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Pepto-Bismol Cure for Flatulence

There is no sure-fire method of "curing" flatulence, but there are ways to help reduce the amount and odour of gas passed. One such method is the use of Pepto-Bismol. Although manufacturer Procter & Gamble does not claim flatulence reduction as one of the five stomach problems that Pepto-Bismol relieves, according to an article in the journal Gastroenterology, it has been clinically proven to significantly reduce the offensive odour associated with the passing of gas.

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How Pepto Reduces Flatulence Odor

Pepto-Bismol, widely known as “The Pink Stuff,” and its primary competitor Kaopectate, contain the active ingredient bismuth subsalicylate, which binds to the hydrogen sulphide that is the major source of the offensive smell in the passing of gas. The results of a research project published in the journal Gastroenterology in 1998 showed that Pepto can reduce flatulence odour by up to 95 per cent.

Main Causes of Flatulence

One of the main causes of flatulence is the consumption of foods that the stomach and small intestine are not able to digest completely. Beans, which are high in polysaccharides, are an example of one such food, as are potatoes, yeasts found in bread, and dairy products. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, are also known not only to cause flatulence, but to increase the unpleasant odour of the gas that is passed.

Why Does It Smell So Bad?

The breakdown of proteins leaves behind components of low molecular weight fatty acids and reduced sulphur compounds. The low molecular weight fatty acids result in a spoiled dairy smell, and the sulphur compounds result in an odour similar to that of rotten eggs. Microflora bacteria can also contribute to the odour, as can faeces in the rectum.

Is there an Actual Cure for Flatulence?

There is no actual cure for flatulence. It is a natural process in the body of mammals and is necessary to rid the large intestine of excess gas. However, flatulence can be reduced significantly by avoiding partly indigestible foods and consuming foods that have the ability to maintain the balance of intestinal flora, such as probiotics found in yoghurt or acidic liquids such as vinegar or lemon juice, which have the ability to increase the production of gastric enzymes that promote the digestive process and can reduce the production of intestinal gas.

So, while Pepto will not actually “cure” flatulence, it can cure the embarrassment that is associated with its smell, especially when sharing tight spaces with others such as aeroplanes and elevators.

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About the Author

Richard Daub is a professional journalist based in New York City and the author of three books: "Pork Chops and Subway Cars" (a collection of essays); "Above the Glamour" (a biography); and "Circle in the Weeds" (a novel). More about Daub and his work can be found on his website, www.RichardDaub.com.

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