What Is an Antiflatulent?

Antiflatulents are products that reduce gas production in a person's gastrointestinal tract or facilitates the expression of gas to reduce discomfort.
Asafoetida is a spice used as an antiflatulent.
An antiflatulent may help reduce gas production and discomfort.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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An antiflatulent is a substance which reduces gas production in the gastrointestinal tract or facilitates expression of gas so that it cannot build up and cause discomfort. Some prescriptions have antiflatulent effects and there are a number of over the counter preparations which can be used to address flatulence. People with chronic gas problems may want to discuss alleviation of gas with a doctor to see if there is an underlying medical issue behind the gas production.

Some antiflatulent agents work by breaking food down before it enters the intestines to reduce the number of bacteria which cause gas in the intestine. Sometimes people do not digest food efficiently, and this attracts anaerobic bacteria, which produce gas as a byproduct of their digestive processes. Other people have naturally higher numbers of these bacteria which lead to an increase in gas production.

Other antiflatulents work by breaking the gas up into smaller bubbles so that it can be passed more easily. People who experience bloating because of gas may find these medications helpful. These drugs will not reduce the amount of intestinal gas produced and passed, but they can make patients more comfortable.

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One antiflatulent is simethicone, which pulls gas bubbles together so they are easier to pass. Historically, charcoal preparations were sometimes prescribed to patients to address gas. It is also possible to purchase enzymatic preparations with enzmyes like lactase, which will promote more efficient digestion and cut down on gas production. Several spices, such as cinnamon, garlic, and asafoetida, have been linked with reduced gas production. These spices, like enzyme supplements, need to be eaten with food to generate a gas reduction.

Some pharmacies and health food stores sell herbal preparations which are supposed to address flatulence. Some of these antiflatulent preparations are effective, while others are less so. People who are interested in using herbal preparations should check the ingredient list and consult their physicians to determine if a preparation is appropriate and likely to be effective.

Chronic gas can be a sign of a gastrointestinal problem, and for patients who have had surgery or other procedures in the intestines, gas can be a cause for concern. Someone who experiences gas should discuss it with a doctor. The doctor can evaluate the patient to determine whether or not the gas is a sign of a problem. If it is, diagnostic tests can be performed for the purpose of determining the cause and developing a treatment plan. If there is no problem, the doctor may have recommendations for antiflatulent agents which might be effective.

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Discuss this Article

cloudel
Post 4

I had a lot of problems with bloating when I was young. I think this was partly due to all the junk food I ate.

At the time, I had no idea how to treat it. My mother just told me to lie on my stomach to try to press the gas out. While this worked sometimes, I had to lie there for up to an hour to get any real results.

I was eighteen when I finally discovered antiflatulents. I took one after getting painful trapped gas, and I was amazed at how well it worked. I really wish I had known about this medicine when I was little.

Oceana
Post 3

I often get constipated, and this results in painful bloating that lasts for days. When I take a laxative, it works like an antiflatulent, because the gas comes out much easier when the feces are out of the way.

I have noticed that certain antiflatulents can also help mild constipation. I think that sometimes, trapped gas can make it harder to defecate. Having any sort of blockage broken up makes everything flow more smoothly.

I try to never take an antidiarrheal medicine, though. It seems to result in even more gas, and I end up having to take an antiflatulent to counteract it.

kylee07drg
Post 2

@wavy58 – I take an antiflatulent that is designed to prevent gas from forming. It is supposed to be sprinkled on my food before I eat it. That way, it has a chance to work before the problem could be created.

The antiflatulent comes in a dropper bottle. I squirt three drops of it onto whatever food usually gives me gas before I eat any of it. For me, this includes broccoli and bean sprouts.

It works extremely well. I didn't think anything could fight bean and broccoli gas, but when you get to give it a head start, it has the advantage.

wavy58
Post 1

I took an antiflatulent once, and I had to go home from the party I was at afterward. I did not realize exactly what it would do until it was too late.

I thought it would simply dissolve the gas inside my body. I didn't think that it would simply make it really easy to pass the gas. I suddenly found myself unable to control my flatulence, and I had to get away from people quickly.

How can you tell the difference between an antiflatulent that will dissolve gas bubbles and one that will make you pass gas? I really would like to get one that will work discreetly.

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