If you are a stoic or a recluse, you may simply be able to ignore that gaseous excess and its audible effects. If you're neither, there are some things you can do to prevent or relieve flatulence. Here are some home remedies to help you out:
Stay calm. Emotional stress can play a role in worsening a flatulence problem. The gastrointestinal tract is exquisitely sensitive to anxiety, anger, and depression. A network of nerves connects this area of the body to the brain, and when you are under stress, muscles in the abdomen tighten. The results are painful spasms. Eating while under stress can also contribute to flatulence because you tend to swallow air.
Get physical. Sometimes, flatulence is less a matter of a faulty diet than of a faulty digestive process; the smooth passage of foods down the digestive tract may be hindered. Exercise helps to regulate the process, so when things get uncomfortable, take a walk. You can also apply pressure to your abdomen or lie facedown on the floor with a pillow bunched up under your abdomen to help relieve discomfort from gassiness. Sitting on the floor -- with your knees drawn up to your chest and your arms wrapped around your legs -- and rocking back and forth may also help, as might a heating pad placed on your abdomen.
Loosen up. If you'll be taking a long airplane flight, wear loose clothing. Tight-fitting pants can compress the abdomen and cause pain.
Bust the belch. Habits that can lead to excessive belching, such as swallowing air and chewing gum, can also cause problems with flatulence.
Get activated. Activated charcoal tablets, available without a prescription at drugstores, may help to absorb some excess gas and calm your flatulence problem. If you are taking any prescription medications, however, first ask your pharmacist whether the activated charcoal will interfere with them.
Reach for relief. If you just couldn't resist the spicy bean dish at the restaurant but are dreading the car ride home with your friends, stop off at the nearest grocery store or pharmacy. You're likely to find a variety of nonprescription preparations containing simethicone (such as Mylanta, Maalox, and Phazyme), which may help ease gassiness and make that trip a little quieter.
Don't stuff yourself. The more food in the gut, the more gas buildup. Eat light meals. And eat more slowly -- you'll swallow less air.
Your last straw. Don't sip drinks through a straw. You'll suck in air, which causes gas.
Your diet also can play a big part in avoiding flatulence. In our next section, we'll talk about flatulogenic foods to avoid.