I often pass foul-smelling gas. Help!

Flatulence or the passing of excessive gas can be due to the  drinking carbonated soft drinks.  Reducing the intake of such drinks and food will reduce gas formation in the gut significantly.

Q: I am a 62-year-old woman who often passes foul-smelling gas, and the process also often results in very loud noises.

This has caused me embarrassment when I am with other people and it has affected my social life.

I will be going for a retreat soon.

Is there any medication that I can take for that day to save me the embarrassment?

A: Flatulence or the passing of excessive gas is due to multiple causes.

For instance, drinking carbonated soft drinks, such as soda, and eating "gas-forming" food such as nuts, beans, corns and cabbages, can result in flatulence.

In this case, diet modification plays an important role in reducing flatulence.

Reducing the intake of such drinks and food will reduce gas formation in the gut significantly.

Taking probiotics, such as lactobacilli and acidophilus species, may also help.

Probiotics are microbes, primarily bacteria, that live in the intestine and aid digestion. They are present in food such as yogurt.

They may replace gas-producing "bad bacteria" in the gut and reduce flatulence.

Finally, taking anti-flatulence medicine may help as well.

Different types of such medicine are available from family physicians.

These preparations help to regulate the activities of the intestines and reduce gas formation or absorb excessive gas in the intestines.

It is important to consult your family doctor to rule out the use of certain drugs and medical conditions that may aggravate the condition.

DR LAW NGAI MOH, consultant in gastroenterology and internal medicine at Raffles Internal Medicine Centre at Raffles Hospital


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