Gas sometimes can cause pain in the lower abdominal area. Gas can be a result of swallowing air or of the breakdown of the food in the large intestine. Passing gas is a way to relieve the pressure, but there are also foods and medicines that will help relieve the lower abdominal pain.
Aerophagia, or air swallowing, is something you can’t avoid. However, there are ways to reduce the amount of air you swallow, thereby reducing the amount of air trapped in your body that will eventually lead to gas pain. Eating or drinking too fast is a common cause, according to the National Institutes of Health. Their research shows that eating and drinking too fast, as well as chewing gum, smoking and wearing loose dentures, all contribute to increased air ingestion. Most gas that enters the system in this way is expelled by burping or belching.
The other common cause of gas in the large intestine is from the natural breakdown of foods. Some parts of food are not broken down in the small intestine because of the lack of amylase, protease or lipase enzymes, and pass into the large intestine, where they are broken down by harmless, natural bacteria and produce hydrogen, carbon dioxide and sometimes methane. This gas will eventually escape through the rectum.
Gas pain medications
There are a number of nonprescription medications for gas pain, such as Lactaid or Swanson Ultra, that contain digestive enzymes that will help reduce gas production associated with certain foods, according to the NIH. There are also remedies such as Beano that contain a sugar-digesting enzyme to help with the digestion of the sugar in beans and other vegetables.
Prescription medication is available through your doctor. Usually these drugs are prescribed to patients with irritable bowel syndrome, which is a chronic digestive problem that causes severe gas pains and diarrhea. These medications are often anti-spasmodic drugs such as Zelnorm or Lotronex.
Foods and Drinks for Relief
One way to alleviate abdominal gas pain is to make conscious diet decisions and eat foods that are less likely to cause the problem. This is often a tricky process, because there is no perfect list of foods for everyone. Try to keep track of what you eat and the symptoms you experience afterward.
Meanwhile, according to home remedy website Ygoy.com, there are some things you can add to your diet for relief of gas pains. Teas made with anise, peppermint and chamomile are said to relieve gas pain, as is a teaspoon of ground ginger and a teaspoon of lime juice after a meal. Anise contains an oil called anethole that aids in digestion, while peppermint and chamomile physically calm the muscles of the stomach to allow the normal flow of bile.
Drinking enough water can often help reduce gas pain considerably, as proper hydration is needed for the body's digestive tract to work properly.
Foods to Avoid
The problem with keeping a list of foods to avoid in aiding gas pain is that often the general rules of thumb mean eliminating healthy foods from your diet. To generalize, it is important to remember that proteins and fats are not typically the source of much gas. Instead, it usually comes from sugars, starches and fibers.
Some problematic sugars are: raffinose, found in abundance in beans and also present in cabbage, asparagus and other vegetables; lactose, found in dairy products such as milk; fructose, found in onions, artichokes and used as soft drink sweetener; and sorbitol, found in fruits including apples, pears, peaches and prunes. All starches break down in the large intestine and cause gas, with the exception of rice. Pastas, potatoes, corn and wheat produce large amounts of gas. Soluble fiber, found in foods such as oat bran, beans and fruit, is also broken down in the large intestine and causes gas.
Remember to consult a physician when lower abdominal pain persists or becomes more than minor. While lower abdominal pain is typically a side effect of gas production, there are many vital organs in the area that could also cause pain.