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Why do some farts smell so bad while others have no smell at all?

Flatulence, also called breaking wind, passing gas, tooting or farting, is a biological process that helps to release gas from your body. It usually comes out of the anus as flatulence or the mouth as a burp. Some intestinal gas comes from the air that people swallow when they are eating, chewing gum, drinking through a straw or smoking. Intestinal gas is also produced within the body when bacteria in the colon break down food. This is called endogenous gas. It consists mainly of oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane. It can also contain small amounts of other gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, which makes gas smell bad. Undigested carbohydrates are a common cause of gas, as the stomach and the small intestine cannot break these foods down. Instead, they move into the large intestine where bacteria begin to break them down, releasing intestinal gas in the process.

While passing gas is not something usually discussed openly, it is something EVERYONE does. In fact, the average person produces 500 to 1,500 ml of gas per day and expel it about 12-25 times. (even beautiful runway models fart!). Research has shown that there is no significant difference in the amount of gas that males and females pass. Another interesting fact is that people pass more gas when they are asleep. So, there is no need to ever feel ashamed of this very natural bodily process, even when it is smelly. 

In some cases, farts are silent and odorless or even loud and odorless, but they can become uncomfortable when they are loud and foul smelling. Smelly gas is not uncommon and is often considered normal. Some foods and medicine can be the cause. However, there are some instances where stinky farts can be an indicator of an underlying infection, digestive issues or a disorder.

Here are some reasons you may experience foul smelling flatulence.

The good news is, stinky gas alone is usually nothing to worry about. It is a normal part of our bodily functions and is even necessary to dispose of the waste and gas we produce. However, if you have other irregular signs and symptoms you should get them checked out immediately. Any change of bowel habits or abdominal pain that doesn’t go away could be a sign of trouble. Talk to your doctor if you have fever, weight loss, blood in your stool, diarrhea, constipation, a history of inflammatory bowel disease or colon cancer or any other questions and concerns. 

Here are a few things you can do to help alleviate some of your smelly farts…

We are looking forward to your feedback! Next month we will be talking about bowel incontinence.