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Embarrassing Gas Causes Social Isolation

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There are few normal body functions that generate more jokes and embarrassment than gas. In fact, the F word that is the common term for this act is frequently banned from newspapers and airwaves.

 Flatulence is a fact of life. We all pass gas, whether we admit it or not. When undigested sugars reach the large intestine, billions of bacteria are waiting to feast. Their output is gas.

Some people are so troubled that they become reclusive: “I am a 44-year-old female battling a daily, uncontrollable gas problem. This is so embarrassing I have quit going to social events or anywhere quiet, like church services. I've tried watching what I eat, but it seems that everything causes trouble. Maybe I should just stop eating!”

Certain foods are notorious for causing gas. Beans, bran, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, prunes and radishes are well known for this problem. Less recognized are apples, bagels, dried apricots or raisins. Many people cannot digest milk sugar and get into trouble with dairy products. Others have trouble with sugar substitutes like sorbitol.

Sometimes the cause is sudden and mysterious:

“I had a huge problem with gas after returning from a trip to Turkey where I caught some type of intestinal bug. After nine months of horrible gas, I finally tried your remedy of fennel, which ended the problem.

“Having gas like this can ruin a person's life. The stress and worry that accompany the problem actually changes who you are as a person. It affects friendships and sleep patterns, and gives you a feeling of loss of hope or even serious depression.

“I couldn't explain to people why I could not eat at a luncheon, or why I had to leave quickly after eating lunch with them, or why I could not attend meetings. This was too embarrassing for me.

“I could not talk about it with other people as I might have with another health problem. When I tried, all I heard from my doctor, my best friend and my daughter was that gas is ‘normal.’ I felt toward the end that no one understood how bad the gas was. Thank you so much for writing about fennel!”

Anyone who would like to know more about how to use fennel seeds and many other natural approaches to alleviate gas will be interested in our chapter on Gas in Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy. It is available in libraries and at bookstores or online (www.peoplespharmacy.com).

Besides fennel, other spices that have traditionally been used to combat gas include asafetida, ginger, turmeric and caraway. One reader reported: “I have had a chronic problem with flatulence and had given up hope that I would ever find anything to help. I’ve lived on a very simple diet for many years, making my own sourdough bread with white organic flour because my body can’t handle whole grains.

“In an experiment, I put some caraway seeds into my bread before I baked it. Lo and behold, the flatulence disappeared. It hasn’t troubled me for two years now, and my acne rosacea has also cleared up. What relief!”

Other strategies include sipping a dash of bitters in club soda or donning a pair of carbonized undies. Activated charcoal is used in gas masks and also works well to trap odors as they emerge.

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34 Comments

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I fit the descriptions in the article. How can I find the best way to use 'fennel' & the other items mentioned in the article to combat flatulence? Thank you!

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
Our readers have suggested the following technique:

Take 1/2 tsp fennel seeds. Mash them with the back of a spoon to "bruise" them. Cover with 1 cup boiling water and steep 5 minutes. Then sip the resulting tea. This can be done between meals as needed.

Help! Odor isn't my problem; instead, it's the sound. Even the smallest leak makes such a noise! I'm about 30 lbs overweight, so could that be a source of my misery?

Gas is often related to some degree of constipation. Getting regular exercise is a big help - something as simple as taking a brisk walk. (Perhaps going solo might be a good idea until the problem is resolved.) My own gas problems disappeared after I stopped hormone replacement therapy. Eating enough roughage is another important preventative.

One of the things I read of to help was mint--most mint or mint tea never worked. Then, I tried Bigelow brand "Mint Medley" tea, drinking it _with_ meals, and it made all the difference in the world. I mentioned it to a mall-walker friend with Crohn's, and it worked so well with him, he would tell everyone who would listen about it.

Cheers!

One of my Hispanic friends told me about an herb called, Epazote, which is used in Hispanic dishes, to stop any gas from forming when eating broccoli, beans, etc. It looks very similar to a mint leaf and is very reasonable to purchase. I've been using this for a couple of years now, with tremendous success.

I need to take Precose (a RX for pre-diabetes) with each meal. You would not believe the amount of gas it produces. I do not use it if I have a commitment after a meal.

Ever since I started using 2 tsp.of FiberSure daily,I rumble and have more gas the ever. What has happened, I thought fiber was supposed to help not make things worse?

I use Digestive Advantage for Gas and/or fennel seed tea.

I had tremendous rumbling in my digestive track all day long, with gas. I now take 2 acidophilus pills with every meal and no more problems.

I am thirty-five and have recently had terrible stomach pains and bloating with anything and everything I eat. I am so miserable. My stomach is constantly rumbling and I don't even have to eat anything and it still does this. Can anyone give me some recommendations of medication or herbs I can take to eliminate some of the discomfort?

Thank You All

I have found that the fennel has helped me a lot. I either chew a little bit and swallow or make the tea. Taking a ginger capsule along with the fennel is good too.

I read your reader's comments about using caraway seed for gas problems and about it clearing up his acne rosacea. I started using it immediately, making a tea out of it and drinking about 1/2 glass a day when I get home from work. It works fantastically at relieving stomach gas. I also suffer from rosacea and have been to many dermatologists over the years, but nothing has helped. This tea made from the caraway seeds has also taken the "redness" off of my face - even my daughters noticed! I am so happy with this result that I am anxious to try other home remedies on your web site. Thank you so much!

I have severe gas cramps and severe bloat from IBS. I found nothing that helps so far.

Thank you! This site was so helpful, it is going in my favorites for future reference.

THANK YOU!! for this website. It has been SO helpful. I will try the "recipes."

Hello,
Regarding embarrassing gas, I hate to say I have had the same problem. My poor boyfriend has kept his discretion about it and hasn't complained, but I know it bothers him. Thankfully and out of desperation I started doing my research and tried everything until something finally came through.

I tried everything including activated charcoal, simethicone, chamomille, and mint until finally I came upon an interview with Suzanne Sommers and how she lived gas free for years through food combining. I also read somewhere else that coconut oil helped prevent gas as well. That night I went to sleep farting continuously as always and woke up farting too. The first thing I did was eat a spoonful of coconut oil from my pantry... organic and all; then for breakfast I had a plate of fruit and hot tea and nothing else because Suzanne says to eat fruit alone.

For lunch I had a steak and lots of steamed zucchini and green beans because Suzanne says that protein is to be eaten with vegetables. Dinner was the same routine and for snacks I had apples. That night I went to bed without gas and woke up the same. I followed the routine the next day with the same results. Most importantly, I didn't drink coffee which was the hard part. I don't know if my success was Suzanne's fault or coconut oil's but I am thanking my blessings.

I must mention that my gas was due in part to high hormone activity that happens from ovulation time to my period. When there's high hormone activity the bowels automatically slow down. So, if anyone is trying to reduce gas and has tried everything, I suggest that you research food combining and coconut oil and try it. I also suggest that if there is an imbalance of hormones you try to balance it with diet, vitamins and minerals... even if it is due to pregnancy. I hope this helps because I'm living proof that it does. Good luck to everyone.

Hello, I have the same problem. I lost my self confidence because of excessive gas. It is hard for me to socialize and have fun. Every time wither I eat or not my stomach is bloated with gas. I red some of ur suggestions, I hope it will work for my problem too. Thanks pls write if you know more. Thanks

I've had the same problem. And I am in school. It's hard to take tests because it's so quiet so I usually get "sick" on test days so I do t have to go threw the embarrassment on it happening in front of everyone and it usually makes me sweat and shake. Is that okay?

I have been suffering from uncontrolled intestinal gas for almost 12 years. Of course with the gas comes bad spams on my anus, a feeling of throbbing and inflamation in my rectum, intestial mucus etc... Needles to say, ive been pretty sick.

I can take all those things like a man and take the pain... But what i cannot live with is the uncontrolled and humiliating intestinal gas. I have tried everything but nothing ever works.

Doctors just tell u IBS and have sent me home...Have any of you ever been cured of UNCONTROLLED intestinal gas? Some of u have been taking fennel seeds, epazote,coconut oil.. Etc... Have any of these products cured anyone ? Or is it just a slight relief?

Hi I've Given Up - DON'T!

Please don't give up. You know what helps, honest to god, is visualization, deep belly breathing and yoga. I hear you on the constant gas, so take your sister or brother or cousin or friend to warm yoga to help you feel better. It's yoga, they're all mellow, it doesn't matter if you have gas. After, you feel the endorphin boost which counteracts the humiliation. And your body is a lot more relaxed. Do you exercise? There are outdoor workouts you can do.

Also, perhaps your body is trying to tell you to live differently? Our body mind connection is powerful. If your body is reacting so strongly, perhaps pack it up and live somewhere else - follow a dream or an adventure you'd thought about but never done? Counseling is helpful as well to deal with the feelings of shame, and the feelings below the humiliation.

Wish you the best. It gets a lot better when you tackle it head on. You're more than just this. :)

Well I have uncontrollable gas as well, and it sucks! Being in my last years of high school means exams, which means for me a fail because I don't turn up, due to my 'tummy issues'. Afraid of going to school because I would hate to humiliate myself in front of the whole class! Please someone help, what should I do?!

If your excess gas is combined with stomach pains and fecal mucus, I would consider trying a gluten free diet. I had all of these symptoms, which were usually worst after my lunch meal, and when I went gluten free, the stomach pains and mucus were completely eliminated and my gas has been reduced (but not eliminated). I have found that taking digestive enzymes prior to my lunch meal has further reduced my gas. I am going to try the fennel seeds to see if I can find the final piece of the puzzle!

My wife and I was able to eliminate antacids by taking daily probiotics in a dose of 50-billion organisms with 10-strains of the L and B bacteria...this helped the bloating, and stomach acid. For the gas, we follow with fennel tea and enteric coated peppermint capsules for the gas. We have followed this regimen for over a year with good success.

My life had changed since I knew I had this problem. I don't have a normal life. I'm not a social person I thought many time of killing myself but of course would never do it. I gave up on dating because of the same thing. I don't live a normal life. I'm a disgrace to society. I wish I could get the help that I need. I love life but don't got none. Thank you!!

Gas has been my problem for the last two years or so. At first it was easy to stop using activated charcoal. The charcoal this time has failed to work. Antacids also offered no help. Am now using fennel, garlic and acidophilus, but all this am told must be combined with a totally sugar free diet. The dilemma am finding is that almost all fruits and juices contain sugar! What can be taken to replace them?

Guys I have been dealing with this problem for the past 6-7 years, anything I ate gave me gas. I tried everything from Pepto-Bismol to gas-x extra strength, then about 6 months ago my mom told me about fennel that one of her friend's husbands used it and I should try it. So when I got back to the states I tried googling it but could not find it, then a week ago wile browsing for other medications, I saw it and realized that I was spelling it wrong. I ordered Fennel capsules and they just arrived yesterday, and Honest to God I've seen a huge difference already, going from 30-40 farts a day down to like 5-6 and this is eating gassy foods. So just try it and see I got mine online for like $9 100 capsules, and I take it with each meal. I just let one rip now lol, but its like number 3 for the day and its 5pm right now.

Hi Carol,
Just wanted to check on you... To see how you were doing.

I can totally relate to each of you. Hopefully, the caraway seeds works for me! We shall see and I will keep u all informed.
Thanks for sharing your stories. It ENCOURAGES me!

I don't have smelly gas due to really clean eating. However, regardless of my clean eating, I still have excessive loud gas. My DR only keeps telling me to take Miralax, which only creates issues for me. I work in a Social Service Agency and since I sit in a cubicle, I assume people can hear. I am in my 40's and in great shape, so I don't think this has to do with exercise (DR keeps saying exercise more). I am depressed and I am becoming anti- social. I am embarrassed. I am ashamed. This curse makes me feel bad about myself.

I have went without food for a day or two and it has not helped.

I wish someone could help me.


P.S.
I am usually constipated but use Miralax daily. The Miralax does not prevent the gas. The GI Specialist told me to take it every day.

I have had similar problems with intestinal gas. I got some relief after making dietary changes. Some foods cause gas others don't. So u need to always find out what worsens or reduces the gas. Avoid wheat products, milk and dairy e.g. cheese, onions, fried foods, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflowers, apricot, peers, peaches, apples, beans, acidic foods should be replaced with alkaline foods, avoid red meat but eat white meat, cut out caffeine and all carbonated drinks, stop alcohol (all types) I forgot peas as well. Once u do that your gas will definitely go away or reduce to the normal levels. Tx

Hello everyone with tummy noise. OMG!!! U must try caraway seeds and or Fennel! It has truly helped my embarrassing tummy growls (especially, when not hungry) I also suck on two licorice tabs from the health food store every morning. My tummy woes have been totally resolved. I just wanted to share my success story!! Have a blessed day!!!

After years of trying everything... I've been taking a glass of milk every night... sometimes butter milk and it seems to work. My stool in the morning is light and everything comes out. Someone above said gas has something to do with constipation (fermenting food in the stomach) and I now believe so too.

I must say however, that I had myself tested for a bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori after reading about it on the web and the result was positive. My doctor put me on anti-biotics, but it's the nightly milk that seems to wash all the acid away.

I have suffered from uncontrollable gas my whole life. Makes me feel like I'm not apart of the real world. I am friendless.

I have tried a lot and nothing seems to work. I must be allergic to something I DON'T KNOW. This problem is controlling my life.

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