Have you ever experienced stomach pain that became worse whenever you moved around? Or maybe even a heavy discomfort in the lower left side of your abdomen?
Although there are many possible reasons why this occurred, the most common is probably due to the fact that you had gas pains.
Very unluckily, gas pains may strike us at the worst moments possible—whether we are on an important meeting or a first date—Gas pain knows no bounds.
Why and how do people get gas?
Naturally, every human being has gas. There are two reasons as to why and how people get gas:
- When people eat or drink too fast, smoke, wear dentures that are loose or even chew gum, excessive gas may be allowed inside the digestive system. This is called air swallowing or Aerophagia. Other reasons for swallowing large amounts of air may be anxiety or taking in beverages that are carbonated.
- When certain carbohydrates, such as fiber, sugar or starches, fail to be digested in the small intestine, they proceed to the large intestine where normal bacteria finally breaks them down. Because of this process, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane gases are produced and are then released through the rectum (also lovingly known as a fart).
Supposedly, gas will pass through belching (burping) or flatulence (farting).However, if this fails to happen, gas may accumulate in the stomach and intestines leading to bloating that is often accompanied by abdominal pain—or gas pains.
Symptoms of gas pain
Although we might not know when gas pains will hit us, there are several ways to detect the start of such a dilemma.
Knowing these symptoms is essential as it will help you decide what to do when you find yourself experiencing any of them.
- Presence of abdominal bloating – A common symptom in gas pains is the subjective feeling that your abdomen is larger than how it normally is. Other people may also refer to this as a feeling of being “too full”.
- Presence of abdominal distention or abdominal swelling – For this symptom, you objectively find out that your abdomen is actually larger than its normal size. It is not anymore just a feeling—but rather, actual swelling is noticeable.
- Presence of abdominal pain and discomfort – For gas pains, it usually accumulates the left side of the colon. This is why pain in the lower left side of the abdomen is usually felt when dealing with intestinal gas. However, sometimes the pain may also come from other locations of the abdomen and may quickly change from striking one location to another. Furthermore, the abdominal pain that intestinal gas gives may range from being mild stomach pains to sharp jabbing pains.
- “Knotted feeling” in the stomach – This feeling may also be referred to as “butterflies in the stomach”. These are terms often used to describe stomach discomfort. When you experience gas pains, you will most likely feel that your stomach is being tied into a knot.
- Excessive flatulence – Flatulence is the state of having excess gas in the stomach or intestines which leads to its release from the anus. Also known as “farting”, flatulence is usually odorless. However, in many cases farting is accompanied by foul odor. Flatulence is common and usually not a problem unless they become excessive which is not normal and is one major symptom of gas pains. Flatulence may also be a more serious medical case if it is accompanied by the following:
- Bloody stools
6. Excessive belching – Commonly known as “burping”, belching is another way of expelling gas but, this time, through the mouth.
Belching is done in order to reduce distention of the stomach.
It is very important to be able to belch since inability to belch will lead to accumulation of gas in the stomach. Excessive belching, however, will suggest that there is already a great amount of gas within the stomach or intestine that our body is trying to expel.
It is important to take note that the severity and type of symptoms that each person may have will vary according to the severity of gas that has accumulated in the person’s body. There is no uniformed set of symptoms; however, what are mentioned above are the most commonly occurring ones.
In most cases of gas pains, the discomfort is usually tolerable. However, there are some situations wherein gas pains already call for action as it becomes extremely unpleasant and sometimes, even debilitating. From home remedies to over the counter options, there are several measures that can be taken to relieve ourselves from gas pains as fast as we can.
One of the most common and fastest home remedies to relieve gas pain is by using herbs. Some people may think that herbs are only to add flavor to the food; however, they do so much more as they offer a wide variety of health benefits.
Several herbs that belong to the carminative family may help in gas relief, include chamomile, dill, basil, nutmeg, garlic, fennel, caraway, cinnamon, oregano, peppermint, spearmint, parsley, wintergreen, cumin and dandelion. Although tea bags of these herbs will work in relieving gas, it is better if you have fresh version of these herbs just to maximize its relieving effect. Fennel is the fastest gas pain reliever as it only takes 10-15 minutes for it to actually get rid of gas pains.
Boiling water with ginger and drinking it as tea may be one way of using this herb. Another is by basically sucking on the peeled ginger or another herb, itself. You can also mix the herbs, such as parsley, garlic, or dandelion, with your food if you are about to eat a meal—since they may also serve as good food spices.
