Yup, we're going there. Because it's totally normal, everybody does it and for some, it happens a little too often! If you've been put in situations where you've come out bright red from embarrassment and wonder why you're always so gassy, read on to discover what could be causing your flatulence.
Farts can be funny, repulsive, embarrassing, rude or even dastardly (those silent ones!). They certainly provoke a variety of reactions too. Some will laugh, some will be indignant and others will just stop coming around. Often when you're a victim of flatulence, it's probably a result of excessive intestinal gasses or rather waste gasses produced during the digestion process. Apart from digestion, another key source of gasses is from swallowing air while drinking or eating.
Why do I fart often and have so much gas and bloating?
When there's an accumulation of gasses in the stomach, the body needs to release them, and this is done in two ways – burping or flatulence. Excessive gasses let out by belching, travel through the stomach and the small intestines and transform into fart-ready gasses. The good thing about this process is that it relieves our bodies from a gas build-up within the lower abdomen and can offer some form of relief.
What causes a fart?
While flatulence is a normal occurrence, excessive farting can cause anxiety, fear and panic in the long run for that person. It's prudent to look at the leading causes of farting:
1. Intestinal bacteria
Although intestinal bacteria play a crucial role in the digestive system, imbalances between the healthy probiotic bacteria and the unhealthy bacteria have a direct influence on how much intestinal gas is released. Typically, a person with healthier intestinal colonies experiences a healthier and normal flatulence in contrast with one with unhealthy bacteria. It's for this reason that medical practitioners are always encouraging the maintenance of a healthy and balanced intestinal flora – happy gut health which can help to relieve the symptoms of bloating.
While there has been a massive advancement in the medicine and surgery division, some medical operations are invasive by nature and might interfere with the anatomical construction. For instance, some of the patients who have undergone gastroesophageal reflux report bloating and flatulence afterward.
3. Intestinal disorders
Just like any other disorder, flatulence is a symptom shared by different intestinal disorders, for instance, people with lactose intolerance. This can may cause diarrhea, bloating and consequently flatulence.
4. Choice of foods
The choices you make in your diet affect the level of farting and can help stop you from passing gas while you're sleeping, which is a primary concern for a lot of people. Remember, beans are the prime suspects here.
Good Zing Expert and Nutritionist Alice Mackintosh says, "Digestive problems such as bloating, cramping, indigestion, gas and anything else on the IBS spectrum are incredibly common, yet this is an astonishingly misunderstood area. Like a car, many things have to work together in the digestive system in order for it to run properly. It is incredibly sensitive to its environment and so if you are stressed, putting in the wrong type of foods, taking medication, drinking alcohol or being exposed to foreign bugs when traveling, it is common for things to stop working seamlessly. Try including more anti-microbial foods into your diet to help ease and relieve smelly and painful gas in the stomach. Ginger and cayenne pepper are great options."
Foods that cause flatulence, gas and bloating
Dietary choices play a huge role in the level of flatulence you experience or how gassy and bloated you feel. Foods associated with excessive farting have some common characteristics that nurture the development of digestive gasses in the digestive system.
Some foods need longer digestion time or aren't fully absorbed by the body, leading to unpleasant odour when gas is released. This means that they pass via the small intestine to the colon without being digested first. Here are some foods to avoid to stop bloating, farting and feeling gassy:
1. Beans – the complex carbohydrates in the beans are hard to digest which can lead to excessive and smelly gas.
2. Milk – this represents all lactose-containing foods that cause flatulence. When the lactose is broken down, it releases a tremendous amount of gas which can cause pain of trapped gas in the abdomen.
3. Carbonated drinks – beer and fizzy drinks contribute to the build-up of gasses in the intestinal tract making it hard to release that gas from the stomach.
4. Fiber supplements – this might be detrimental only if you add them too rapidly to your diet. Taking any form of new supplements or vitamins can have immediate side effects like gas, bloating and flatulence. Always consult your physician before taking any new treatment to make sure you're not suffering from further issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (1).
5. Artificial sweeteners – candy, sweets, gum and other sugary substances might cause flatulence or even lead to the discomfort of diarrhea.
List of other foods that cause flatulence
Some main foods to avoid that make you gassy, bloated and fart more are those high in fructose, polyol and sulfur like:
• Rye products
Doctors advise for high-protein foods as a treatment to stop excessive flatulence, bloating and gas like fish, chicken and turkey (2).
Why do some farts smell and others don't?
The smell of a fart entirely depends on what you've been consuming. Different foods are made up of different constituents, and this means the gasses released while digesting the foods will vary. For example, wine or beer is largely created by the hydrogen sulphide generated during the brewing process. When not properly ingested it creates a rotten egg smell which is often disastrous!
On the other hand, when the hard to break carbohydrates are no absorbed sufficiently, particles might sit in your gut and ferment giving off a foul smell.
Why do some farts make noise and others don't?
This all depends on the position of your sphincter. A taut sphincter will result in an explosion while a relaxed sphincter will pass sound silently. Things like coffee naturally relax the sphincter allowing you to pass the air easily.
Is it healthy to fart a lot?
The average person releases gas around 22 times a day. If you happen to pass gas more than 22 times a day, then it might be worthy of a medical checkup. Excessive gas could be a warning sign of a digestive tract infection, a digestive problem or irritable bowel syndrome.
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1. Boston University Gastroenterology Evidence: https://www.bu.edu/cme/iGiveTest_files/Managing_IBS_A%20Practical%20Summary%20for%20Clinicians%20final.pdf
2. University of California San Francisco Medical Center: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/nutrition_tips_for_inflammatory_bowel_disease/