Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC is a clinician, Naturopathic Practitioner, clinical researcher, author, and adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport. His work has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals and he speaks at conferences around the globe.
Your Guide to the Causes, Relief, & Prevention of Gas Pain
Common causes of gas pain are eating FODMAPs, gluten, swallowing air, and, potentially, an underlying gastrointestinal disorder like IBS.
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do for quick gas relief, like yoga poses or going for a walk.
By addressing your gut health with things like diet and probiotics you can treat the root cause of gas and help reduce its reappearance in the future.
Feeling gassy is a common experience. So much so, that passing gas in any form “between maybe five and 15 times per day” is thought to be normal.  (1) When that time comes, relieving yourself of gas pain might be as simple as belching, passing gas, or having a bowel movement. However, if recurring gas pain is an issue and you find yourself regularly reaching for Gas-X or other over-the-counter medications, it may indicate a larger problem, such as a digestive health issue like irritable bowel syndrome or poor eating habits.
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to provide gas relief, both now and in the long term.
In this article, we’ll explain why you may develop abdominal pain and cramping in the first place and then what you can do to get rid of it.
What Is Gas?
There are actually two types of “gas”. One is simply a product of swallowing too much air. Finding relief for this is simply a matter of releasing the trapped gas bubbles through burping or passing gas.
The other type of gas is a result of the digestive process. When food reaches the digestive system, the bacteria in your large intestine go to work breaking it down. This often results in fermentation and when too much fermented gas is created without a way to escape, the trapped gas builds and, ultimately, leads to discomfort and/or gas pain.
Typical gas symptoms are:
Flatulence (passing gas/farting)
What Causes Gas Pain?
Reasons for gas pain can range from your diet to a pre-existing gastrointestinal disorder. It’s important to understand where your gas may be coming from so you can more effectively treat the root cause. Here are four possible causes of gas pain:
1. Fermentable Carbohydrates
Fermentable carbs (also known as FODMAPs), area class of carbohydrates that resist digestion and are fermented in the small intestine. This partially undigested food can act as a rich food source for your gut bacteria. In some people, eating high FODMAP foods leads to an overgrowth of bacteria. These bacteria produce gasses in the digestive tract, resulting in digestive problems  (2).
Some high FODMAP foods are:
Wheat-based products like bread, cereals, and pasta
Dairy products like milk, ice cream, and yogurt
Certain fruits, including apples, pears, and figs
Garlic, onions, and artichokes
Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol
Gluten is a protein typically found in bread and cereal — more specifically, anything made with the grains wheat, barley, or rye. Although we already touched on wheat, gluten is the larger umbrella that wheat falls under, and gluten itself is not a FODMAP.
Anyone with celiac disease will have a reaction to this ingredient. Those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) may have a reaction to this ingredient, though this sensitivity can be transient and may not always cause issues. When a reaction does happen, it can present as gas pain, bloating, and constipation, among other symptoms.
Gluten-containing foodsthat may cause gas pain in sensitive individuals include:
Most bread and pastries
Condiments such as soy sauce and certain salad dressings
Pasta and noodles
Beer and other malt beverages
3. Gastrointestinal Disorders
Many gastrointestinal disorders will yield gas pain and other related symptoms. Certain foods, stress, poor sleeping habits, and lack of sufficient exercise may trigger flare-ups in people with these conditions.
Medical conditions that can cause gas pain include:
Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)  (8)
4. Swallowing Air
As we already covered, sometimes, it’s not what you eat but how you eat that creates gas pain. Eating too quickly can cause you to swallow excess air. That leads to bloating and abdominal pain as gas builds up in your intestine  (9).
Chewing gum and smoking can have similar effects since these habits cause you to swallow small air pockets that ultimately turn into intestinal gas  (10).How To Get Rid of Gas Pain: Now and Later
Fortunately, there are simple measures you can take to relieve your current gas pain, and even better, to prevent it in the future. We’ll outline some quick-relief strategies, but getting to the bottom of why you experience frequent gas pain and addressing it is a worthy cause. As you may have noticed, gut health is at the root of most gas pain, which means it’s also the first place to start to relieve it. But, first, let’s cover what you can do to relieve current, uncomfortable gas pain.
Now: Quick Gas Relief Strategies
Doing physical activity with bloating or gas pain can seem unappealing, but some simple yoga poses might be able to provide relief. While yoga has been shown to bring relief to IBS symptoms overall, there are also simple poses that may help release the trapped gas, so much so that one pose is even referred to as a “wind-relieving pose”.  (11) Here are some simple poses you can try now:
Go for a Walk
It may feel counterintuitive to move when you feel discomfort, but one study found walking for 10–15 minutes after a meal was better than prokinetic drugs for reducing bloat.  (12)
Brew a Cup of Peppermint Tea
Some meta-analyses state peppermint oil, which is a natural antispasmodic, can effectively treat abdominal pain and bloating with minimal side effects. Peppermint may relax the smooth muscles in the digestive tract, helping to decrease pain, bloating, and bowel movement urgency (diarrhea), but keep an eye out as it may produce side effects like heartburn or indigestion for some people [13, 14] (13)(14).
Later: Strategies to Prevent Gas Pain
Finding temporary relief is only part of the equation. Without changes to your overall gut health, recurring gas pain is likely to continue. Fortunately, improving your gut health doesn’t mean an overhaul of your entire life. Simple dietary lifestyle tweaks can be extremely effective in reducing gas and its symptoms like bloat and flatulence. Here are some places to start:
Refine Your Diet
A natural way to get rid of gas pain is to make changes to your diet. This is often the first and easiest step you can take.
