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January 22, 2000


Question from Kansas, USA:

I am 13 years old and have had Type 1 for 8 months. Since I was put on insulin, I have terrible problems with gas. Is this a common problem and what can I do about it please? It's embarrassing.


Everybody produces intestinal gas which is to some extent related to the foods eaten; beans for instance have an enzyme that releases carbon dioxide from urea. Your problem is a well recognised one and is thought to be due to the relatively sudden increase in food ingestion and therefore in gas production that happens after you first start on insulin. The problem seems to go away after a few weeks, though quite why that should be is not clear. As a temporary ‘cosmetic’ remedy you might want to try ‘Beano’ with the first bite of each meal. It is an over-the-counter product.

Additional Comments from Lois Schmidt Finney, diabetes dietitian:
I wonder if there might be more air ingestion than normal, maybe due to being anxious about the diabetes or the meals, injections, etc. Also, sometimes kids with diabetes get into chewing lots of sugar free gum (if a little is okay, then lots must be better) or sugar free sodas (same idea) and we see more gas in those kids.