Keep a Diary

If you really want to get to grips with the problem, keep a diary of what and when you eat for a week. Also note when you pass wind, and whether it is mild, moderate or severe each time. This may help you to pinpoint foods or drinks that are responsible.

Minimizing Belching

  • Avoid fizzy drinks and hot drinks.
  • Do not rush your food. When you gulp food you swallow more air.
  • Do not overeat. To avoid gas, it is better to eat little and often.
  • Chew your food properly. This helps the saliva to work on it so it is properly digested, and you are less likely to swallow air with food that is chewed small than with large lumps.
  • Do not use chewing gum, and try to avoid sucking on pen tops.
  • Stop smoking.

Minimizing Flatulence

  • Pay attention to the advice for minimizing belching to reduce swallowed air. Some swallowed air may be passed as flatulence instead of belching.
  • Try to avoid large quantities of gas-forming foods but make sure you eat enough fruit and vegetables to avoid constipation and give yourself a balanced diet. The carbohydrates in many foods (such as potatoes, rice, corn and wheat products) are well absorbed so will not worsen flatulence. Dietary fibres, such as bran and cellulose, are also innocent, because they are not converted to gases by gut bacteria.
  • Do not suddenly increase the amount of fibre in your diet; the gut needs to get used to increased fibre gradually.
  • Avoid slimming foods containing sorbitol. Some people find that reducing their intake of ordinary sugar helps.
  • Remove 80% of the most troublesome carbohydrates from dried beans by covering them with water, bringing them to the boil and boiling for 10 minutes, turning off the heat and letting them soak for 4 hours. Drain off the water, replace with fresh water and cook the beans according to your recipe. Or use tinned beans.
  • Take plenty of exercise. This helps to keep the bowel moving normally.
  • Avoid tight clothing.
  • Try taking a charcoal tablet (available from pharmacies) or eating a charcoal biscuit (available from health stores) before a meal.
  • Anti-wind products can be bought from pharmacies. They disperse bubbles of trapped wind by creating larger bubbles that can pass out of the system. They may relieve your discomfort but may make you fart and belch even more.

Disguising Wind

  • Sprays with essential oils can be purchased to help offset the smells – these are usually sprayed on the water in the toilet pan before opening your bowels.
  • If you have a serious flatulence problem, you might consider special pants that have a large replaceable carbon filter in the seat. This filter removes the smelly chemicals. The other parts of the pants are airtight, so wind can escape only by passing through the filter.


First published on:
Reviewed and edited by : Dr Kevin Barrett
Last updated: October 2020

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