What your farts say about your health

July 19, 2023 0 Comments

Did you know that farting can tell a lot about your health?

While farting is often portrayed in popular culture as a source of embarrassment or humor (or both!), farting is a biological phenomenon that is a normal part of digestion.

It’s important to have evidence-based information about what farting is, why it happens, and when to worry. If your (or your partner’s or child’s) farts smell really stinky, they might be telling you something. . .

This article explores the science behind farting, the most common causes of frequent and smelly farting, and how diet and eating habits play a role in controlling gas (and promoting good gut health) so you can understand what farting says about your health ‘I .

Looking for a yoga class to help your digestion?

Yoga classes

with Mattei themselves

Check out this Get Twisted Gentle Flow at YA Class to help you decompress your internal organs and create space in your body. Explore the twisting movements in a variety of poses and reap the benefits of spinal twists, which include healthy digestion, detoxification, spinal alignment, and overall well-being.

What causes farting?

Gases accumulate in the digestive system and are released over time. When gas escapes through the mouth, it is known as belching or belching. However, when gas is released from the rectum, it is recognized as farting or flatulence, and it usually occurs when there is excess gas in the large intestine, also known as the colon.

Alexandra “Alex” S. Sanchez, a licensed registered dietitian nutritionist, consultant and owner of Nutrition Harmony LLC, which provides nutritional counseling to individuals with digestive disorders and issues in Massachusetts, explains that farting “is usually caused by swallowing air during daily activities and fermentation of undigested food by bacteria in the colon.”

Although it can be uncomfortable at times (especially if it’s loud or smelly), farting is a completely natural process. The truth is that most people fart every day. According to the Canadian Society for Intestinal Research, the average person farts between 12 and 25 times a day!

Most farts are odorless, but when there is, it is usually due to bacteria in the large intestine releasing small amounts of gases such as hydrogen sulfide.

Although farting every day is normal, certain characteristics of farting may indicate more serious digestive problems. They include:

  • Farts harder and more often than usual
  • Farts smell bad
  • Farting is accompanied by abdominal discomfort, bloating and/or pain
  • You have unexplained weight loss, fever, and/or blood in your stool

If any of the above describes your farts, it’s best to talk to your doctor for further evaluation.

Looking for more health and wellness articles? Check out our full library of wellness articles here.

3 Common Reasons You Might Fart:

Although the causes of farting vary from person to person, certain foods, eating behaviors and health conditions have been found to increase the likelihood of farting. Here are three of the most common causes, along with nutrition and lifestyle tips that can help you feel better (and reduce gas).

1. You may be swallowing too much air

We may think that swallowing air is the cause of belching, but often it is also the cause of farting! Sanchez explains that there are many reasons why we might swallow excess air, including:

  • Eating too fast
  • Talk a lot while eating
  • Using a straw when drinking
  • Consumption of carbonated drinks
  • Chewing gum
  • smoking
  • Wearing ill-fitting dentures
  • Being under a lot of stress
  • Presence of postnasal drips

How to help: To avoid excess gas from swallowed air, registered dietitian Amanda Sauceda recommends incorporating aspects of mindful eating into your daily routine. “Try to chew more slowly, relax while eating and don’t drink through a straw.”

Mindful Eating: Everything You Need to Know + How to Practice It

2. You may be constipated

Constipation refers to when bowel movements are infrequent (fewer than three times a week), difficult to pass, or feel incomplete (like there is more stool left that hasn’t come out). This is usually caused by factors such as poor diet, medications, irritable bowel syndrome, poor bowel habits (such as waiting too long to go to the bathroom), and/or pelvic floor dysfunction.

When the stool remains in the gastrointestinal tract for a long time, it is fermented by bacteria. The fermentation process can lead to frequent and sometimes smelly farting.

How to help: Constipation can be alleviated by drinking plenty of water each day, eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods, getting enough fiber, and exercising regularly. Additionally, nutrients such as magnesium can help improve and prevent constipation.

Powerful magnesium: what it does for your body and why you need it in your diet

3. You may need to adjust your diet

Food can have a significant effect on gas production. Sometimes compounds in certain products contribute to the release of foul-smelling gases. As Sauceda explains, “Foods like broccoli or cauliflower have a little smell before you eat them, and that smell can also come out.”

