• Ask your pharmacist if any of your medications might be responsible for gas. If so, ask your doctor if another type of medication can be used. Do not discontinue any medication without your doctor's approval.
• Try smaller but more frequent meals, and eat slowly. Avoid carbonated beverages and beer. Don't drink with a straw.
• If you feel stressed, there's a good chance you're swallowing more air. Discuss your stress with your doctor; treating your stress will decrease gas.
• If you wear dentures, make sure they fit properly. People with poorly fitting dentures swallow more air.
• If you're concerned about odor, dietary changes may help. Foods associated with strong gas odors are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and beer. Several companies make products to help reduce gas odors. Briefs made from carbon fibers absorb almost all of the odors from gas. Pads made from carbon are also helpful, absorbing about 55 to 77 percent of odors. Cushions containing carbon are the least effective.
• Beans, eggs, and fried and fatty foods.
• Beverages: carbonated drinks, fruit drinks, beer and red wine.
• Diary: milk and foods made with milk (such as cheese), and packaged foods that contain lactose, such as breads, cereal and salad.
• Fruits: apricots, bananas, melons, peaches, pears, prunes and raw apples.
• Grains: wheat and wheat bran.
• Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, peas, radishes and raw potatoes.
Talk to Your Doctor
Many patients are embarrassed to mention excess gas to their doctors. Don't be! Generally, excess gas by itself is not related to serious illness, but if you also have stomach pain, diarrhea or constipation, vomiting, weight loss, heartburn or rectal bleeding, see your doctor as soon as possible. When these other symptoms are present, your excess gas and cramping may be related to a more serious condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Your doctor most likely will send you to a specialist called a gastroenterologist, who's a doctor that specializes in the digestive system.
Note: This article was originally posted on Aug. 19, 2010, on PharmacyTimes.com. It has been edited and republished by U.S. News.