Experiencing occasional bloating and flatulence is part of normal human digestion. In fact, an average adult passes gas between 13 and 21 times a day.
Problems begin when the abdominal gas produced in the gut becomes trapped, which sometimes feels like a sharp stabbing pain in your belly or chest. This pain can sometimes be so severe that people mistake it for appendicitis or even a heart attack.
Treating the problem as fast as possible can help relieve the pain before it becomes severe. The home remedies listed in this article can effectively relieve trapped gas pain.
Symptoms and Causes of Trapped Wind
People who experience trapped gas describe it as acute discomfort in the belly. Bloating and stomach cramps can be present too. Sometimes, trapped wind bubbles can cause a sudden sharp and stabbing pain in the abdomen and chest that can be confused with other serious health conditions, such as appendicitis, gallstones, or a heart attack.Trapped gas can occur for a vast variety of reasons.
Certain foods, such as beans, cabbage, and bran can also make your gut bacteria produce more carbon dioxide gases in the intestinal tract, which can lead to bloating excess gas.
People suffering from food intolerances, chronic constipation, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other digestive issues are more likely to experience the inability to pass gas too. But even healthy people can experience trapped wind if they happen to eat too fast, smoke, chew a lot of gum, or have a stuffy nose, which makes them swallow a lot of air.
Therefore, knowing how to address the issue rather than focusing only on prevention is key when it comes to trapped intestinal gas, bloating, and constipation.
Gas in kids
Gas pain in children and toddlers is rarely serious but can be uncomfortable and keep a gassy toddler up at night. Gas pain is a sign of excess gas in the digestive tract, and it will usually clear up on its own. If your child is often gassy, it’s possible that a particular food or eating habit is to blame.
Your child’s diet often plays a role in their gas pain or indigestion. Certain foods like beans, broccoli, and cauliflower are all culprits. Some children may be sensitive to high-fiber foods, such as cereal, and fatty foods, like French fries. Carbonated beverages and caffeine – even that in chocolate – can also be to blame. Juice, which is high in sugar, can bring on gas and diarrhea.
- A developing digestive system: Your toddler’s body may not yet fully absorb a food – like the sugar in a sweet beverage. That food ends up in their colon, where it’s fermented by bacteria. This process can cause gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
- Chewing gum: The artificial sweeteners in sugar-free gum are difficult for some children to digest. They get trapped in the colon and are fermented into intestinal gas. Chewing gum also increases the odds of swallowing excess air.
- Moving around during meals: When kids move around and play while they eat, instead of sitting at the table, they tend to get excited, eat fast, and gulp, all of which can increase air in their intestinal tracts. Moving around while eating also increases the risk of choking.
- Screen time during meals: If your child eats while engaged in another activity, such as watching a video, they may ignore their body’s signals that they’re full and overeat, which can cause gas.
- An underlying health condition: Constipation is a common cause of gas in children. If gas is accompanied by other tummy troubles – like pain, vomiting, or a change in bowel movements – it’s possible your child has an underlying health condition, such as lactose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Home Remedies For Trapped Gas
We list several effective home remedies for expelling trapped wind below. Do keep in mind that different remedies work best for different people, so trying a few of these or combining them is probably the best strategy to find quick relief.
1. Move Your Body and Bowels
Walking around the house, doing some light housework, playing, or taking a child or a pet for a walk all help tremendously to expel the trapped gas. Activity moves and engages the abdominal and intestinal muscles, which can help you release the gas and speed up a bowel movement, which can also encourage the gas to make its way out of the digestive system.
2. Give your belly a massage
If moving around is difficult and painful, a gentle self-massage can help stimulate the digestive system and promote peristalsis – wave-like muscle contractions that move food and abdominal gas through the GI tract. Gently massage the tender spot or massage the entire abdominal cavity by moving your palm in counter-clockwise circles.
