Q. Someone wrote to you regarding her husband’s problem with gas. She found something that worked like a charm, but I can’t find the article now. My husband has the smelly kind of gas, not painful or noisy. It is more the silent but deadly variety. Since he doesn’t have a good sense of smell, he can’t realize how offensive it is.
He has it all day and all night, and sometimes I just can’t stand it. I keep a small can of perfumed spray in my night stand to use when it gets too bad. I surely would appreciate learning what worked so well for the couple with a similar problem.
A. We heard about this remedy from a doctor’s wife who was distressed by her husband’s flatulence. A Hungarian masseuse suggested that he take one tablespoon of flax seed powder with juice twice a day and 2 capsules of fennel seed two or three times a day. They found that this formula worked very well for him.
Flax and fennel doesn’t work for everyone, though. Another reader says:
” I tried the flax and fennel seed remedy for gas with no results. If anything it got worse. Any other ideas?”
Taking Beano with meals or activated charcoal capsules after meals is often helpful. Another reader swears by peppermint tea.
Perhaps the most interesting solution for smelly gas is good old-fashioned Pepto Bismol:
Q. I had colon surgery last year and as a result I suffered from embarrassing smelly flatulence. Fortunately, I found a product called Devrom (www.devrom.com). It has changed my life!
A. Stinky gas can be extremely embarrassing. Devrom contains bismuth subgallate. A similar compound, bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), is effective against odorous flatulence (Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology, Aug. 2001). It is possible to overdose on bismuth, so don’t get carried away. Too much bismuth could harm the nervous system or kidneys. Pepto-Bismol can interact with several medications.
Flatologists (experts on gas) often recommend keeping a diary of what is eaten and gas that is passed. This helps identify foods most likely to cause flatulence so your husband can avoid them. Some of the worst offenders are beans (obviously), onions, but also cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower. Even people who are only mildly lactose intolerant may need to avoid milk and dairy based foods. Here are some links to more information about flatulence.