In other cases, farting occurs because food is poorly digested in the gastrointestinal tract. As a rule, these are carbohydrate foods rich in fiber, which are then used by intestinal bacteria as fuel. Sauceda emphasizes that fermenting complex carbohydrates “is good, but the byproduct of that process is gas.”

Sanchez shares that common dietary triggers for gas can be undigested, fermentable carbohydrates called FODMAPs. They are found in lactose, beans/legumes, wheat, some cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, sugar alcohols, and other foods and beverages.

FODMAPs and how your gut microbiome is connected: Here’s what you need to know

Some people experience an increase in farting when taking protein supplements. This is probably not caused by the protein itself, but by other components of the supplements that contribute to increased gas production, for example:

  • Lactose, which is found in many whey protein or casein supplements
  • Additives, thickeners and sweeteners such as sorbitol and mannitol
  • Plant-based sources of protein such as beans, grains and legumes

How to help: According to the International Gastrointestinal Disorders Foundation, foods that are less likely to cause gas include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, okra, cantaloupe, grapes, berries, cherries, avocados, olives, gluten-free. bread, rice bread and rice.

In addition, consuming foods containing probiotics, such as yogurt, miso, and kimchi, can help restore good bacteria and promote healthy digestion.

While fiber is an important nutrient to consume, Soceda recommends adding it to your diet slowly, “which will help your gut adjust to more fiber and reduce the chance of unpleasant effects like gas. It’s also important to make sure you’re drinking enough water and fluids along with your fiber intake.”

Drinking peppermint tea, chewing fennel seeds, and applying a warm compress to your stomach can help reduce gas or discomfort.

If you experience more “protein farts,” try changing your protein powder to whey protein isolate (which has less lactose and is easier to digest), pea, or soy. We recommend Orgain plant-based superfood protein.

Read: 10 Surprising Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Protein

Working with a registered dietitian, particularly one who specializes in gastrointestinal health, can help you identify food triggers and/or eating behaviors that may contribute to gas.

Farting and food allergies

Certain fart-inducing foods can be included in the diet if adjusting the preparation (such as cooking cruciferous vegetables instead of eating them raw) or the amount of food reduces gas and/or digestive symptoms.

However, if you fart much more often than usual or have a noticeable fart smell after eating a certain food, this may indicate an intolerance or allergy.

A typical example is lactose intolerance, which is caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the sugar in dairy products such as milk and cheese.

When lactose reaches the large intestine undigested, it is fermented by colonic bacteria, which then produce hydrogen and/or methane. This can cause frequent and/or smelly farts, as well as other symptoms like abdominal discomfort.

Although food intolerances can occur on their own, they can also accompany gastrointestinal diagnoses such as irritable bowel syndrome and/or inflammatory bowel disease.

If you suspect a potential food allergy or intolerance, avoid self-diagnosis and/or start an elimination diet without medical supervision. Contact your doctor for a proven test and the best treatments.

What farting can say about your health: the findings

Simply put, farting occurs when gas is released from the large intestine through the rectum. Farting is a normal part of the human digestive process and is usually not a big deal if it happens every day.

The most common cause of gas is swallowing air, and many eating habits increase the likelihood of farting. Limiting or avoiding carbonated beverages, avoiding drinking through straws, and/or eating mindfully can help prevent or reduce gas.

Certain foods may increase gas frequency and/or odor, including foods high in FODMAPs, foods high in fiber, and foods containing lactose. However, the factors that cause gas in the intestines can vary greatly from person to person, and many foods that cause gas are rich in nutrients.

It’s best to work with a registered dietitian to determine a diet plan that will help reduce gas while ensuring you meet your nutrient needs.

Seek medical attention if you notice that your farts are more frequent than usual, have a foul smell, or are accompanied by unpleasant or painful symptoms. According to Sanchez, “it’s important to be evaluated when gas becomes abnormal for you. A gastroenterologist and registered dietitian can be helpful members of the care team.”

All information included is not intended for treatment or diagnosis. Always consult your healthcare provider regarding medical issues and before starting or changing any diet, supplement or exercise regimen.

Special thanks to participants Alexandra “Alex” K. Sanchez, MS, RD, LDN, and Amanda Sauceda, MS, RD.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *