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How to Get Rid of Gas

Why do we pass gas, and what can we do about it?

By
Rob Lamberts, MD
May 15, 2013
Episode #070

Page 1 of 3

How to Get Rid of Gas

For some reason, my readers seem fascinated with embarrassing subjects.  The single most popular article I’ve written is the one on bad breath.  My April series on embarrassing subjects was also quiet popular.  I am a little worried what this says about people who are drawn to me.  I suppose the simple fact that they spend their time reading my stuff puts them out of the norm.


Regardless of the reason, I will pander to the masses, and cover another embarrassing topic--one that is the fascination of many young boys and college students through the ages.  Yes, today I am covering gas - specifically, the gas that people blame on their dogs: flatus.

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Got Gas?

When people come to me complaining of having “too much gas,” they are probably focused on one of three symptoms:
    1.    Bloating of the abdomen
    2.    Belching
    3.    Flatulence.

Though folks are definitely interested in the fist two types of gas, what really brings people to see me in the office is the last one: flatulence.  To give this fascinating topic its due, I will leave the first two to future articles and focus on the last, and most socially significant one.  That is fine with me because I not only have very low personal standards, but I find it extremely important to help my readers end their social isolation.  I also want to be able to ride in an elevator with them.

Focus on Flatulence

Flatus, or passing gas out of the rectum has a unique status in medicine, being the bodily function that has more euphemisms than any other.  They are called toots, pooters, passing gas, cutting the cheese, breaking wind, trouser trumpet, farts, and, of course, stepping on a barking spider.  Just for fun, I will put a list of them at the end of this transcript.  Please keep the list away from any middle-school boys.  I also included a classic description of differing types of flatus from a prominent medical textbook that is, well, not typical of medical textbooks.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way (or cleared the air), I need to answer the following questions: What is flatus made of, what is it from, what makes it worse, and is there any way to make it better.

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