Aside from being easy to do, this remedy is within your reach if you just browse through your kitchen cabinets or refrigerator—these herbs are so commonly used in cooking and are surely found in your kitchen which makes it even more economical. With that, it is best to keep herbs close by just in case gas pain strikes.
Have a Bowel Movement
If you get the feeling of wanting to visit the toilet—please do not hesitate and grab the opportunity as this may be one major breakthrough in the aspect of relieving gas pains. As much as possible, do not hold it in as it will only make matters worse. Holding it in will only worsen your abdominal pain, give you chills and may even make you nauseous. So if there is any public toilet nearby, go for it immediately.
Being able to release your stool will allow you to help in moving the lining of the muscles in your large intestine—with that, you will allow the gas to finally find its way out of your body. Moreover, having a bowel movement will also empty the rectum, as we all know. The excretion of any stored feces will finally free the passageway and will now allow the trapped intestinal gas to locate the exit way of your system. While you excrete your waste, this may also be a chance for you to pass gas that has been trapped for some time.
This method may be one of the fastest method out there as it naturally and literally frees the passageway which gases often use to finally make its way out. However, excessive gas pains may not only take one visit to the toilet—it may take a couple before everything is finally excreted. After a successful bowel movement, do not automatically leave the toilet as there might be unexpected bursts of stool. It is important to make sure that you listen to your body and your stomach before leaving the toilet because you might find yourself rushing back to it again and again.
Oftentimes, people delay their bowel movement as they are not comfortable in doing it in the public toiler or wherever that is not their home—however, if your case is serious gas pain, always make it a priority to move your bowels if it is possible.
Try some Physical Activity
What many people do not know is that exercise or doing physical activities
actually aid in making our digestive systems function effectively as well. People who regularly exercise often report that after constantly going to the gym, their bowel movements have also become regular.
In the case of experiencing gas pains, it is, therefore, important that gentle exercises be implemented in order to ease the pain. Simple exercises or physical activities such as walking around may already be enough. Walking will help in relaxing your abdominal muscles and along the way, trapped gases will be able to escape.
Walking may be the easiest physical activity to do as anyone can do it anywhere but it may also not be enough to guide the gases out of your system. Another option, therefore, is yoga.
There are several yoga poses that have been acknowledged when it comes to their ability to ease the passageway of intestinal gas. Yoga has been known to help in calming abdominal pressure as well as letting trapped gases go.
Several yoga poses that give this gas-relieving benefit are the following:
- Eye of the Needle Pose
- Cobra Pose
- Shoulder Stand Pose
- Seated Spinal Twist Pose
- Supine Spinal Twist Pose
- Wind-relieving Yoga Pose
- Child’s Pose
- Cat and Cow Pose
- Gas Relief Pose
Above are only some of the best yoga poses that will surely relieve gas pain. To top it all off, there is even a pose that is specifically called “Gas Relief Pose”—apparently, the name already says it all. Since yoga focuses on relaxing the muscles, this may exactly be what people suffering with gas pains need. Fortunately, most of these poses are quite easy and can be done by anyone even those without any type of yoga experience. Yoga is a great gas relief option that should be done with utmost safety as well—if you are not familiar with the poses, try going for the simplest ones in order to avoid accidents or injuries.
Pass Gas (Duh!)
This may be more difficult to do than say since we have been brought up into a
world wherein passing gases in public is deemed shameful and inappropriate. But in the case of experiencing gas pains, one fast way to relieve yourself from it is by passing gases—whether through flatulence or farting or belching or burping. If you feel the urge to pass gas, happily do so but make sure you are in the proper place, if possible.
Of course, the body senses if it is about to pass gases; take the hints and go to the nearest empty corner or toilet and do the need there. Sometimes gases may be odorless or foul-smelling and so, it is best to pass gas while you are not near anyone.
In some cases, passing gases may be harder especially if the body does not experience an opportunity to do so—this is why physical activity is important in order to move the gases towards the exit. In other situations, your body may trick you into thinking that gases are the only ones wanting to pass but suddenly, stools and feces are trying to make their way out as well. Again, this is why it is important to go to the toilet, whether private or public, when there is a rumbling in the stomach and you feel that gases are about to escape. With this, it is always best to be careful in passing gases especially when you are out in public as you do not want to end up with your jeans soaked in poop.
Like bowel movement, gases should never be held in and passing gasses should never be delayed. It has to be done as soon as you feel the need for it as this may be the only way to save your body from more build-up of gases within your stomach or intestines.
