bloating. “Gas is created from the interactions between the food we eat and the bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. We can certainly control the foods we eat and even influence the bacteria that helps us digest.”
Prebiotics and probiotics
Probiotics help eliminate or decrease common gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, reflux and even nausea/vomiting. These foods help fill your gut with healthy bacteria that will assist in the healthy breakdown of the food you eat. Examples of foods rich in probiotics include kefir (a probiotic milk drink), kimchi and yogurt that contains lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.
Prebiotics are the foods that probiotics need to thrive. It might help to think of prebiotics as the soil and probiotics as the seed. Both are necessary for healthy bacterial growth. Grains and fruits are rich in prebiotics, for example – quinoa, garlic, bananas, barley and more. Including prebiotics and probiotics in your meal plan will make digestion much easier.
Choosing gas-friendly meals
A balanced diet will help digestion in almost every case. But it’s not that simple. Many healthy foods are linked to gas overproduction, such as beans, vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts, as well as fruits like apples, pears and prunes. “Contrary to what you might think looking at fast food menus, you can’t just cut vegetables and fruits out of your life,” said Dr. Fein. “But you can pick gas-friendly options such as bok choy, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, blueberries, grapes and strawberries.” Lean harder on gas-friendly options and include the others more sparingly. Avoiding processed foods and sodas will also go a long way in decreasing your gas pain.
Although gas pain can almost always be mitigated with diet, there are several other causes that could be affecting your GI tract and causing unwanted gas.
- Celiac disease
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Lactose intolerance and other conditions
- Lack of exercise
- Inadequate sleep
- Excessive stress
- Drinking from straws
- Chewing gum
- Carbonated drinks
Don’t wait. Get help!
Dealing with gas pain can feel embarrassing. But the truth is, everyone deals with it here and there. Dr. Fein emphasized the importance of seeking help if you are experiencing severe symptoms that are affecting your life, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or sharp abdominal pain. Your gut is trying to tell you something. Follow it! Freedom from gas pain may be just around the corner. To find a health care provider near you, visit bannerhealth.com.
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