3. Apply heat to the area
The sensation of warmth can be very soothing and relaxing, which can help relax you emotionally and ease the spasm of the muscles in your gut that cause the pain. You can take a warm bath, use a heating pad, or just a hot water bottle for that purpose. Make sure not to use excessive heat and wrap the heating pad or hot water bottle in a towel or blanket to protect the skin from a burn.
4. Drink herbal tea
Drinking warm herbal tea or any noncarbonated liquid can help relieve the pain for many people. The advantage of herbal teas is that they combine the warming action with medicinal properties.
Mint, ginger, anise, or chamomile tea all calm the gut from the inside out, relieving bloating and hydrating your body to promote digestion. Read more about herbal teas that are excellent for digestion and how to prepare them in the article 8 Herbal Teas Capable Of Relieving Bloating.
5. Explore your spice drawer
Certain spices have been used as a natural kitchen remedy for trapped gas for millennia. Here are a few of such herbs as:
Steeping these seeds in a glass of warm water and drinking the mixture can help you expel the trapped wind and reduce abdominal discomfort and pain. Fennel seeds, in particular, are an ancient solution for trapped gas. Simply chew on 1 teaspoon of the seeds to find relief. One traditional Persian remedy suggests that you mix 1 teaspoon ground fennel and cumin seeds each with ½ teaspoon of ground anise, and soaking them in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.
6. Try the knee-to-chest yoga pose
Yoga stretches are an excellent option for helping the trapped gas be expelled from the intestines. There are several yoga poses that target this specific concern. We discuss 6 of such poses in this article – 6 Yoga Stretches to Relieve Bloating. But if you’re looking for just one simple option that you can even when you’re experiencing abdominal discomfort and pain, apanasana is probably the best choice. This yoga stretch is literally translated as “wind-relieving pose” from Sanskrit. Here’s how to do it:
- Lie down on your back, legs and arms extended.
- Bend the knees and place your hands on the knees.
- Use the hands to guide your knees up and towards the chest. Your knees and chest don’t have to touch, but you should feel a gentle stretch in the back body.
- Lift the head and neck off the ground and move towards your knees, engaging your core muscles. Breathe deeply and hold this pose for 20 seconds. Then return to the initial position. Repeat if necessary 2-3 times.
7. Some gas pain relief options also include:
- Over-the-counter anti-gas medicine: Anti-gas medicine containing simethicone dissolves gas bubbles and prevents gas pockets in the intestines and stomach. It’s generally considered safe, but there is little evidence as to whether it really works. Don’t combine anti-gas medicine with any other stomach medicine or antacid that also contains simethicone. Also, avoid simethicone drops that contain sodium benzoate or benzoic acid.
- Antacids: Antacids neutralize stomach acid and may help if your child is dealing with heartburn or indigestion in addition to gas. Talk to your doctor first as antacids aren’t recommended for long-term use and can even cause side effects like constipation and diarrhea.
- Gripe water: Gripe water is an herbal solution not regulated by the FDA that is thought to help with gas. Like most medications to treat gas, the effectiveness is variable. Gripe water usually includes water, baking soda, and a variety of herbs like ginger and fennel. It might also include sweeteners. Talk to your doctor if you want to give gripe water a try.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are microorganisms that may help re-establish the intestines’ normal physiological environment. Some have been shown to reduce the duration and frequency of diarrhea, although more research is needed. There are many different probiotics available over-the-counter, as well as in cultured dairy products, so talk to your pediatrician about what might be best for your child.
When to take your child to the doctor?
Talk to your provider right away if you’re noticing any of the below symptoms:
- They have pain so severe they can’t move without causing more pain
- A fever
- Bloody stools
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Severe tenderness when you touch their stomach
- Skin that appears yellow
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty sitting in a comfortable position
In summary, trapped wind can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. But the good news is that it’s highly treatable using home remedies and lifestyle tweaks. If the tips we mentioned didn’t help or you’re experiencing other symptoms, make sure to consult your doctor to rule out any serious health conditions and find a treatment that works for you.
Source: Internet, CDC, FDA, Babycenter, Medical News & Others
The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.