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Simethicone is a medication typically used to treat indigestion caused by gas. It works by bringing together scattered bubbles of gas so they are easier to pass. Contrary to popular belief, this medication does not prevent gas bubbles from forming. The medication is usually available over the counter at most grocery stores and pharmacies.
When the intestinal tract or stomach is full of gas, it can be expelled by flatulence or belching. If bubbles are scattered, the process of expelling gas takes much longer. In addition, prolonged gas can cause pain in the stomach and chest. The action of pulling the gas bubbles together generally results in the period of discomfort being shortened.
Though simethicone is available in both tablet and liquid form, most doctors agree that using a liquid form of the medication will result in faster relief. This is because tablets must first be broken down by stomach acid to be effective. Dosages vary according to age and body weight. It is usually recommended this medication be taken with plenty of water.
There are generally no known serious side effects associated with the use of simethicone, however, some exceptions apply. Some people may be allergic to the medication, and for those users, side effects could include rash, difficulty breathing, or life-threatening swelling of the throat, face, or lips. Users who have a history of drug allergies should check with their physician before taking any new medications. Some users have reported suffering from constipation after using simethicone. This side effect is believed to be the result of overuse, and when used as instructed, simethicone should not cause this condition.
People who have repeated occurrences of stomach gas should probably think about making changes in their diets. Foods believed to create gas are usually foods rich in soluble fibers. This includes foods such as beans, whole grains, and many fruits. When these foods are consumed, they typically take longer to digest, and the longer foods stay in the intestinal tract, the more likely they are to cause gas.
Another common cause of stomach gas involves how people eat and talk. Some people swallow a lot of air as they are eating or talking, and this air ends up in the stomach as air bubbles. Most of the time, this is caused by eating or drinking too quickly or taking bites of food too large to chew properly. Smokers and people who wear dentures may also be prone to swallowing air.