A not –so-traditional but greatly trusted remedy for gas problems and other intestinal problems is the intake of activated charcoal. Although it may not be as fast as the other remedies, if you are able to know the usual time frame of your gas pains, this will serve as a fast remedy or even a prevention from it.
Also known as activated carbon, activated charcoal is made from the same elements such as that of common charcoal—peat, coconut shell, petroleum and coal wood—however, activated charcoal is specifically made for it to be used as medicine. To make activated charcoal, common charcoal undergoes heating in the presence of a gas which then causes the charcoal to produce pores or internal spaces that will trap chemicals.
Activated charcoal has been famously known for its ability to reduce intestinal gas through flatulence. Besides this, it has also been used to treat poison, cholesterol problems, hangovers, as well as bile problems.
The use of activated charcoal has a good reason behind it. When activated charcoal is orally taken, it travels through the body’s gastrointestinal tract where it is able to absorb impurities and toxins. These toxins include accumulated intestinal gas and hydrogen sulphide—which is the source of foul odor belching.
Furthermore, activated charcoal also works on compounds that may cause problems in our gastrointestinal tract and so, it is also commonly used as a treatment for diarrhea as well as irregular bowel syndrome.
When it comes to activated charcoal designed for medicinal or health purposes, it usually comes in capsules, powder, tablets and granules. Regardless of which form it is, it should always be taken at least an hour and a half to two hours away from meals or from other medicinal supplements on an empty stomach. More importantly, always take it with a large glass of water.
Activated charcoal is advised to be used intermittently rather than as a supplement that is taken daily. If the gas pains often happen during the evenings, it is best to take the activated charcoal in the morning and if the excessive gas problems come during the morning, better to take the activated carbon the night before.
Another good old trick up the sleeve when it comes to gas pains is making use of baking soda—a very common household ingredient found in almost all kitchens. Baking soda is a chemical compound that is known to react with many things including stomach acid.
With its wonderful properties, baking soda has dominated the field of treating abdominal gas and digestion problems. Baking soda acts as an antacid that neutralizes the stomach acids. When baking soda mixes and reacts with the acid in your stomach, it will produce another type of gas that will encourage belching. Moreover, when baking soda is mixed with water, it is believed to release antacid-like properties that helps calm the stomach and other digestive problems
When it comes to abdominal gas, the main reason as to why baking soda will relieve the abdomen from pain and discomfort is the reaction with the hydrochloric acid in our stomach which produces more gas—carbon dioxide. This increase in gas, as mentioned previously, will then initiate belching which is one way of expelling trapped gases from our stomach.
There are several methods of incorporating baking soda into home-made gas relief drinks; these are the following:
- Baking soda with water
- Baking soda with lemon
- Baking soda with vinegar and water
- Baking soda with lemon, salt and water
- Baking soda with lemon and peppermint
However, intake of baking soda should be done with extreme precaution. Always make sure that you will only use half a teaspoon of baking soda for a glass of water as this amount does not cause a dangerous level of the carbon dioxide that it will produce. Children and women who are pregnant should also seek the advice of a doctor when it comes to baking soda. Furthermore, baking soda should never be taken with antacids.
In some situations concerning gas pains, people are advised to eat yogurt. Yogurt is a type of food produced from fermented bacteria of milk. These “good” or “helpful” bacteria is referred to as probiotics. The good bacteria or probiotics in yogurt aid in promoting balance in the gut bacteria. With this, gas is reduced and eventually the digestive system is relieved from its problem.
Usually, if your intestines contain larger amounts of bad bacteria than good bacteria, it makes you digestive system more susceptible to developing problems such as bloating, abdominal gas, constipation, or even diarrhea.
Taking in probiotics will help in relieving these abdominal problems by forming colonies that will temporarily stay in your gut as it helps your good bacteria to build their army once more. With the formation of the new good bacteria army, there is now a balance between both kinds of bacteria and so, there is a reduction of gas produced from when food was not digested in the small intestine. With reduced gas, there is also reduced discomfort and gas pains.
A common concern, however, for those who take in probiotics whether through yogurt food or drinks is that they get gas—however, it is important to note that this only happens if the dosage of the probiotics you are taking are in inappropriately large amounts. Furthermore, these symptoms of getting more gas while on probiotics should go away in a breeze as your gut bacteria rebuilds itself. If a proper amount of dosage is taken, gas should not be an additional problem that will persist. However, if this concern continues, it is best to stop taking the probiotics as it may not be the right kind for you.
