How to get rid of trapped wind: What causes it and how can you prevent it happening?

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  • Need to beat the bloat? Learning how to get rid of trapped wind is one of the best ways to combat common digestive issues. 

    Trapped wind is caused by a whole host of factors, from minor diet changes to conditions like IBS and lactose intolerance. And while many people look to ease their discomfort with natural remedies for bloating, sometimes you need something to act a little faster. So while so-called a “Beat the Bloat Diet” may work to prevent trapped wind in the future, it’s best to look for what works right now.

    From fast, effective relief to breads that won’t make you bloat, this is how to ease trapped wind quickly.

    How to ease trapped wind

    it’s important to note that flatulence, passing wind, farting – whatever you want to call it – is totally normal. “A certain amount is a sign of a healthy gut,” says Dr Megan Rossi (AKA The Gut Health Doctor). “10-20 times a day is considered ‘normal’ and indicates your inner community of microbes are well-fed and happy, busy fermenting the leftovers as part of good digestion.”

    So what’s not normal? Here’s how to get rid of trapped wind safely and easily.

    Take a Wind-eze

    Wind-eze relieve stomach pain and bloating caused by trapped wind. Simeticone is the active ingredient in these small, soft gel capsules that works as an anti-flatulence medication. They gently disperse the trapped wind in your system by pushing out bubbles of air without any chance of embarrassment.

    VIEW WIND-EZE ONLINE

    Wind-eze tablets, ideal for curing trapped wind

    Credit: Boots

    Drink a peppermint tea

    A study conducted at Tufts University in Boston, USA, found that peppermint relaxes the gut and relieves intestinal spasms. This in turn helps to combat unpleasant symptoms of bloating and pain, like trapped wind. Similar research from 2018 shows that peppermint can alleviate abdominal pain, bloating and other digestive issues.

    But be sure to drink your peppermint, instead of taking peppermint leaf tablets or similar. The potency of the leaf is significantly higher in tea than oral capsules.

    Do some star jumps

    While a HIIT workout may not be on the cards for when you’re struggling with trapped wind, a couple of gentle star jumps could certainly help things along. In fact, any action where there’s a real up and downwards motion can have a positive effect. For instance, touching your toes will also help.

    Moving your whole body around causes the intestines to move about too, meaning that the bubbles of gas lodged by digestion are released.

    Go for a brisk walk

    Similarly, a more prolonged exercise will help to ease trapped wind.

    A study by University Hospital Vall d’Hebron in Spain proves that a long walk, a brisk run or even a stint on the cross-trainer helps to prevent bloating and ease any stomach issues. Physical movement of any kind really does work wonders in pushing out gas from your body that causes discomfort and pain.

    Two people walking together with bikes down a canal, one way to ease trapped wind

    Credit: Getty

    Whatever you choose to do, to feel the full effect, make sure it’s for at least 30 minutes.

    Avoid foods that bloat while your stomach recovers

    After you’ve done activities to ward off the bloat, stick to foods that won’t reverse the cure.

    Cabbage, cauliflower and beans are some of the worst culprits for causing trapped wind, according to one 2012 study, so be sure opt for different veggies with your dinner. All the different bean varieties are also worth staying away from as these contain raffinose. As a type of carbohydrate that the body struggles to digest, bacteria in the large intestine has to gear up to break it down, resulting in gas and uncomfortable bloating.

    Yoga

    At home, a few sly yoga moves can be all the relief you need. These poses can put pressure on internal organs, helping to release that unwanted air.

    The supine twist: Lie back on the floor, legs outstretched. Turn your neck to look over your right shoulder, whilst bending your right leg and bringing it over your left. Hold this for a while. Then swap sides.

    Woman demonstrating the supine twist

    The supine twist – one of the ways to ease trapped wind, Credit: Getty

    Another is Halasana: This one does require a certain level of flex but if you can nail this pose and hold it for a few seconds, you might find yourself relieved fairly quickly of air.

    Halasana yoga pose, great for easing trapped wind

    Credit: Getty

    Child’s Pose: On all fours, push your bum back to touch down on your heels. Then drop your chest and forehead to the floor, extending arms out in front of you. For added pressure, rock back and forth.

