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Flatus (Gas)

Here are some suggestions of what you can do to help:
(1) Make a food-flatus diary. Take some paper and make columns for the date, time, food eaten, amount, and, on the right hand of the page, a space to put a score from zero to five relative to the amount of flatus you are having.
Then, examine the diary each day to see if, four or six or eight or more hours later, the flatus problem is related to the food eaten. Follow this each day and experiment with different foods to see if they make a difference. You can get some ideas of which foods may help or harm from some of the "tips" following; then, bring your diary to clinic with you to discuss with us;

(2) Sip fluids only through very small straws. This helps you to limit the amount of air swallowed which blows up the abdomen and has to be passed sooner or later;

Excess gas can be a problem in some patients after they have had gastric bypass surgery. The following information and suggestions to handle excess gas are provided to try to assist those patients who have this problem following their surgery.

Were you aware that most all of us swallow about fifty times an hour? And, with each swallow, we also take in some air. Since most of that air is Nitrogen, it is not absorbed by the body but must exit as flatus. When we become stressed, many of us tend to swallow more, even twice what we normally do -- say, 100 times an hour. This means that this extra air swallowed can blow up the abdomen to become very uncomfortable with a lot of unpleasant end product. Also, when food reaches the colon, bacteria digest it and produce gas products which can cause unpleasant odors.

(3) Avoid "leaded" (sugar-containing) fizzy sodas--they cause increased "gas;"

(4) Cut (dilute) all fruit juices at least 50-50 with water; they are very concentrated and can cause cramping, diarrhea, and gas problems when not diluted;

(5) Avoid all dairy foods (milk & milk-products). They are high in lactose, or milk sugar, which may not get digested early due to your less efficient anatomy. Once down in the large intestine, the bacteria digest lactose into water and carbon dioxide gas; water comes out as diarrhea and the gas, as gas with cramping and bloating. Taking small amounts of milk and milk products with an enzyme called "lactase" is usually OK;

(6) Avoid gas-forming foods=beans, peas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower;

(7) Avoid all raw vegetables. Cook all vegetables in an open saucepan to allow gas to escape into the air instead of in you;

(8) Avoid raw fruits. Canned and processed fruits packed in their own juice and then rinsed with water will produce less gas than when they are eaten raw;

(9) Eat slowly and take a full two to three minutes between bites. It will help to use your three minute egg timer as a visual aid;

(10) Block open your mouth with a pen. Open your mouth wide and try to swallow -- you will agree it is difficult -- you know when you are swallowing. So, in order to break the cycle or stop excess swallowing with stress, put a pen cross-wise in your mouth between your teeth and wear it for hours at a time, even sleeping. Once you break the cycle or finish the stress, the excess air swallowing should improve or cease;

(11) Use air fresheners, incense, potpourri, Arm and Hammer sprays, and exhaust fans at work, bedroom, bathroom. etc. Books of matches which have a refreshing "cover" smell are available at novelty stores like Spencer's. Putting a few drops of Aspirin solution or a ground up Aspirin tablet in the toilet before use can also help;

(12) Simethicone products such as Gas-x help absorb gas; use package dosage.