_3. You have a health condition:_Gas can happen if you have health conditions that affect your digestive system, like irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Here are 9 ways to relieve gas pain.
Since you’re probably extremely curious about how to relieve gas pain, we hate to break it to you: There isn’t one magic pill that will immediately get rid of any painful gas you may be experiencing. “Figuring out how to cure gas is the holy grail for us,” Dr. Staller says. There are, however, a few tricks you can try to either make the gas go away or, at the very least, make yourself feel better.
1. Sip a glass of water slowly.
Drinking water does two things, says Dr. Wakim-Fleming: It can help move any gas-causing foods in your system through the digestive process, and it makes it harder for your intestines to contract in a way that gasses you up. See, your intestines contract to move food, and if they contract too strongly or for too long, that can lead to or exacerbate gas.
2. Get up and walk around.
Exercise isn’t just great for your overall health—it can also help clear up painful gas and bloating. While a five-mile run probably isn’t first on your to-do list when you’re doubled over in pain, if you can manage a quick walk or other gentle movement, that can make a big difference.
“Exercise helps exercise your intestines, too,” Dr. Wakim-Fleming says. Experts don’t know exactly why exercise helps move gas along, but something about physical activity helps to boost your intestines’ muscle activity, Ashkan Farhadi, M.D., a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Group’s Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells SELF. (This is part of why exercise is recommended for constipation.)
3. Avoid swallowing so much air—seriously.
Downing some water can be counterproductive if you’re doing it in a way that will only lead to more gas. Until the pain abates, avoid habits that can lead to swallowing a ton of air, like taking big gulps of water at a time, using straws, drinking fizzy beverages, sucking your food down too quickly, talking a lot while eating, and chewing gum, Dr. Wakim-Fleming says.
4. Consider if dairy is actually the culprit.
If you’re currently in the fetal position dealing with gas pain, think back to how much cheese, milk, and ice cream you had recently—even if you don’t think you’re lactose intolerant. You can spend years having zero issues when you drink a venti latte in the A.M., followed by a grilled cheese sandwich at lunch…until you suddenly do.
As most people age, they start making less lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, the sugar in dairy products, Dr. Staller says. This is one cause of lactase deficiency and lactose intolerance. As your digestive system’s bacteria try to break down lactose without enough lactase to do the job, you may experience annoying symptoms like more painful gas than usual.
“Many people in their 20s and 30s have symptoms and don’t suspect that it’s the dairy products,” Dr. Staller says. If you think dairy is behind your painful gas, try cutting it out for a few weeks (or at the very least, the rest of the day) and see where that gets you.
5. Try an over-the-counter remedy.
According to Dr. Staller, Beano may help get rid of gas pain. “It has enzymes that can be helpful for people with excessive gas,” he says. The enzyme in question, alpha-galactosidase, helps break down the carbs in beans and other veggies when taken before you eat, the Mayo Clinic says. While there’s no guarantee it’ll work, it might be worth a shot. Another option is the drug simethicone, an anti-foaming agent present in medicines like Gas-X, which is designed to reduce bloating and pain from gas. “Anecdotally, people say it helps,” Dr. Staller says. If you’re dealing with a dairy intolerance, you might try a lactose supplement like Lactaid, the Mayo Clinic says. Keep in mind, however, that you should chat with your doctor about taking any drugs or supplements, especially if you are pregnant and breastfeeding, according to the Mayo Clinic.
6. Have some peppermint oil or peppermint tea.
It’s not just for your breath—peppermint can act as a spasmolytic, meaning it may help stop your intestines from spasming too much (which is what increases gas), says Dr. Staller. While this mechanism has mainly been studied in regard to irritable bowel syndrome, the muscle contractions in that disorder are the same ones that can make gas feel so terrible, he says.