It's happened to everyone -- in boardrooms, classrooms, movie theaters and nice restaurants -- so many of us have lost the ability to hold it any longer. No matter who you tried to blame it on or how coolly you played it off, you blew it . . . literally.
Gas happens to the very best of us, even those of us who deny it, but it can be prevented and/or quickly remedied before it leads to other embarrassing moments we'd like to soon forget. Here's everything you need to know to be cool, calm and flatulence free.
What Causes Gas
Regardless of which end it comes out of, all gas starts in the same place -- the digestive tract. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), gas can build up within the digestive tract from the air you swallow as well as undigested foods that are being broken down by the bacteria that live in the large intestine. It's this bacteria that's also responsible for any odor, by releasing gases that contain sulfur (think stinky eggs). Gas that's released through the mouth is called belching or burping, while the gas released through the rectum is called flatus or flatulence, and of course, farting.
If you have gas, you may feel bloated with cramps or colicky pains in the abdomen. Certain foods can also be blamed for causing gas, although they can be very different from person to person. Some common gassy foods include beans/legumes, vegetables like asparagus and onions, whole grains, fruits like bananas and apples and milk products. Antibiotics and digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn's disease as well as hormonal changes can also lead to gas.
Natural Remedies for Gas
Hopefully now you've isolated the cause(s) of your gas and accepted it. So how can you get rid of it? Luckily, there are some remedies out there with proven gas-busting effects:
Caraway Seeds -- Either eaten whole or taken in supplement form, this European holistic remedy can help prevent gas when taken before a meal. These seeds also provide antioxidant benefits.
Activated Charcoal -- Praised for it's detoxification qualities, activated charcoal can be used to relieve gas and indigestion once it's begun by literally absorbing it. Charcoal binds with gas and helps the body easily remove it.
Licorice Root -- This herbal remedy has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve indigestion, including acid reflux.
Probiotics -- These "friendly" bacteria help to maintain balance within the gut to prevent digestive upset and boost immunity. They can help the body break down food properly to stop symptoms from occurring.
Fennel -- Taken with a meal, fennel seeds are a popular digestive aid in Asia and South America. They help food break down properly.
Digestive Enzymes -- These compounds help the body break down and digest food efficiently and gently to prevent indigestion. Common digestive enzymes are bromelain, quercetin and betaine HCl.
These ingredients can be found on their own or in combination. Follow instructions carefully and speak with your doctor before adding them to your routine, especially if you've been diagnosed with a digestive condition.
Additional Tips to Prevent Gas
Still afraid of being caught in a gassy situation? The NIH has some tips for stopping gas before it starts:
Drink plenty of water.
Limit intake of fizzy drinks.
Chew food more thoroughly to reduce the amount of air swallowed.
Avoid milk products if you're lactose intolerant.
Change the amount of fiber in your diet gradually and consistently, allowing the body time to adjust.
You don't have to be the gassy one in the group. Shop for these supplements and more at eVitamins and try out some of these tips to keep things a bit quieter. Your peers will thank you.
eVitamins recommends that you do not rely on the information presented in this article as diagnosis for treatment to any health claim. Content and information on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. The information and statements in this article have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. eVitamins assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements.