a man in a gas mask

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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  1. Becky
    United States

    I’ve had this problem for two years now, soon it will be three. I have lost all hope since I have tried pharmacy medicine and it has left me unchanged. I can not interact with other as much as I should or could have done if I weren’t how I am. I recently told a doctor for the first time and all he said was to add more veggies and fruits and eight bottles of water to my day. I don’t think he knows how much this ruined my life.

    I must do this for a month but I need something faster because I want to walk into my work place happy and sit with fellow work members to chat instead of being paranoid of someone noticing and telling everyone so they can laugh at me and recognize me just for that one mistake. As you frolic around your merry life I am desperately searching online for remedies and cures. I’m skating on thin ice… and I hope and beg I don’t fall to an abyss of depression and rejection and a terrible view of life… it will happen one day… I know it will I just,…iIjust hope it isn’t when I least expect it…. (。ŏ_ŏ)

  2. Manui W.
    Phoenixville pa

    Hi my name is Manui W., I been having really bad gas problem for a year and a half now. I had to leave my school n quit my job because I was getting made fun out of. I dont know what to do I have seen some doctors but no one knows what’s going on. The gas problem worsen anytime people are around me and when I am by myself it don’t happen.
    please help me somebody

  3. R

    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.

  4. CHERYL M.

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

  5. Mary

    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.

  6. Encourager

    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!!!

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