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Dealing with trapped wind

One of the most common questions I see asked in the #IBDSuperHeroes Facebook group is: “Any tips for relieving trapped wind?”

What is trapped wind?

Trapped wind can be common after surgery, as a symptom of IBD and of course, a result of eating and drinking. It can be incredibly painful, especially when you have active inflammation, strictures, or scar tissue, and it can last an awfully long time if action is not taken to shift it!

As is often the case with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, what works for one person may not work for another, but there are so many tips and tricks which get shared repeatedly, that I would hope at least one will work for you!

Personally, I have found that sometimes one thing will help and then the next time it doesn’t! I know, IBD likes to keep us on our toes doesn’t it?!

Tips to get rid of the pain from trapped wind

So, I thought it would be a good idea to compile some of the tips and tricks I have gathered throughout my ulcerative colitis journey; some of which have helped, and some haven’t. So, let’s get started on releasing you from the pain and discomfort of trapped wind!

Get moving!

If you’re able to, take a brisk walk! If you’re not feeling up to taking a walk, activities like Yoga and Pilates can also help.

Abdominal massage

Some people recommend circular motions using the fingertips or focusing on the area where you can feel the wind is actually trapped. I usually use my fist in a rolling motion and gradually move from one side to the other, slowly working my way from the top to the bottom. Whatever is not too uncomfortable is best!

A warm bath/water bottle

Heat can help relax those stressed, tensed muscles. I think I am actually one of the only people on the planet that finds a hot water bottle increases my pain - there’s always one!

Peppermint

Peppermint comes in many forms, and I do know that some people despise the taste, so if you find tea or cordial unpalatable, peppermint capsules are available. A word of warning – it’s not uncommon to find you have a “minty bottom” afterward!

Over the counter remedies

Most supermarkets sell wind remedies – ask a pharmacist to advise.

Elevating your bottom to release gas

Air natural travels upwards, so elevating your bottom can help the wind make its way out faster. I remember after my first stoma surgery.

One of the nurses elevated the bottom of the bed. I thought she was nuts, to be honest, but it wasn’t long before my stoma started his own symphony! Obviously, most of us at home don’t have a bed which elevates at the bottom, so lying flat on your back and popping some cushions under your bottom has the same effect!

Prevent excessive gas or trapped wind build-up

Prevention is better than the cure, so taking a few simple things into account can help prevent excessive wind build-up. Avoid drinking through a straw and consider eating little and often, chewing thoroughly and avoiding food and drink that you know will cause excessive wind.

There are certain things that are well known for increasing gas; for me, fizzy drinks and whipped cream will always have me in pain, so I tend to avoid them most of the time.

If your body allows you to be regularly active then that is something which should definitely help, but if exercise is a problem for you, gentle stretching or low impact activity such as Yoga, Pilates or Swimming are good alternatives.

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