9 home remedies to relieve gas and ease stomach pain – Insider

  • Home remedies to get rid of gas include taking probiotics, exercising, and using peppermint oil.
  • Gas happens when partially digested foods ferment in your large intestine and produce air bubbles.
  • Herbal remedies like cumin, fennel, and clove may aid digestion and help reduce gas.

Gas is a normal part of how your digestive system functions. In fact, most people pass gas around 14 times per day. But in some cases, too much gas can build up in your intestines and you may experience bloating or have stomach cramping.

Most of the time, gas will clear up without treatment, but if you’re looking for faster relief there are several methods you can try at home to ease your symptoms.

How do you get gas?

There are three main ways that gas enters your digestive system:

  1. Basic digestion: Gas is created when the bacteria that live in your large intestine break down certain foods. Carbohydrates, in particular, take longer to break down and can reach your large intestine without being fully digested. These partially digested foods sit in your large intestine and go through a fermentation process that produces air bubbles, which come out as gas.
  2. Swallowing air: Gas can also get into your digestive tract when you swallow air while eating and drinking. You may swallow even more air than normal while chewing gum, drinking carbonated drinks like soda, or smoking.
  3. Food intolerance: You may also have more trouble with gas if you have any type of food intolerance, says Kyle Staller, MD, MPH, Director of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Motility Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “A good example of this is when people have lactose intolerance,” Staller says. “Part of the milk sugar doesn’t get completely absorbed so it is happily used by bacteria to make gas.”

In some cases, gas may pass out of your system with no issue, but if you are struggling with bloating or gas pain, you can try one of the science-backed methods below for relief.

1. Take probiotics

Probiotics can help reduce gas and relieve stomach discomfort from excess gas. Though not all probiotics are created equal.

“There are so many different types of probiotics that it can be difficult to identify the right product for the right person,” Staller says. However, research indicates that the strain Bifidobacterium could be useful.

In a small 2020 study, participants consumed a high-fiber diet to induce gas for the first three days. Then for the next 28 days, they added a half cup of probiotic milk product containing Bifidobacterium animalis twice per day with their regular diet. They then ingested the same high-fiber diet for three days at the end of the study.

Results showed that after four weeks of the probiotic food, participants had a much less severe reaction to the high-fiber diet, feeling less bloated and passing gas fewer times during the day.

Stellar agrees that for people wanting relief from excess gas, probiotics containing Bifidobacterium are likely to be the most effective.

2. Get exercise

Research shows that exercise can help decrease the feeling of being bloated. This is because when you exercise, your intestines are stimulated to move gas more quickly through your digestive system.

Some of the most effective exercises to help relieve gas include:

  • Lying on your back and moving your legs in a bicycle motion through the air.
  • Taking a short walk after eating.

Yoga poses

Certain yoga poses may help you pass gas and relieve your symptoms. More research is needed, but studies show that yoga can help with some irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. Two examples of gas relieving poses are:

Child’s pose:

  1. Start by kneeling on the floor with your big toes touching behind you and your knees about hip’s width apart.
  2. Sit back onto your heels and fold forward over your knees, letting your head drop.
  3. Reach your arms forward to place your hands on the floor

Seated twist:

  1. Start by sitting on the floor with your right leg bent in a cross-legged position.
  2. Cross your left leg over your right knee and place your foot on the floor so your left knee points upward.
  3. Gently turn your body toward the left side and hook your right elbow on the outside of your left knee.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.
  5. You can find a more comprehensive guide to helpful yoga poses for digestion here.

3. Try peppermint oil

There is evidence that peppermint oil can improve symptoms of IBS, like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and excess gas. This is because peppermint has antispasmodic qualities, meaning that it stops your colon from having involuntary muscle contractions that can contribute to gastrointestinal distress.

A 2014 review found that across 9 studies, IBS patients who took peppermint oil saw a significant improvement in their stomach pains, compared with other participants.

You can get peppermint oil in capsules and take one about an hour before eating a meal.

4. Apply heat

Using a heating pad may help relax abdominal muscles and provide some pain relief.

In one small 2011 study, women who suffered from constipation applied heating pads to their abdomens. Researchers found that the heating pads made their stomach pain more comfortable, and they also concluded that it may improve GI function by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which presides over the “rest and digest” functions.

Another small 2015 study had women using laxatives for constipation apply heat to their stomachs for 5 hours daily. Researchers found that it improved their quality of life and frequency of bowel movements.

Though these studies did not evaluate gas pain specifically, Staller says that, “many of my patients with excess gas and bloating do feel better when placing a heating pad against their abdomen.”

5. Massage your tummy

Giving your stomach a gentle massage could ease discomfort by relaxing the stomach muscles and helping stool and gas move through the digestive system.

Lying down on your back, move your fingertips in a circular motion, massaging your abdominal area in a clockwise direction.

6. Sip herbal tea

Sipping on a cup of hot tea may help soothe your gas-related stomach pain. These herbs are most associated with gas relief:

  • Peppermint: Just as you can supplement with peppermint essential oil, you can also gain benefits from making tea from the leaves. Sipping on peppermint tea can improve digestion and relax muscles to allow gas to pass.
  • Ginger: This rhizome has been found to speed up digestion between the stomach and intestines, which could help relieve gas, bloating, and the resulting stomach pressure. It can also help calm nausea, which some may experience along with gas.
  • Chamomile: According to a 2010 review, this calming plant may be able to help relax the digestive muscles and help dispel painful gas.
  • Lemon balm: This herb in the mint family has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects, and it’s a common herbal remedy to treat gas and stomach pain — though sufficient scientific evidence is lacking.

7. Cook with cumin

This popular spice may aid in digestion.

In animal studies, cumin was found to boost digestive enzymes to help food digest more quickly and efficiently.

When bacteria begins breaking down undigested food in the large intestine, gasses are released during the process. But, the presence of more enzymes may ensure that more of this food gets broken down before it makes it to the large intestine.

In one small 2013 study, patients with IBS were given 10 drops of cumin extract twice a day. After four weeks, patients reported improvements in all their IBS symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, and constipation.

8. Try fennel seed

The leaves, bulb, and seeds of fennel are used around the world for a number of ailments, including flatulence, stomach ache, and bloating. In fact, in India, fennel seeds are often offered after meals to aid digestion.

According to a 2014 review, fennel has antispasmodic properties and may help ease stomach pain and cramps.

Fennel seeds are also rich in fiber, which can encourage healthy bowel movements and thus, relief from trapped gas.

Try noshing on a teaspoon of fennel seeds or making tea by steeping the seeds in boiling water.

9. Try cloves

Clove, which has been traditionally been used to ease toothaches, has been reported to have carminative effects, which means that it may help alleviate gas. However, research around this particular use is sparse.

Some of the main compounds in clove essential oil — including eugenol, β-caryophyllene, and eugenol acetate — may potentially ease flatulence, stomach pain, and nausea, according to a 2019 research article.

It’s not recommended to ingest clove essential oil in high doses, but you can chew on a couple whole cloves, make tea with them, or include them in your cooking.

Insider’s takeaway

The uncomfortable symptoms of excess gas can often be treated using home remedies like probiotics, exercise, heat application, and certain herbs and teas.

But if you find yourself having bloating or gas pains regularly, you should contact your doctor to discuss making changes to your diet and to make sure there is no serious underlying cause of your symptoms.

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