What is Flatulence?
Flatulence is excessive formation of gas in the digestive tract. It sometimes can be the cause of se­vere pain, distention and bloating, as well as social embarrassment.

What causes it?
Most flatus is caused by bacteria in the colon, which ferment undigested food and create gas as a by-product. Swallowing air also contributes to the amount of gas in the intestines. Chewing gum, therefore, should be avoided if increased flatulence is a problem. In addition, foods that may increase intestinal gas are listed below.

  • legumes (dried peas and beans)
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • corn
  • cucumbers
  • onions
  • turnips

Some other suggestions include:

  • Limit foods containing large amounts of air, i.e. car­bonated beverages.
  • If you are increasing the fiber content of your diet, do so gradually.
  • Do not use a straw when drinking. This incor­porates more air into the digestive tract.
  • Eat slowly and chew with your mouth closed.

OTC Remedies

  • Simethicone is a defoaming agent. It causes gas bubbles to be broken down or coalesced into a form that can be eliminated more easily by belching or pass­ing flatus. Simethicone is available by itself as Gas-X or Mylanta-Gas, or in combination with an antacid in Maalox Plus or Mylanta.
  • Beano is the brand name of a product contain­ing an enzyme that decreases the gas production or bloat­ing that results from eating various grains, cereals and legumes (e.g., oats, beans, lentils, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, onions, corn, etc.) It is added to these foods prior to consumption. Beano is also available in pill form which must be taken before eat­ing.

If flatulence accompanies a major change in bowel habits, see your care provider.