How do anti-gas medicines work?
The bloating, discomfort, and flatulence that comes with gastrointestinal issues is typically linked to gas, or the buildup of air in the GI tract that is caused naturally from the body's normal physiological functions. Excessive gas buildup in the body can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, and many turn to over-the-counter (OTC) anti-gas medicines for fast-acting relief.
The primary ingredient found in most anti-gas medicines is Simethicone, which alleviates the painful symptoms of excessive gas buildup in the stomach and intestines by allowing gas bubbles to come together, therefore allowing them to pass more easily. In addition to its over-the-counter variants available in tablets, liquids and capsules, Simethicone also has a role in mainstream medicine and it is typically given to patients before undergoing a gastroscopy or a radiography to examine the bowel.
What are the causes of gas buildup?
The body naturally produces gas during digestion, but excessive buildup can be the signs of an underlying problem, such as an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria, obstructions in the bowl or a simple sensitivity to gas buildup. In some cases, anti-gas medicines can clear up symptoms, but will not treat the underlying cause of the problem.
In addition to taking anti-gas medicines, a few lifestyle changes could make a huge difference in the continual buildup of gas in the stomach and intestines. Taking probiotics to balance the growth of bacteria in the GI tract, advanced medications to treat constipation and irritable bowel syndrome or dietary changes could contribute to the normalization of the body's gas production. In particular, avoid gas-causing vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, fiber-rich foods and sugars like lactose and fructose.
Why do anti-gas medicines require a prescription for reimbursement?
As a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as of January 1, 2011, a new set of uniform standards were put into place regarding the reimbursement of medical expenses. To reimburse the cost of OTC medicines and drugs under FSAs, HSAs and other consumer spending accounts, account holders must submit a prescription from a physician for each product. This does not apply to the reimbursement of the cost of insulin (insulin is covered without a prescription), but common OTC products like pain relief medications, cold & flu products and more require a prescription for reimbursement.
However, not every OTC product falls under this distinction, as products like bandages, breast pumps, blood pressure monitors and more do not require a prescription. For more information on a specific product, please consult our Eligibility List.