While passing gas is natural, it can be rather embarrassing if it has an odor or generates a sound while other people are around. Instead of thinking of ways to cover it up or pretending that you did not do it, focus on prevention techniques. Kegel exercises have shown to help tighten certain muscles that help to control gas.
What is Gas?
Gas, also known as flatulence, occurs when air moves from the intestines to the rectum. This gas forms as part of the digestive process, increasing with certain foods such as beans or cabbage. Swallowing air while eating or drinking also increases the potential for gas to form. The gas passed often goes unnoticed because it is odorless and passes without any sound. Sulfur gases produced by undigested food cause the gas to have an unpleasant odor.
Tightening the Pelvic Floor
Kegel exercises are designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the components of the pelvic area, which include the uterus, urethra and bowels. The pelvic floor muscles engage when you try to stop gas from passing out of your rectum. The stronger the muscles, the easier it is to react quickly and forcefully enough to keep the gas in. Kegel exercises also help to prevent urinary incontinence and intensify orgasms.
To isolate the correct muscles, pretend that you are trying to stop yourself from urinating mid-stream. The pelvic floor muscles lift and contract when performing this activity. Hold the contraction for 3 seconds then relax for 3 seconds. Complete one set of ten repetitions three to four times a day. This exercise can be done while lying down, standing or sitting. Increase the contraction hold and rest times until you reach 10 seconds. The rest time should always equal the length of time that the contraction is held. Improving the ability to hold contractions helps with keeping gas in for extended periods of time.
Reducing the Amount of Gas
While it is normal to pass gas on an average of 15 times a day, there are several ways to reduce the amount of gas that your body creates. Chew and eat your food slowly. Limit the intake of certain foods that may cause extra gas, such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, apples, whole grains, soda and dairy products. Contact your doctor if passing gas is accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, blood in stools or constipation.
Lisa Scott is a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing and extensive experience in the health-care industry. As an advocate for healthy living, she promotes preventative health care and routinely engages in educational activities.