Gas is often thought of as an amusing irritation more than a serious problem, but in fact if you are experiencing severe gas it can be highly painful and uncomfortable and very distracting – it really isn't a laughing matter. Some degree of gas is normal, but where this becomes extreme you need to find the cause. Gas is caused by trapped air and other gasses in the stomach that the body needs to expel and this can get in in many ways. Here we will look at some of the causes of trapped wind.
When you eat it is possible to swallow excess air along with your food and that of course leads it to your stomach. This is particularly likely if you have a tendency to eat very quickly, or if you are prone to chewing with your mouth open. This isn't particularly polite either, so now you have another reason not to eat that way.
Some food when it decomposes will release gasses such as methane into the stomach and this will increase your likelihood of getting trapped wind. Other foods that are common causes are carbonated drinks of course which contain gas in their current form, spicy foods, fatty foods and soy among other things. Sometimes just eating too much can be the cause.
However on the other end of the spectrum having your stomach empty can also cause gas as that empty stomach area fills up with air.
That means Chrohn's disease, Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome etc. For this reason if you have persistent indigestion and cannot seem to reduce the problem, it is important to get medical attention from a doctor who can help talk you through the possible causes.
If you are breathing incorrectly and gulping air for whatever reason then this of course can also cause the same problems.
For women the hormone changes that occur during menstruation, pregnancy and the menopause can all lead to flatulence and stomach pain.
Indigestion results in problems in the gastrointestinal tract as the sphincter that keeps it closed opens and allows acid reflux. Of course during this process it's also easy for more air to get in and to get trapped – so be careful.
Stress can have effects on the stomach, and particularly if you suffer from IBS which has been linked in several studies to psychological factors. At the same time stress can cause hyperventilation and strange breathing patterns which can also contribute to wind.
The first thing you are going to want to address if you have a lot of wind is the pain, and fortunately there are some ways you can help to do this.
Like most causes of pain, gas pain can be alleviated to some extent by taking paracetamol or other medications. This will not address the actual cause of the problem though.
Hot Water Bottles
If you are experiencing a lot of discomfort from gas then that will cause pain in your abdominal region. Use a hot water bottle, or a rice sock (fill a sock with rice then put it in the microwave) and hold this to your stomach for some relief.
This is a fantastic way to ease some of the tension around your stomach.
Medications intended for indigestion such as Gaviscon may help in some cases.
Cures and Home Remedies
However this pain relief will not address the actual cause of your gas and if it's a problem you have regularly then you might want to find a home remedy that will work to settle your stomach, or a cure for underlying issues causing the problem.
Mint is great for alleviating gas pain and is a wind reliever and carminative and can improve the function of the gastrointestinal tract in general. Boil around 10 leaves in some water and drink before meals.
Ginger can also be a great help – mix around ½ an inch with some jaggery and then eat this as soon as you finish meals.
Cumin seeds are great for indigestion as well as gas pain and can help almost instantly. Boil 2 tablespoons in a bowl of water and then consume daily.
Garlic is great for stomach and digestion problems and is a super food in general. At the same time the warmth of garlic soup is comforting when you are feeling unwell.
You wouldn't have thought it but charcoal is great for preventing a range of problems and is often used by people to prevent bacteria from getting absorbed by their body. As well as bacteria though, charcoal can also absorb gas and wind.
If none of this seems to work and you notice other symptoms too then you may have a disorder of the GI tract. These can potentially be serious so make sure you see a doctor and follow the prescribed course of treatment if appropriate.
Better Out Than In
If you are in discomfort then don't worry about social niceties – your comfort and health comes before your decorum, so if you need to let it out do and if you can help it along the way by changing position or easing up the muscles then that's to be encouraged. There are plenty of ways to let gas out discretely and without causing a scene – excuse yourself to the bathroom if necessary, sit on a folded up jumper to absorb the smell and the noise, or mask it with a louder noise.
While these methods will all help to relieve some of the pain and the pressure on your stomach, wouldn't it be even better if you could avoid the problem from ever setting in in the first place? Well the good news is that you certainly can and there are in fact many different ways to avoid stomach pain from wind.
There are many different foods you should avoid. They include: fizzy drinks, caffeine, alcohol, cabbage, beans (beans, beans they make you fart remember?), monkfish, sprouts, Brussels sprouts, squid, dairy, fatty foods and more.
Chew Your Food
Make a conscious effort to chew carefully in order to prevent yourself from swallowing gas as you eat.
Eat With Your Mouth Closed
Likewise don't talk while you eat or you'll be inviting air in like a guppy fish.
If you have irritable bowel syndrome, and even if you don't, nerves and stress can cause wind. Use breathing techniques to calm acute stress and try to find better ways of dealing with the more chronic causes of stress in your life.