If your stomach sometimes feels bloated, it could be down to excess or trapped wind. Learn more about the symptoms & how to prevent them
Trapped wind, which can lead to stomach cramps and bloating, is a very common but sometimes embarrassing problem. It can be caused by constipation, by eating certain foods, or by swallowing too much air while eating, drinking, or swallowing saliva.
What are the symptoms of trapped wind?
• A bloated stomach
• Passing wind and burping
• Feeling very full after eating
• Rumbling noises in your stomach
What are the causes of bloating?
If your stomach sometimes feels bloated or you suffer other symptoms of trapped wind, it could be down to excess or trapped wind, – which may be caused by swallowing air (for example by talking while you're eating). However, if your stomach often feels bloated it could be due to:
• A food intolerance
• Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
• Coeliac disease
Treating & preventing bloating & trapped wind
• Cut down foods that are hard to digest and commonly cause wind and bloating (such as beans and sprouts) – but be sure to still consume five portions of fruits and vegetables each day
• Drink plenty of fluids and exercise regularly to avoid constipation
• Don't drink too many fizzy drinks
• Make sure you’re sitting up straight while eating
• Avoid chewing gum
• Chew with your mouth closed and don't talk while eating to avoid swallowing air
• Keep a diary of your symptoms and what foods you eat to try to spot patterns and potential triggers
• Speak to your pharmacist about treatment options – they may be able to recommend certain medicines
• If your bloating symptoms are severe or symptoms persist, consult your GP to rule out more serious conditions
Coeliac disease, food intolerance & IBS
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues when you eat gluten, causing damage to the lining of the small intestine. This results in the body being unable to properly absorb nutrients from food and causes stomach pain. Gluten is found in wheat, barley or rye. Coeliac disease can trigger bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain and fatigue (tiredness). If you think you may have coeliac disease, discuss it with your GP. They may recommend you have a blood test or a biopsy to check if you have it.
The foods most commonly associated with intolerances are wheat, barley and rye products or dairy foods. Symptoms of a food intolerance include tummy pain, bloating, wind and/or diarrhoea, skin rashes and itching. If you think you might have a food intolerance, seek your GP's advice. The best way to identify an intolerance is to keep a food diary and monitor your symptoms.
People with IBS generally experience bloating, stomach pain or cramps, constipation or diarrhoea, especially in the evening. You can manage the condition by identifying and avoiding the foods that trigger symptoms, by managing everyday stress and taking regular exercise. Speak to your GP for a diagnosis of IBS, who can then provide information about treatment options suitable for you.
• Take measures to help prevent bloating, such as avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms, eating plenty of fibre, and try not to swallow air when you eat
• Speak to your pharmacist about treatment options and medicines that could help to manage your symptoms
• If symptoms persist or are severe, consult your GP who can rule out more serious conditions
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