Flatulence or wind is not only embarrassing but can be particularly painful. Although diet, swallowing air and lack of muscle control in the anal area are commonly thought to cause flatulence, one of the major causes are medications. There are many over the counter and prescription medications that can promote gas and cramping.
NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Over the counter NSAIDS include ibuprofen and naproxen. Although effective for pain, they may also help the muscles around the rectal and anal area relax and could promote the formation of gas in the colon. However, this does not happen to everyone who takes these medications. The flatulence is often mild and stops as soon as the person stops taking the medication.
NSAIDs often play havoc with a person’s digestive system, which is why most need to be taken with food in order to prevent vomiting. Some people get constipated on NSAIDs while others may get diarrhea. Any medication that affects the digestive system is going to inevitably produce gas.
These anti-anxiety medications are often very good at reducing muscle spasms, mild seizures and even delirium tremens. They include cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) and diazepam (Valium.) Flatulence is a very rare side effect but may be more common than people realize, because many people become so sedated on benzodiazepines that they may not be aware of their rate of passing gas. It is housemates or caretakers that tend to notice the flatulence increase. But increased flatulence seems a small price to pay for stopping incredible pain. But more research would have to be done to prove that benzodizepines increase flatulence.
Known best under the brand name Questran, this medication is prescribed to people with high cholesterol by removing fatty acids from the blood. It needs to be absorbed by the digestive system in order to send its fatty acid fighting chemicals into the blood. This can result in flatulence. However, if anyone on cholestyrmine starts passing blood in the stool, develops crippling abdominal pain or has problem breathing, call a doctor immediately. If a doctor cannot be reached, go to the emergency room.
Best known under the brand names Xenical or Alli, this medication is a prescription diet drug. It seems to speed up the digestion process so that all of the calories from food cannot be absorbed by the body. Adults on orlistat usually get diarrhea and along with that get flatulence, cramps and bloating. Children under 18 should never take orlistat because they are still growing and need all the nutrition they can get.
Harvard Health Publications. “Gas (Flatulence): What is it and Symptoms.” http://www.healthcentral.com/acid-reflux/guide-155035-75.html
eMedTV.com. “NSAIDs Side Effects.” http://arthritis.emedtv.com/nsaids-(nonsteroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs)/nsaids-side-effects.html
Drugs.com. “Questran (Cholestyramine.)” http://www.drugs.com/mtm/questran.html
Drugs.com “Orlistat.” http://www.drugs.com/orlistat.html