- ZAVORAL, Miroslav, ed. Mařatka's gastroenterology: pathophysiology, diagnostics, treatment. Prague: Charles University, Karolinum Publishing House, 2021. ISBN 978-80-246-5002-9.
- solen.cz - Bloating - what drugs cause it and how to treat it. Solen. Eliška Kolmanová
- healthline.com - Everything you need to know about bloating. Healthline. Youssef (Joe) Soliman, MD
- medicalnewstoday.com - Everything you need to know about bloating. Medical News Today. Yvette Brazier
Winds are a common part of human digestive processes. Stale winds are a relatively common health problem with various causes. In most cases, stale winds are not a signal of a serious illness and the problem subsides in a short time. What are all the possible causes of stale winds and bloating?
Stale winds is the medical term for blockage of the physiological outflow of gases from the digestive tract. This condition can be uncomfortable and painful.
Stuck winds can be a symptom of dietary error, food intolerance and more serious digestive tract diseases.
Causes, diagnosis, treatment, home help and much more interesting information can be found in the article.
Stuffy winds and bloating
Worse than the actual passing of winds, on the other hand, is the condition where digestive gases do not want to come out. They can cause unpleasant health problems, including pain and a feeling of a bloated abdomen.
Digestive gases are the result of the digestive system. Some food components can take a long time to completely break down. Often they reach the colon without being completely digested.
They are produced mainly by bacteria that live in our colon and work on the process of food breakdown.
On average, gases are released 12-15 times a day.
This process of digestion can be complicated by inappropriate eating habits or food ingredients, food intolerances, allergies, gastroenteritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and others.
In some cases, pain may be felt in the abdominal area. In other individuals, bloating and a feeling of bloating are manifestations of indigestion. Burping may also be a manifestation of indigestion.
Bloating and bloating are often associated with increased gas production, accumulation and inadequate passage from the digestive tract.
In most cases, this is a short-term condition that will resolve with a change in lifestyle. In some cases, however, professional medical help is necessary.
However, if you suffer from this problem for a long time and repeatedly, or if you suffer from sudden severe digestive problems, it is advisable to seek medical attention.
When to seek medical advice?
- Often recurring stagnant winds
- Problems with defecation (constipation, diarrhea)
- Severe sudden pain in the abdomen
- Persistent and frequently recurring pain
- Presence of blood in the stool
- High fever and chills (shivering)
- Vomiting and nausea
- Feeling faint and dizziness
Etiology and causes
The etiology of digestive problems is quite complex and extensive, especially in the case of general symptoms such as bloating or arrest of winds. The causes can be divided into dietary errors and organic structural causes.
Dietary error in nutrition
Stomach winds and bloating can occur after eating certain foods or dietary components. These are mainly carbohydrates, legumes and some vegetables. Gas and bloating can also occur after these foods. This is mainly due to the fact that they are difficult to digest.
The human body is often unable to digest some complex sugars in the small intestine because it lacks the necessary digestive enzymes.
Examples of harder to digest foods are legumes (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas), broccoli, cabbage, kale, raisins, onions, garlic, apples and prunes.
Some carbohydrates can take a long time to break down and often enter the colon without being completely digested. Risky drinks include carbonated bubbly drinks and alcohol.
In addition to the food itself, blockages can also be caused by inappropriate eating habits, such as eating food quickly, eating excessive portions of food, chowing down on food and washing down food with liquid.
Swallowing air in the form of chewing gum, licking lollipops and ice cream, or smoking also contribute to excessive gas production and subsequent digestive problems.
Certain medicines and drugs can also be a source of indigestion. These include some anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics (pain killers), psychopharmaceuticals and drugs for constipation or diarrhoea.
Organic cause (disease)
Intolerances to certain food components or food allergies can cause bloating, windstroke, stool problems and more in the short term after eating inappropriate foods.
Examples include intolerance to lactose (milk sugar), milk protein or gluten (gluten). A severe form of gluten intolerance is called celiac disease.
Summary of topics related to food intolerances
Food allergies also involve certain fruits, nuts, spices or seafood.
In some gastrointestinal diseases, there is impaired digestion and increased gas production. This can cause not only gas, but also a stoppage of expiration.
In acute infectious stomach flu, there may be various, digestive disorders, even bloating and problem with winds. The associated manifestation of gastroenteritis is increased body temperature, general weakness and difficulty in defecation.
In chronic intestinal inflammations (ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease...) there is a decrease in the absorption surface, digestive disorders and gas accumulation.