For the usual cases, though not for all, gas is caused by improper absorption of nourishment. This is typically the case with food that are high in fiber. Because fiber is hard for our digestive system to process—it passes our gut in mass or in bulk. In the event that these fiber rich food are not properly digested and broken down by the enzymes in our small intestine, it will then move to the part in our system, the small intestine, wherein bacteria takes care of the breaking down. With this, gases are created.
Pumpkin is a type of fruit that is quite useful in gassy situations as it lessens the amount of gases produced. Luckily, pumpkin is very commonly used in everyday meals. Pumpkin can be steamed, seared or heated and added to your dinner and still its effects and benefits will not change nor lessen. To maximize its effects, pumpkin may also be added with other spices that are also beneficial when it comes to relieving gas pains. And if you want to make a pumpkin formula, you can do that too.
Although not all people are fond of eating pumpkin, it is one of the best ways to prevent and relieve the body from gas pains. Pumpkin is well known as one of the gas preventive foods that exist in the world. And so, if you are dealing with extreme gas pains and want a quick fix, sipping on some pumpkin soup might just seal the deal.
That being said, for those who are prone to experiencing gas problems and gas pains, it may be best if in most everyday meals, a slight portion of the food would be at least mixed with pumpkin in order to avoid gas problems—if this is done regularly, it may keep the gas pains at bay forever.
In some extreme situations, gas pains become so excruciating and debilitating that it will keep us from being able to walk or stand as well as disable us to carry on the usual daily activities, for an extended period of time. Some people, during this time, would opt to just stay in bed and take antacids or other remedies that should relieve gas pains. Understandably, we all want to get rid of the gas pains as fast as we can and luckily, there is a way to do that—or do something close to that.
Using a heating pad during gas pain situations may be one of the best solutions you can ever go for. This is because a heating pad will give you an instant relief from the excruciating pain—which is really what we all want, something that is instant. However, keep in mind that heating pads do not make the pain fully go away—it just keeps the pain at bay and bearable. The causes of gas pain and other gas problems are internal and until these causes are treated, the pain will keep coming back.
The heat will be good at soothing and calming the stomach muscles and in turn, there will be reduction of gas pain. You can simply place a heating pad over the area that is hurting and you will quickly feel the relief—it is advised to continue doing this method until the pain completely disappears.
Of course, it would be best to have a heating pad with you while you also take other measures, such as those of the previously mentioned ones, to make the gas pain go away. If you are prone to experiencing gas problems, gas pains or stomach pains, in general, it may be best for you to keep a heating pad close by at all times so when the pain strikes, instant relief is within your reach
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is not the first time in which apple cider vinegar has shown its ways of making things better. From curing acne to serving as an all-purpose-cleaner, apple cider vinegar has always shown its benefits in many different situations, may it be in the field of beauty and hygiene or in the field of health.
Apple cider vinegar contains a whole of nutrients that help in improving health. Nutrients such as potassium, acetic acid and pectin are some of these. The most effective apple cider vinegar is that which is in its organic form—Bragg’s apple cider vinegar is the common brand for the organic one. Understandably, organic apple cider vinegar works more effectively for digestive problems since its organic form contains more enzymes and has not been filtered at all. These enzymes are the ones responsible for relieving gas and other digestive problems.
If the gas pains you are experiencing are due to indigestion, a cup of water mixed with a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar will do the work. This is because the vinegar will help in the digestion. Apple cider vinegar will also help in preventing constipation which is almost always the cause of gas pains and problems. Furthermore, this remedy will also help in reducing the feeling of bloating which contributes to gas pain and discomfort.
When taking apple cider vinegar, you may mix the organic apple cider vinegar with just water if you can handle its taste. However, for those who are not so fond of the taste or smell of vinegar, you may add honey into the mixture just to make it bearable. Keep in mind that apple cider vinegar offers a quick relief from gas pains that are caused by indigestion—if is not due to indigestion, it may not work as much or at all.
In conclusion, dealing with gas pains should not be limited to the option of going for over-the-counter treatments. Many home remedies mentioned above work faster than antacids. Like that of the herb fennel, it only takes less than 20 minutes for this herb to work its magic on gas troubles. Therefore, when a symptom of gas pain suddenly strikes, try to go around your kitchen and look for these household remedies that will ensure fast gas pain relief. In the event that these remedies still do not work on relieving the pain, it may be best for you to seek a doctor’s help.