Flatulence, also known as farting, is something everyone experiences. It’s the release of intestinal gas, usually as a result of digestion. Gas can be found throughout the digestive tract, including the stomach, small intestine, colon, and rectum.
We fart because of the buildup of gas in our bodies, typically due to:
- Digestion: When your body processes digestive fluids, carbon dioxide gas is produced.
- Swallowed air: We all swallow air throughout the day, including from carbonated beverages or taking in air as we chew. Some medical conditions can cause aerophagia (excessive air swallowing).
- Bacteria in your intestines: Your intestinal bacteria (microbiome) help your body digest certain foods. This process releases hydrogen and carbon dioxide gases.
- Changes to your diet: When you eat more high-fiber foods than usual, your intestinal bacteria need to work harder. This causes an increase in gas. Over time, you’ll have less gas as your body adjusts to a high-fiber diet.
All that gas has to go somewhere. Some of it can be absorbed by the body. But when too much of it gathers in your intestines, you may feel bloated and uncomfortable. Flatulence allows for a painless means of escape for this gas.
Sometimes, you may experience more flatulence than usual. Increased farting can stem from a natural body reaction or in some cases, an underlying medical condition. Factors that can affect how much you fart include:
Time of day
A buildup of gas-producing foods and swallowed air during the day may make you more flatulent in the evening.
Also, you’re more likely to fart when the muscles in the intestines are stimulated. When you’re about to have a bowel movement, for example, those muscles are moving stool to the rectum.
Other activities can also trigger flatulence, such as exercise or even coughing.
Some foods, including beans, broccoli, and bran, can make some people gassier.
Foods don’t affect everyone the same way, though. You may know your troublesome foods, so be aware of them if you’re concerned about being gassy.
Some high-fiber foods can create excess gas during digestion. If you suddenly start eating a lot more fiber than usual, you’ll probably notice an uptick in gas and flatulence. To prevent this, increase your intake of high-fiber foods slowly over time.
Sugar alcohols (a type of low-calorie sweetener) have also been
Some people lack the enzyme lactase, which is essential for properly digesting many dairy products. You can be born with lactose intolerance or it could develop as you age.
It’s also possible to have an intolerance to fructose or a category of carbohydrates called FODMAPs.
If you think you may need to make major changes to your diet, always talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian first.
Alongside the amazing changes your body goes through when you’re pregnant, there are some unpleasant changes, such as increased gas production.
This change is the result of increased hormonal activity that tends to slow down your digestion, allowing more gas to build up in your intestines.
Hormonal changes before and during your period can also affect your digestive tract. This can sometimes lead to increased flatulence.
Everyone farts — it’s a normal part of the digestive process. However, in some cases, increased gas can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Conditions affecting the digestive tract may cause you to produce more gas. These include:
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- celiac disease
On its own, farting isn’t usually a cause for concern. But if you notice you’re passing gas frequently or you have other symptoms along with flatulence, talk with your doctor.
Sometimes, certain habits can contribute to excess gas and farting. If this is the case, lifestyle changes may help.
Preventing increased gas may be as simple as adjusting your diet. If you aren’t sure which foods cause gas for you, starting a food journal can help you track the foods you eat and your symptoms.
If you’re especially sensitive to beans or other common culprits, eating smaller portions or swapping them out for other healthy foods may be options for you.
If you’re lactose intolerant, your doctor will advise you to avoid foods high in lactose, such as milk and soft cheeses. Using a lactase supplement that provides the enzyme to make digesting dairy easier may also be an option.
Keep in mind that major changes to your diet should only be undertaken with the help of a doctor or registered dietitian.
To decrease your gas, you may want to stop drinking carbonated beverages. You can also reduce the amount of air you swallow by:
- quitting smoking, if you smoke
- avoiding chewing gum and sucking on candies
- eating and drinking slowly
- ensuring that your dentures fit properly, if you use dentures
Be careful not to suddenly boost your fiber intake, as that can also cause gas problems.
The average person farts about 15 times per day, though some people pass gas much more or less frequently. You may be unaware of much of this activity because you’re asleep or the gas release is so minor.
Passing gas more than
It’s also important to see your doctor if you have other symptoms that are bothering you along with farting. These may include:
- abdominal pain
- persistent bloating
- unexplained weight loss
- signs of an infection, such as fever or chills
- loss of bowel control
- blood in stools
If you’re bothered by flatulence or notice sudden changes related to your digestion or bathroom habits, see your doctor. If you have an underlying condition, treating it may reduce excess gas.