At some point during the day, everyone experiences flatulence. When a person digests food or swallows air, his body produces gas. The gas needs to exit the body at some point and usually comes out as flatulence or a burp. While flatulence is normal, it can be embarrassing for some since it occasionally produces an unpleasant, very noticeable smell. A person can reduce flatulence by changing the types of food he eats and how he eats them.
The small intestine is usually responsible for breaking down and absorbing the foods a person eats. Unfortunately, it cannot always break down some carbohydrates, including insoluble fiber and sugars such as lactose and fructose, because it lacks the enzymes needed to do so. One way to reduce flatulence is to eliminate those foods from the diet. Foods that may give a person trouble include beans, onions, vegetables in the cabbage family, some fruits such as apples, and dairy. Since the number of foods that contain fibers and sugars is long, it may be nearly impossible for a person to cut all of them from his diet.
One way to reduce flatulence without severely restricting a person's diet is to find the foods that trigger his symptoms most often. For instance, a person can cut onions from his diet and wait to see if symptoms decrease. If he notices a decrease in symptoms, he can try eating onions once again to see if his flatulence increases.
In some cases, a person can take an enzyme supplement in order to reduce flatulence. Supplements that contain lactase help people who are lactose intolerant digest milk and other dairy products more effectively. Other supplements contain enzymes to help people's intestines break down the sugars found in beans and other vegetables.
Another way to reduce flatulence is to eat more slowly to reduce the amount of air swallowed. A person may also want to pour his beverages, especially carbonated ones, into a glass so that they can lose a bit of their fizz and a bit of their ability to cause gas. Cutting back on chewing gum can also help a person swallow less air.
If a person's gas is caused by a condition or infection, he should see a doctor to determine the cause of his gas. Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder that can damage the small intestine and cause excessive flatulence in people. In this case, the body reacts to gluten, which is found in wheat. The disease is diagnosed by biopsying the small intestine. To reduce flatulence and other effects of celiac disease, a person will have to cut all wheat based products and any products that contain gluten from his diet.