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While it may be healthy, fruit juice can actually cause abdominal pain and wind. It contains fructose, a sugar that passes undigested into the colon. When bacteria in the colon finally break down the sugar, you're likely to get bloating and wind. If you're drinking juice, have no more than 150ml at a time and drink it with food so you can digest it better.
If dairy foods make you feel gassy and bloated, the problem could be lactose intolerance–an inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk. To find out, try this simple test: drink 2 glasses of milk and see if this triggers the symptoms that have been bothering you. If so, try cutting dairy foods from your diet or switch to soya or rice milk. If you don't want to give up milk, buy liquid lactase from your pharmacy and add it to milk before you drink it.
Eat slowly and deliberately. Wolfing down your food puts big chunks of material into your digestive system and you also swallow air, which can contribute to bloating and flatulence. Furthermore, when you eat too fast, food doesn't get fully coated with saliva, which interferes with the digestive process.
Eat your last big meal of the day at least 3 hours before bedtime. Your digestive system works best when you're awake.
Peppermint oil soothes intestinal cramps and helps to relieve abdominal bloating. It is best taken as slow release capsules such as Mintec, or Obbekjaers capsules, which are available from health food shops or online. (Caution: If you have heartburn, peppermint is not the best cure for you–it can make acid reflux problems worse. Avoid taking indigestion remedies at the same time of day as peppermint oil. If you take cyclosporine–a drug for rheumatoid arthritis–check with your doctor before taking peppermint oil).
Instead of taking capsules, you could try rounding off meals with a refreshing cup of peppermint tea. Place 1 dessertspoon of dried leaves or a peppermint tea bag into a cup of boiling water, leave to infuse for 10 minutes and strain.
Ginger has antispasmodic properties, which makes it a helpful remedy for stomach cramps. Ginger can be taken in capsules (2x 250mg after food) or as candied root ginger or in ginger tea. Make fresh ginger tea by stirring a teaspoon of grated ginger into a mug of boiling water, leave for 10 minutes and then strain. (Caution: Do not take large quantities of ginger if you are taking blood-thinning medication such as warfarin).
Fennel and caraway seeds contain oils that soothe spasms in the gut and help to control flatulence. Chew and swallow a teaspoon of the seeds when you are feeling bloated.
Bicarbonate of soda is known to help relieve painful wind. Try drinking a teaspoon of bicarb stirred into a glass of water. Sometimes it produces gas in the stomach, so adding a few drops of lemon juice to the drink should dispel some of the gas before you drink it. (Caution: Do not take bicarb if you are on a low-sodium diet as it is high in sodium).
If you can't stomach the home remedies, trapped wind may be soothed by probiotic supplements, in liquid or capsule form, make digestion easier. Look for one containing live bacteria in the form of Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bifidobacteria, these are the best at targetting trapped wind.
If you find yourself embarrassed by excessively burping, read this guide to relieve belching.