Symptoms of Trapped Wind
Signs and symptoms of trapped wind or intestinal gas may present as mild abdominal discomfort, boating, belching, passing of flatus in excessive amount with its attendant social embarrassment to severe abdominal pain, nausea, and even vomiting. The severity of this presentation varies from individual to individual.
While trapped wind in it self is not life threatening, the symptoms of trapped wind may be the first sign of other potentially life threatening illnesses like bowel obstruction, mal-absorption syndrome, celiac disease and even common condition like lactose intolerance.
It is therefore important to differentiate simple trapped wind from other potentially serious conditions.
We shall discuss the common symptoms of trapped wind here to impress the difference and they include:
BLOATING You may feel bloated in the belly. This is often associated with a feeling of being full, typically several hours after meals were eaten.
Bloating lasting for a few hours or days could be due to trapped wind, but if this persists for days on end, it may require further investigation. See your family doctor.
Trapped wind could cause abdominal discomfort initially, which could deteriorate and end up as abdominal pain.
The pain is usually a central abdominal pain , or located towards the upper left abdomen . It may be crampy, or just a continuous griping pain or feeling of excessive distension.
The degree of pain felt by individuals may relate to their pain threshold. Some only feel a slight abdominal discomfort and no more, while on the other end of the spectrum are those yelling in pain from the gas stretching on the wall of their stomach.
Severe abdominal pain, associated with abdominal distension and loud noises of rumbling air or wind in the intestine is often due to bowel obstruction. The sufferer of bowel obstruction may also find out that they are not passing stool.
This is perhaps the most embarrassing of all the symptoms of trapped wind. The wind tries to free it self and escape out. This may first be heard as rumbling sounds from the tummy. These sounds may be laud enough for others to hear them (called borborygmi in medicine).
Face it; we all have had our own time with trapped wind, so try not being embarrassed.
You may be belching or farting (passing wind from the bottom end) frequently too. In most cases, passing wind and belching reduces the pain before more wind accumulates and the pain starts again.
Mind you bowel obstruction or severe constipation can also cause symptoms like this again. It is thus essential you see your doctor if you think your trapped wind is out of usual for you. One can not over emphasize the need to separate the symptoms of trapped wind from that due to other potentially serious medical condition!
Symptoms of trapped wind in children are discussed under trapped wind in children.
Stone K T et al. Aerophagia In Children.
Am Fam Physician 1971; 3: 94 – 95.
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