Drugs and Supplements

The Ins-and-Outs of Simethicone: What, How, Who, How much?

how does simethicone work

There is nothing like a good meal to make you feel satisfied. Then, it hits you out of nowhere.

It feels like your stomach has the same bubbles as festering lava. You constantly pass gas, or you can not expel the gas causing your discomfort.

Simethicone is a compound designed to alleviate discomfort from gas. It is safe for both children and adults.

Plus, the medication comes in capsule, chewable and liquid formats. Simethicone could be the solution to your gassy days and nights.

How does simethicone work?

Simethicone is a compound to help expel trapped gas. According to Scientific American, gas bubbles naturally arise in the stomach from microorganisms that help the body digest food. Occasionally, these bubbles become trapped within digesting food.

Simethicone helps the body increase the rate of gas expulsion in two ways. The compound can prevent bubble formation by decreasing the surface tension of the gas bubbles. Secondly, it can combine small bubbles into larger bubbles for easier elimination.

Drug Bank states simethicone causes gas elimination through burping or flatulation. Additionally, the compound prevents the accumulation of gassy, mucus-enclosed pockets in the gastrointestinal tract.

According to the template for the drug, simethicone is a form of activated liquid dimethicone with silicon dioxide. The silicone dioxide enhances the defoaming properties of the silicone.

The fact that simethicone allows patients to excrete more gas at once means there are decreased instances of flatulating.

Thus, the compound reduces the presence of residual gas and corresponding pressure in the stomach and intestines.

Simethicone is expelled in human feces in an unchanged state. Furthermore, the compound does not interfere with secretion or absorption of nutrients during digestion.

What are the side effects of simethicone?

Simethicone does not have any reported side effects, and allergic reactions to the compound are rare, according to Kaiser Permanente. Nonetheless, every individual is unique, and it is great to be informed in case of an emergency.

Notify your doctor if you experience any adverse effects while taking the compound. Additionally, seek immediate medical attention if you experience difficulty breathing, rashes, itching or severe dizziness.

If you experience any additional symptoms not listed, reach out to your physician or pharmacist for guidance. Any side effects can be reported to the FDA by phone or online.

Pharmacist Miljan Krcobic states that the overuse of simethicone can cause side effects. These consequences include mild diarrhea, nausea, regurgitation, and vomiting.

Can simethicone help with constipation?

Simethicone should not help with constipation as it treats gas bubbles in the gastrointestinal tract. The University of California San Francisco Medical Center contrastingly defines constipation as the slow passage of stools through the colon.

Family Doctor reports constipation can result from a highly processed diet, lack of exercise and dehydration. Common treatments for this ailment include laxatives, enemas, and prescription medication.

Can too much simethicone cause constipation?

Simethicone has no known side effects, so it should not cause constipation. However, FDA reports as of May 2018 show that only 4.13% of individuals experienced constipation while taking simethicone.

People who experienced the highest cases of constipation were women and those ages 30 or older. It is important to note that some of these users were taking other medications too such as Humira, Miralax, Prilosec, and others.

Their constipation could be the result of the combination of drugs, or it is possible the other medication caused constipation.

Is simethicone considered an antacid?

Simethicone itself is not an antacid. Michigan Medicine states the combination of aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, and simethicone are key components of antacid medications. Aluminum and hydroxide are the actual antacids.

These naturally occurring minerals neutralize the stomach acids to raise the pH levels, according to MedicineNet.

The three compounds combine for a cocktail to treat heartburn, acid indigestion, upset stomach and bloating from gas. The simethicone controls the bloating with its gas expulsion properties.

Does simethicone make you fart?

Dr. Bailey and Nakia Carter conducted experiments and concluded that while simethicone is highly recommended for flatulence and bloating, the compound has not proven itself effective for flatus. Numerous studies provided inconsistent results with simethicone.

They compare the compound with probiotics and rifaximin. Both of these compounds reduce the episodes of flatulence.

Gas expelled from the rectum poses the problem of bloating and discomfort due to volume. A nasty, embarrassing odor is another issue.

The volume of gas often derives from hydrogen, nitrogen and methane gas. The odor is the result of sulfur gases. You may need a specific product to address each issue.

The Foundation for the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders reports simethicone makes it easier to expel excess gas in the stomach through belching as opposed to farting.

Does simethicone work on intestinal gas?

Azpiroz and Serra conducted studies and concluded that simethicone has no consistent evidence as a gas-reducing substance for excessive intestinal gas. Dr. Steven Pray, DPh supports the claims of Azpiroz and Serra.

He states that pharmacists can recommend the nontoxic, hypoallergenic simethicone to break down any bubbles or froth in the gastrointestinal tract.

However, the total amount of gas will remain the same. Simethicone’s actions to reduce the froth may simply allow gas to pass more easily.

On top of that, more gas may be expelled at once, which reduces the perceived quantity of gas.

How does simethicone work in infants?

Simethicone provides the same gas-relieving effects for infants as it does for adults. The process is much the same, too. The simethicone decreases surface tension or coalesces gas bubbles for easier passing.

