While flatulence can be hilarious both in comedy and in life, there can be a serious side to this smelly habit. It’s not nice to talk about, but we all fart, and it can speak volumes about your overall health.
Here’s what you need to know about these natural gases and if yours are of concern.
Firstly, what are farts? Farts are a mix of swallowed air that enters the digestive system while breathing and gas produced by the bacteria in your lower intestine. The bacteria in your intestines create gases as they breakdown sugars and starches that your body can’t digest.
Most humans produce roughly between 2 and 6 cups of gas a day, and after it builds up it either needs to go up or down – a burp or fart.
And while regular farting is a sign that you’re consuming enough fibre, there are some signs that something else is going on.
Only one per cent of gas from our intestines is scented – this means most of the gas that leaves us should, in theory, not smell too much. The scent we can smell when flatulence is released is created when your body breaks down foods with sulphur in them.
If you’ve been eating red meat, broccoli, cauliflower, beans or dairy products, don’t be surprised if you do have smelly gas.
Extremely smelly farts
Farts definitely don’t smell like roses, but we can tell when there’s a terrible, abnormal odour. If you need to break wind immediately after consuming dairy, that can be a sign that your body is having difficulty breaking down the lactose – so see your doctor. Frequent and extremely smelly gas can be a sign of a chronic problem, like irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease, or an infection like gastroenteritis.
Gas with no scent
These are completely normal and can often be just a release of too much swallowed air.
Discomfort and breaking wind
If when you break wind, you feel discomfort, bloating, or smell a very foul odour, it’s best to see your doctor as this may indicate a food allergy.
When stool isn’t moving, people often feel like they make more noxious smelling gas than they did before. This is because the feces is mainly made up of bacteria, so you have more of it just sitting around in your system, fermenting and releasing fumes. If you’re constipated, make sure to drink water, exercise, and include more fibre in your diet.