One diet to consider is the low FODMAP diet, which is a short-term diet that removes fermentable carbohydrates often responsible for gas pain, bloating, and general gut issues.
Try changing your diet for 2–3 weeks and see if it makes a difference in your symptoms. For some patients, doing this may be all that’s required to alleviate gas pain but patients with more stubborn conditions will benefit from seeing a specialist.
Low FODMAP Diet
Since fermentable carbohydrates often contribute to gas pain and other gastrointestinal discomforts, consider adopting a low FODMAP diet to eliminate trigger foods. It’s considered one of the best diets for IBS patients, but going low FODMAP may help anyone with recurrent gas pain  (15).
Some examples of low FODMAP foods are:
Leafy greens including lettuce and bok choy
Certain vegetables including brussels sprouts and zucchini
Certain fruits including blueberries, cantaloupe, and grapes
Certain grains like quinoa and millet
Lactose-free dairy and aged cheeses
Two meta-analyses found a low FODMAP diet reduces abdominal cramping and other digestive symptoms [15, 16] (15)(16). Additional studies show a low FODMAP diet can help normalize bowel movements, which in turn will allow gas to pass through your digestive tract more easily [17, 18, 19] (17)(18)(19).
It’s recommended to try a low FODMAP diet, or any new diet, for 2–3 weeks. Keep a food diary to track any positive or negative changes in your symptoms. If symptoms don’t change or become worse, discontinue the diet and try another approach.
Other Dietary Changes
Anyone with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can benefit from a gluten-free diet [20, 21] (20)(21). This approach is only helpful if you are actually sensitive to gluten.
You can figure this out by committing to a gluten-free diet for 2–3 weeks, then reintroducing gluten into your diet. If you don’t experience gas pain and other digestive symptoms during the elimination and reintroduction period, you do not need to continue with a gluten-free diet.
Lactose intolerance is another common condition that causes gas pain and digestive discomfort  (22) . If you suspect a lactose intolerance is contributing to your issues, eliminate dairy products from your diet for 2–3 weeks and monitor your symptoms closely.
Cutting back on or eliminating fatty foods may also help reduce gas pain and other symptoms  (23).
Probiotic bacteria are live microorganisms that keep your gut healthy. Research shows that probiotics are effective in reducing gas pain and relieving bloating [25, 26] (24)(25).
Daily probiotics are almost always safe for long-term use and have very few side effects. IBS patients with SIBO can especially benefit from taking probiotics to improve their symptoms [27, 28, 29, 30] (26)(27)(28)(29). For a breakdown on probiotic dosing and a simple protocol, check out this podcast episode.
Diet alone may help relieve gas pain, but not always. Taking a natural supplement can help you get rid of gas pain.
Although these are natural remedies, it’s still best to consult with your doctor before starting any supplements — especially if you’re currently taking medication and are pregnant or breastfeeding.
These natural supplements may help reduce gas pain and other gastrointestinal discomforts:
Activated charcoal has been shown to reduce gas pain related to SIBO and IBS, although more current research is needed [31, 32, 33, 34] (30)(31)(32)(33).
Apple cider vinegar is considered a go-to natural remedy for eliminating gas pain but there is limited evidence to back those claims [35, 36] (34)(35). However, low stomach acid can make food hard to digest and is a common problem in older adults, those with autoimmune conditions, and people who take proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Betaine HCL is a natural supplement that is more effective than apple cider vinegar for those with low stomach acid.
Chamomile is used as a natural anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic — one study suggests it’s a helpful treatment for IBS-related issues.
Digestive enzymes can be helpful for some. For example, Lactase (sold as Lactaid) is a digestive enzyme that helps many with lactose intolerance. Beano, another digestive enzyme, can be very helpful in reducing gas after eating beans and legumes. There are also broad-spectrum digestive enzymes that can help with digesting a wider range of foods.
Make Simple Lifestyle Changes
In addition to diet and supplements, you can relieve excess gas by making small changes to your daily habits.
To start, don’t rush through your meals. The slower you eat, the less air you’ll swallow. You’ll potentially reap other health benefits when you slow down your eating, including weight loss and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease [38, 39] (36)(37).
Taking a walk after eating will help ease abdominal cramping and bloating from excess gas. Research shows that post-meal walks can speed up digestion and reduce indigestion, heartburn, and general discomfort [40, 41] (38)(39).
You can also take up yoga to prevent trapping intestinal gas. It’s not only great for relieving trapped gas, but for reducing symptoms associated with IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders [42, 43, 44] (40)(41)(42).
Address Gas Pain’s Underlying Cause
Excessive gas can lead to abdominal pain and embarrassing levels of belching and farting. Common causes of gas pain are eating FODMAPs, gluten, swallowing air, and, potentially, an underlying gastrointestinal disorder like IBS.
Fortunately, there are simple, natural remedies that can help with quick relief, like yoga poses or going for a walk. By addressing your gut health with things like diet and probiotics you can treat the root cause of gas and help prevent its reappearance in the future.
The Ruscio Institute has developed a range of high-quality formulations to help our patients and audience. If you’re interested in learning more about these products, please click here. Note that there are many other options available, and we encourage you to research which products may be right for you.
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