Published March 12, 2014
We don't like to talk about it, but almost everyone has had a problem with excess gas or bloating. But is it safe to take medication for gas relief regularly?
We recently received this question from a viewer:
Hello Dr. Manny,
Is there a downside to taking over-the-counter medications for gas and bloating?
Bloating, belching and gas pains— which occur when digestive gases build up in the intestines— can be embarrassing and uncomfortable.
Most popular over-the-counter medications used to treat gas symptoms contain the active ingredient simethicone.
Simethicone works by allowing gas bubbles in the stomach and intestines to come together, making it easier to pass gas and relieve painful pressure.
The ingredient is safe for babies, children and adults, and has no known side effects when taken in the correct dose— even when taken daily.
However, prevention is the best medicine, so here are some things you can try before you reach for the pill bottle:
- Avoid gas-inducing foods
- Eat and drink slowly
- Don't drink through a straw
- Skip gum and hard candy
- Avoid carbonated drinks and beer, both of which release carbon dioxide gas
If you're tired of taking over-the-counter medications, you can try natural remedies like:
- Drinking a cup of strong peppermint tea after meals
- Taking probiotics for good intestinal health
- Trying a natural enzyme supplement like Beano before meals
- Taking a few drops of bitters after eating, to enhance natural digestion
It’s important to remember you should always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Do you have a health question for Dr. Manny? Please send it to DrManny@foxnews.com.