As common as gas and bloating is in our society, we haven’t done a very good job at coming up with medications to treat it. Most of the problem is that a large component of gas production is related to diet and lifestyle, and there is no pill to change that. Gas and bloating
Herbs and Spices
One of the main categories we look at with alternative treatments for gas and bloating are the herbs and spices. Many of these have been used for centuries even though we have very limited data on how or why they work. This is also one of the areas where Eastern medicine is ahead of Western medicine, and a lot of our understanding of which remedy to use for certain ailments comes from the Far East. Most herbs and spices for gas and bloating claim to speed up digestion and allow you to move and expel gas quicker and with less discomfort, or they act as bowel relaxants to reduce bloating. Whether they are actually able to do this or not we don’t know. I always tell my patients to take herbs and spices with a hint of caution. Although most of them are harmless, don’t just think of them as “all natural.” Some herbs and spices have pharmaceutical effects and can interfere with other medications or cause side effects of their own. This is a list of some of the most common herbs and spices used for gas and bloating:
Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain billions of bacteria that are potentially helpful to our bowels. Probiotics are one of the most common remedies people try for gas and bloating, yet we have very limited data that they do much good at all. The idea behind probiotics is that when they are ingested they help maintain the normal healthy bacterial flora that
- capsule form
As we have talked about earlier in this article, there are many reasons why people become gassier than others. Another reason for this problem is when your body has a deficiency in a certain enzyme. We all make enzymes
This is one of my favorite products for gas and bloating and is in a unique class of its own. As we have talked about earlier in this article, one of the main causes of gas production is fermentation of foods by the bacteria in our small bowel. This problem is called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). There are many reasons people develop SIBO and its subsequent gas production. The problem with all of our other treatments for gas and bloating is that they don’t address the causes of the gas production, they just try to treat the symptoms.
- Efficacy of Quebracho, Conker Tree and M. balsamea Wild Blended Extract in Randomized Study in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
- Technical review on IBS
- Task Force on the Management of Functional Bowel Disorders. American College of Gastroenterology monograph on the management of IBS and chronic idiopathic constipation.