Gas, bloating and burping are a normal, albeit displeasing and sometimes embarrassing part of the digestion process. Gas or flatulence is such a natural occurrence that most people experience it more than a dozen times a day. Some of the common causes of gas and bloating include eating or drinking too quickly, smoking, carbonated beverages, chewing gum and high-fiber foods. Gas and bloating can be uncomfortable, inconvenient and even painful. A variety of supplements are available without a prescription to prevent or treat gas and bloating.
Products that contain activated charcoal such as CharcoAid and Charcocaps are available over the counter to relieve gas and bloating. It's unclear precisely how activated charcoal works, but it's thought to prevent the accumulation of bacteria that produces gas while soaking up carbon dioxide and hydrogen, according to GIHealth. Taking 250 mg of activated charcoal before and after meals can help ease abdominal discomfort and decrease the amount of gas. Note that charcoal will cause stools to turn black.
Lactase, sold commercially as Lactaid and SureLac, may help people who are lactose intolerant avoid gas, bloating and cramping after eating or drinking products that contain milk. Lactase is an enzyme that aids in the digestion of milk sugar. Lactase is available over the counter in liquid or tablet form.
Antacids and other over-the-counter products that contain simethicone may decrease gas and bloating by causing gas bubbles to disperse and stopping more from developing. Simethicone can be found in Mylicon, Phazyme, Gas-X, Maalox Plus, Mylanta II and others.
Peppermint is available as a tea or in mint or capsule to relieve bloating and gas. Peppermint has a calming effect on the intestines, which allows gas to be passed more easily, notes Health911. Peppermint also eases gas and bloating by helping the body absorb gas that has accumulated in the intestines and colon. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits of peppermint for treating gastrointestinal problems.
The over-the-counter digestive aid Beano can be added to vegetables to decrease the amount of gas they produce. Beano must be taken the moment you start eating; it works best when there's minimal gas in your intestines. Beano will not prevent or relieve gas caused by fiber or lactose, says the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.