According to Dr. Kara Fine, simethicone is generally safe for babies. The compound could potentially lead to loose bowels, but this is uncommon. It is safe to give a baby 20 mg of simethicone up to four times a day.

They can safely take the compound daily if needed. Always make sure that baby gas drops do not contain any benzoic acid or sodium benzoate. These compounds are harmful to babies in large amounts.

Parents should be mindful that while simethicone will help with fussiness from gas, it is not likely to treat colic.

Colic is a condition in which a healthy baby cries for at least three hours a day, three times a week for longer than three weeks.

Does simethicone help with bloating?

Bloating usually occurs when the air is trapped in the colon or small bowel. The sensation makes the abdomen feel larger than normal, but bloating is not always accompanied by a distended belly. Intestinal gas could be one of the causes of bloating.

Natalie Egan of Brigham and Women’s Hospital recommends simethicone along with Pepto-Bismol as possible remedies to beat the gas behind the bloat.

How should I use/take simethicone?

Simethicone comes in tablet, capsule and liquid forms. The patient generally takes this over-the-counter medication after each meal and before bedtime. It is important to follow the directions from your physician or the package.

Regular tablets and capsules should be swallowed whole. Chewable tablets need to be completely chewed before swallowing. Usage per day should not exceed six tablets or eight capsules, according to Medline Plus.

What is the difference between brand name and generic?

Simethicone is the generic term for the antigas compound. Common name brand names, according to Medline Plus, include:

  • Alka-Seltzer® Anti-Gas
  • Colic Drops
  • Colicon®
  • Degas®
  • Flatulex® Drops
  • Gas Aide®

This small list only shows a few of the brand name simethicone products. Whether taking the generic or brand name, the effect should be the same.

What health precautions should I take with this medication?

According to Lahey Hospital, you should always tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription and nonprescription drugs that you take. This does include vitamins, too.

They also need to be aware of allergies you may have to simethicone or any other drug. For women, notify your doctor if you are breastfeeding, pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

I take levothyroxine. Can I take simethicone, too?

Patients should avoid taking levothyroxine and simethicone simultaneously, according to Miljan Krcobic. Simethicone normally takes 15 to 20 minutes to begin working. When mixed with levothyroxine, it may lower levothyroxine’s effectiveness.

This may happen through the formation of an insoluble levothyroxine complex that is poorly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. To get the best effects from both drugs, take them at least four hours apart.

Patients should contact their doctor if they notice any signs of reduced thyroid function. Indicators include constipation, depression, muscle aches and sensitivity to cold.

Why do I even have so much gas and associated pain?

Mayo Clinic states it is normal to flatus around 20 times per day. Gas pains occur when gas is trapped or has difficulty passing through the gastrointestinal tract.

You should speak with your doctor if the gas pains are persistent or cause the following:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight Loss
  • Bloody Stools
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Gas forms in the large intestine when bacteria ferment any carbohydrates that are not digested in the small intestine. Certain foods or habits can increase the incidence and production of intestinal gases.

Carbonated drinks like soda and beer increase the amount of gas in the stomach. Fiber supplements (Metamucil) may cause increased colonic gases as well. Artificial sweeteners are another food product that may increase colonic gases.

The act of eating too quickly or talking while chewing is a behavior that causes you to swallow more air. Certain medical conditions can likewise increase gassiness. These include chronic intestinal diseases, interior fauna changes, and food intolerances.

Changes in the intestinal bacterial fauna may cause excessive gas along with diarrhea and weight loss. On the other hand, food intolerances to dairy products, gluten and proteins may cause gas.

A food intolerance simply means your digestive system is unable to break down a particular food product. As a result, you feel discomfort or unpleasant side effects afterward.

What else can I do to help my gas besides taking simethicone?

Since diet greatly affects gas production, Mayo Clinic recommends experimenting with reduction and elimination of certain foods. As a result of the changes, your body may produce less gas, or the gas may move faster through your system.

Keep a food diary during this time period so that your doctor can recommend the best foods for you. Stray from the gas-inducing foods mentioned in the previous section (fiber supplements, artificial sweeteners, dairy).

Similarly, try to reduce or eliminate fried, fatty foods from your diet, as dietary fat slows the clearance of gas from the intestines. Make it a habit to drink water with your meals as well as throughout the day to prevent constipation.

Lifestyle changes and home remedies can help in addition to dietary alterations. Eat smaller portions of fiber-rich vegetables because while these foods are vital to the diet, your system may require less for optimal functioning.

Eat your food slowly, and chew as well as you can. The more you chew your food before swallowing, the less likely your digestive system is to form trapped gaseous bubbles. Exercise can help reduce gas by reducing constipation.

Check out this YouTube video for some fantastic home remedies to soothe your digestive tract and gas. Before implementing any practices, consult with your doctor to make sure no recommendations will interfere with current medications or treatments.

Conclusion

Simethicone works to decrease the surface tension of gas bubbles so that we can expel the waste easier.

The compound is generally safe for adults, children, and babies. However, check with your doctor before taking this or any other medication.

While studies tend to show simethicone is not consistently effective for rectal flatus, it can still help you to burp out some of those discomfort-causing gases. Let your doctor know about any medications you ingest along with any allergies.

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