What causes trapped wind?
Trapped wind is caused by swallowing small amounts of air as we eat food, drink water, or swallow saliva. Gases can also build up when food is digested and needs to be released through flatulence or belching.
Mostly flatulence gases are odourless and released in small quantities so you may not even know you are releasing them! However, bad-smelling flatulence is completely normal and usually only has a bad smell if it contains gases such as sulphur.
Gut dysbiosis is also another common cause of trapped wind. Although taking antibiotics is sometimes unavoidable, it is good to note that they disrupt the bacteria in the digestive system and can lead to an increase in trapped wind. Sugar, caffeine and alcohol are all common culprits too and so are worth limiting.
Symptoms of trapped wind
Although the most obvious indications of trapped wind are flatulence and burping there are a number of other symptoms associated with trapped wind including;
• Stomach cramps
• Abdominal pain1
3 physical remedies to relieve trapped wind
1) Exercise regularly
Exercises that gently compress then release the GI (gastrointestinal) tract are a great way to massage the internal organs and relieve trapped gas. Try stretching and mindful breathing techniques such as child’s pose or knees to chest pose, which were designed to help relieve digestive discomfort.
For child’s pose kneel with your knees wide and toes touching. Lower your body down onto the floor between your legs and place the forehead on the ground or on a blanket. Extend the arms out in front of your body palms facing downwards. Take several deep breathes here
2) Wear loose clothing
Wear looser clothing around the waist to allow room for your food to pass through the digestive tract.
3) Sit up straight
Eating food whilst sitting and with a straight spine will help to prevent indigestion caused by hunching over and restricting the GI tract. Eat with your mouth closed to prevent taking in excess air.
5 ways your diet can help relieve trapped wind
Trapped gas is often the cause of improper absorption of nutrients, particularly in foods high in fibre. Pumpkin is one of the few foods that is naturally high in fibre and reduces the amount of gas produced by the natural bacteria in our gut.2
2) Eat fermented foods
Eat fermented foods like yoghurts that are rich in probiotics to support a healthy gut. Probiotics often contain Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus; two bacteria that have been shown to be beneficial in gas reduction, as well as with IBS symptoms like bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea.
3) Avoid fruit juices
Fruit juice contains fructose, a sugar that passes into the colon undigested. Once the bacteria break down the sugar it is likely to cause bloating and wind. Drink no more than 150ml of fruit juice at a time or drink it with some food so that the sugar can be digested easier.3
4) Foods to avoid
Try cutting down on foods known to cause bloating and gas like: broccoli, beans, onions, cabbage, and sprouts. Following a low FODMAP diet may be useful. Then, avoid fizzy drinks which already contain high levels of carbon dioxide. Check out our blog on healthy foods that could be causing your bloating for more information and for tasty food swap ideas!
5) Tea, tea, always tea!
Peppermint, ginger and chamomile are great for relieving trapped wind and probably the easiest ways to ingest them is through tea form. Peppermint contains menthol and has antispasmodic properties; it has calming effects and helps to soothe the digestive tract as well as ease stomachs that are affected by nerves or stress.
Ginger also has antispasmodic properties which can help alleviate stomach cramps. Chamomile is not only antispasmodic, but it is also anti-inflammatory with relaxing properties. It can help with heartburn and gas caused by indigestion – anyone fancy a cuppa?
3 natural remedies to try
Digestisan is a herbal indigestion remedy that targets flatulence, bloatedness and indigestion. Digestisan contains peppermint, which is antispasmodic and helps to relieve the discomfort of trapped wind.
Silicolgel is often used to relieve symptoms of IBS, acid reflux, and other digestive disorders. It creates a protective layer in the intestine and binds to harmful substances to relieve trapped wind, nausea, and stomach ache.
Molkosan is a prebiotic rich in L+ lactic acid that helps to create a healthy internal environment for our good gut bacteria. Maintaining a healthy internal environment through prebiotics and diet can help to prevent the build-up of gases.
Let it go!
Holding in wind can often do more damage than good, as it can lead to heartburn, indigestion, and pain.4 Having trapped wind is completely normal, and while herbal and home remedies are good for helping to ease and relieve symptoms, sometimes it is better to let it go!