How to reduce flatulence: Causes of excessive flatulence and top tips to relieve it

How to reduce flatulence: Causes of excessive flatulence and top tips to relieve it

08 Dec 2021

There’s always a hint of embarrassment surrounding the topic of passing gas. Medically termed flatulence, passing gas is a completely normal bodily function. It’s one of the many digestive processes your gut initiates on its own, relieving you from any pain, pressure, or discomfort from accumulating too much gas in your digestive tract throughout the day.

How to reduce flatulence

Whilst a certain level of flatulence is necessary to keep you comfortable and your gut comfortable, there is such a thing as excessive flatulence. It can negatively impact your life as well as potentially signalling a health condition that requires closer inspection. Unsurprisingly, many Australians may wonder if their gassiness is normal or cause for concern as well as how to reduce flatulence entirely.

Let’s take a closer look at the causes behind flatulence, habits that exacerbate the issue as well as foods that may worsen symptoms.

The importance of passing gas

As previously mentioned, flatulence is a normal bodily function in response to excess gas in the digestive system (1, 2). It’s perfectly normal for flatulence to occur as often as 14 to 23 times a day1 and there are a myriad of causes for its frequency (1,2,3), including:

  • Swallowed air from eating, talking, or increased breathing during exercise
  • Intestinal bacteria
  • Normal digestion
  • Ingestion of fibrous food
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Intolerance to short-chain carbohydrates
  • Certain illnesses
  • Age

Most of the time, flatulence isn’t something to be worried about. In fact, regularly passing gas indicates that your body is working the way it should and that your digestive system is functioning effectively. Though you might have wondered about how to reduce flatulence many times in the past, the goal is never to eliminate flatulence completely. Think of your gut as a balloon that could become over-inflated and either rupture or become very painful without the relief. Without flatulence, abdominal pain would be a common problem for all, as it would become extremely difficult to go about our daily life with such accumulation of gas in the digestive tract.

How to reduce flatulence and address excessive flatulence

While flatulence in itself isn’t something to be worried about, excessive  flatulence can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Excessive flatulence could also signal an underlying digestive issue to be considered (2, 3). If you feel that this might be the case, err on the side of caution and visit your doctor.

However, if you suspect that you have  excessive gas due to poor lifestyle choices, here are doable tips that you can follow to address excessive flatulence right away:

Exercise

Aside from the many known health benefits that exercise provides, staying physically active also does wonders for the gut and reduces the risk of developing the problem of excessive flatulence. The more we exercise, the more likely we are to reduce flatulence and keep our digestive tract moving (1). Even gentle exercises such as yoga or walking encourage the “massaging” of your abdomen, helping the gut move gas along smoothly. Don’t be surprised if, during exercise, you find your releasing gas via flatulence or burping. This is actually a good thing!

How to reduce flatulence

Limit your intake of foods that cause flatulence

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower produce more gas than other greens. Some other common triggers of excessive flatulence include dairy and alcoholic or carbonated beverages. If you are struggling with excessive flatulence, try to make minor adjustments to your diet, minimise your intake of such foods and monitor your symptoms (1).

Hydrate more

When we are properly hydrated, it’s less likely that we will become constipated, which will, in turn, contribute to increased gas in our digestive systems (1).

Get sufficient nutrition

As stated above, sometimes excessive gas is a sign that something might be off balance in your digestive tract. It might mean that you are lacking in certain nutrients or vitamins such as zinc or prebiotics. While the priority to receiving sufficient nutrients lies in a healthy and well-balanced diet, you can consider supplements to ensure that you meet your daily requirement.

How to reduce flatulence

How to reduce flatulence with supplementation

Here are some nutrients and minerals that are worth paying attention to if you’re looking to reduce excessive flatulence. In Australia, Vitable readily provides these supplements to help support the digestive system.

Zinc

Zinc is one of the key minerals that promote healthy digestive function, but it is not produced naturally by our bodies. Research also suggests that a lack of zinc can lead to a compromised digestive system (4). If you do not get enough zinc from food sources, you can consider taking zinc supplements.

Probiotics

Yoghurt, cheese and other fermented foods are great food sources of probiotics. Probiotics promote the presence of good gut bacteria whilst helping the possible overgrowth of bad gut bacteria, the latter of which can contribute to excessive flatulence.

Vitable Australia offers two kinds of probiotic supplements: Probiotics SB and Daily Probiotics. Whilst both offer similar benefits for digestive system health and maintain digestive function, Probiotics SB is especially recommended for those taking antibiotics or have just finished taking them. Antibiotics potentially kill off good gut bacteria, leaving the digestive tract in need of external help to restore the balance of good and bad bacteria and thus, minimise the risk of developing excessive flatulence.

Cucumin

Cucumin is naturally found in turmeric and is the component that gives it its signature yellow color. But more importantly than its aesthetic value, curcumin possesses natural properties that can support healthy digestion (5) as well as the general maintenance of a healthy digestive system.

Whilst passing gas is completely natural, excessive flatulence could be a sign of something more serious. It is important to monitor any symptoms you have, as well as potential triggers to keep on top of your gut health.

Ensuring we consume sufficient nutrients from food sources can be a challenge for some. With Vitable’s monthly vitamin subscription, you can support your nutrient intake alongside a well-rounded diet to help keep your gut healthy. Our personalised vitamin packs even come with vitamin delivery that will have them delivered right to your doorstep.

Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:

Zinc | Probiotics SB | Daily probiotics | Curcumin

*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

References:

  1. Are You Passing Too Much Gas? 6 Tips for Relieving Flatulence (2018), Accessed October 28, 2021 from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-causes-flatulence-and-what-to-do-when-its-a-problem-for-you/
  2. Flatulence (n.d.) https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/flatulence
  3. Intestinal Gas (2021), Accessed October 28, 2021 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/intestinal-gas/basics/causes/sym-20050922
  4. Zinc and Micronutrient Combinations to Combat Gastrointestinal Inflammation (2009), Accessed October 28, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19684516/
  5. Cucumin: A Potent Protectant Against Esophageal and Gastric Disorders (2019), Accessed October 28, 2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471759/