Examples of diseases with possible symptom of arrest of winds:
- Food allergy/intolerance
- Constipation (obstipation)
- Gastroenteritis of various origins
- Inflammatory infectious diseases of the digestive tract
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn's disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Intestinal obstruction (ileus)
- Malignant and benign diseases of the digestive system
Infected winds in pregnancy
Problems with passing winds in pregnancy are mainly caused by increased levels of the hormone progesterone in a woman's body.
The increased level of this hormone causes the intestinal wall to slow down. This leads to slowing down of intestinal motility (motility) and digestion of food in the intestinal tract.
Bloating, flatulence and gas are common in pregnancy. In most cases, it is not a serious situation and bloating is not dangerous to the mother or the developing fetus.
The exception is when there are associated risk symptoms, such as a feeling of intense pressure, pain or cramps.
Beware of sudden sharp pain as well as prolonged non-specific pain or indigestion.
In this case, seek professional help from a gynaecologist immediately.
Strangulated winds in young children
After childbirth, the abdominal wall becomes firmer as the baby gradually grows and its muscles get stronger.
Newborn babies and young children are not yet able to effectively get rid of gas in the intestines as adults do. Therefore, it is quite common to get winds, bloating or, on the contrary, excessive flatulence.
Bloating often occurs in young children. One of the causes is excessive swallowing of air when crying, screaming or sucking. Excessive swallowing at the same time as an underdeveloped intestinal microflora causes bloating.
It is necessary to observe whether the problem with winds recurs and whether it is possibly related to the intake of food or fluids. A possible cause of bloating in infants is precisely the poor tolerance of the administered artificial nutrition.
Abdominal pain in an infant should not be underestimated.
If the baby develops pain, cramps, difficulty defecating, increased temperature and other warning signs, seek professional help from a pediatrician.
It is advisable to follow several preventive measures such as proper burping after breastfeeding or feeding, gentle massage of the tummy, bringing the knees closer to the tummy, tea or drops against bloating for nursing mothers.
Diagnosis and treatment options
In most cases, bloating is only a short-term, minor situation. However, in some cases, a specialist diagnosis by a doctor (GP or gastrointestinologist) is necessary.
Diagnosis consists of taking a medical history, assessing the clinical symptoms, basic examination by looking, listening and touching.
The doctor's questions focus on lifestyle, diet and current drug therapy. During the physical examination, the doctor will focus on the abdominal area.
He examines the patient's abdominal wall for stiffness and compliance.
The patient may have a blood sample taken. If certain diseases of the digestive system are suspected, the doctor will indicate an endoscopic imaging examination (gastroscopy, colonoscopy...).
Strangulated winds are a symptom of a certain disorder or disease of the digestive tract. In addition to eliminating this symptom, it is necessary to address the very cause of its occurrence.
Depending on the cause of the occurrence, treatment is then determined. This can be conservative, pharmacological and, in rare cases, surgical.
The basis of treatment is conservative. It consists of lifestyle and dietary modification. Regular diet in smaller portions, exclusion of hard-to-digest food components and regular physical activity.
In the framework of pharmacological treatment, the doctor indicates drugs that regulate the gases in the digestive tract and relieve their outflow. They are also called as anti-bloating drugs or expectorants. For the balance of the intestinal microbiome, the intake of probiotics is suitable.
There are a number of over-the-counter medications to aid digestion and eliminate bloating (tablets, capsules, drops...). Black activated charcoal can help relieve bloating problems as well as congestion.
As a home help, physical activity (walking, yoga, exercise...), gentle massage of the abdominal wall in the direction of bowel peristalsis or local application of heat (thermophoresis) are suitable.
In case of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, consult a doctor for heat application.
For digestive problems it is advisable to avoid legumes, fatty or spicy foods, sugars, dairy products and alcohol.
A suitable form of their consumption is herbal tea, drops or extract in a dietary supplement. There are also spices and ground powders of herbs that can be added directly to food. This will prevent bloating and flatulence.
Home advice and prevention for windstroke:
- Peristaltic abdominal massage
- Regular physical activity
- Adequate intake of fibre in the diet
- Regular diet in smaller portions
- Slower eating and not swallowing
- Not to fill meals with liquid during meals
- Excluding carbonated beverages
- Local application of heat
- Appropriate herbal tea
- Over-the-counter medicines to aid digestion
- Intake of probiotics and prebiotics