    Woman at home in yoga child's pose with tented fingers

    Credit: Getty

    Yoga can help with so many ailments and there are some yoga moves that ease period pain.

    Drink water

    Keeping hydrated is one of the best things you can do to ease trapped wind – although with a bloated stomach, it’s normally the last thing you’ll want to do.

    Drinking water helps ease trapped wind in two different ways. Firstly, it keeps waste moving through the digestive tract in the body. With waste ready to be removed, bowel movements become more regular which helps with constipation, one of the main causes of trapped wind.

    Secondly, water reverses the impact of high sodium foods on the body. Foods with a high salt content push excess sodium into the body which in turn causes bloating, according to Harvard studies on the condition, because sodium causes the body to retain water. Drinking water helps the body to get rid of this excess sodium through waste products such as urine. This is another reason why alternative diets, such as the low salt diet, are also popular.

    Similarly, water can help fibre to dissolve better in the body which can help to ease trapped wind and bloating issues.

    Lie on your front and apply pressure to your abdominal muscles

    While not a scientifically proven method, it’s one that reportedly works for many people.

    “A best friend of mine many years ago recommended this and it stuck in my head ever since. When my tummy is sore and bloated, in a bid to relieve it, I often lie on my bed, legs hanging off the edge. I use my hands to press down quite hard on my lower abdominals. In time, I start to feel things moving,” explains Lucy Gornall, writer at Goodto.com and bloating sufferer.

    Similarly, you can try easing trapped wind by massaging your stomach area from the top. Start just below the rib cage, Lucy suggests, and move down to your lower abdominals. “It’s almost as though you’re following the pocket of gas all the ways through the intestines,” she says.

    How to prevent trapped wind

    While trapped wind is often the result of perfectly natural bodily processes, as Dr Rossi says, there are some ways to prevent it.

    Avoid foods that cause trapped wind

    Foods that cause trapped wind include:

    • Raw cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Dried fruit
    • All varieties of beans, whether baked or raw

    Our expert says it’s also a good idea to limit your protein intake as a high protein diet can cause digestive issues. “Try limiting protein to 1kg per kilogram of your bodyweight daily for 2 weeks. Then if you want to increase, try balancing higher protein with fibre (e.g. wholegrains or vege) at each meal,” Dr Megan Rossi says.

    Cabbage, one of the foods to avoid if you struggle with trapped wind

    Cabbage is one of the foods to avoid if you struggle with trapped wind, Credit: Getty

    Avoid drinking alcohol

    If you’re trying to avoid having to get rid of trapped wind in the future, stay away from alcohol. While it might sound like a big step if you enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, a lot of alcoholic drinks contain sulfur – particularly wine. When sulfur doesn’t properly absorb into your small intestine, it leads to flatulence issues.

    The health benefits of not drinking alcohol are well-documented for a number of reasons. But you don’t necessarily have to ditch the booze permanently to ease stomach problems. Instead of wine, opt for something lighter on the stomach – like a gin and tonic.

    Stay away from sweeteners

    Sweeteners like xylitol and sorbitol have been known to cause digestive issues, Dr Rossi says. This is because “they’re hard for your small intestine to absorb and can lead to a bacteria feast, producing excess gas.”

    Similarly, stay away from fructose if you’re looking for how to get rid of trapped wind. This is a fruit sugar in table sugar, syrups and sweeteners, dried fruit, juices from concentrate and other processed foods. Our bodies find it difficult to digest too much of this sugar at one time and it can build up in the large intestine where it ferments and gives off gas.

    Try the FODMAP diet

    For a short time, this could certainly work.

    The low fodmap diet is a scientifically researched plan, created by nutritionists Peter Gibson and Susan Shepherd at Melbourne University in Australia, to help those suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It’s now the main way health experts handle the condition in Australia and many people around the world have taken up the plan to ease their uncomfortable IBS symptoms.

    Foods to avoid include dairy products, particularly chocolate, cream-based foods, soft cheeses and milk. While the go-to foods and FODMAP recipes to opt for on the diet include loads of vegetables, fruit, meat and fish, oats and brown rice.

    Dr Rossi says a maximum of four to six weeks on the diet should help ease trapped wind, bloating and other stomach-related issues.

    Luckily once you know how to get rid of trapped wind, it’s relatively easy to do it quickly an easily.