An average person farts 14 times a day… Luckily, the majority of your farts take place at night while sleeping. Being gassy is never fun, especially when you’re surrounded by other people but it happens to the best of us.
Luckily, the majority of your farts take place at night while sleeping. Being gassy is never fun, especially when you’re surrounded by other people but it happens to the best of us.
But if you’re dealing with more frequent gas than usual, your body might be trying to send you some hints about how it’s functioning. Read on to see if one of these culprits is behind your sudden stinkiness.
Symptoms of gas
A healthy person passes gas an average of 13-21 times per day, but there could be a problem if it’s significantly higher than that. Burping, bloating, and abdominal discomfort can also indicate that a little too much air has made its way inside the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Causes of gas
Plenty of things can lead to extra air in the plumbing. Gas is a combination of air introduced into the GI tract from outside your body (i.e., room air) and various chemical gases produced by bacteria in the colon.
The way gas gets inside can contribute to how smelly or loud passing it will be. Thankfully, the kind of gas that comes from swallowed air, carbonated beverages, etc., isn’t all that odiferous. But these are the farts that can break the sound barrier if a large amount of air gets swallowed. While the gas made by bacteria isn’t quite as voluminous, it can make for quite the stink bomb. Certain bacteria make gases containing sulfur, a stinky chemical that’s also given off by rotting eggs.
There are a bunch of things that can lead to extra gas buildup. We’ll start with the relatively normal causes of gas and work our way to the more severe.
- Swallowed air. Eating too fast, chewing gum, smoking, drinking carbonated beverages, and drinking through a straw can all introduce gas into the GI tract.
- Constipation. When gas runs into a roadblock, it can lead to bloating, discomfort, and even sharp pain. Think of it as your body pulling a Gandalf: “You shall not pass!”
- Eating certain foods. Some foods like avocados, cherries, and plums; legumes like beans, lentils, and soybeans; and wheat, onions, and garlic, among others, are notorious for causing gas. When the human digestive system can’t break down a particular food, the nutrients pass into the colon where they become chow for good bacteria. A byproduct of bacterial digestion? You guessed it—gas. The type of food consumed and the kinds of bacteria present in an individual’s colon will determine how much gas is produced and how smelly it is.
- Artificial sweeteners. Certain artificial sweeteners (when consumed in excessive amounts) cause gas and diarrhea in healthy people. These sweeteners are often used in chewing gum.
- Food intolerances. Some people lack the digestive enzymes necessary to break down a particular food like dairy products or foods containing gluten. If your body is having trouble breaking down certain foods, it’ll let you know via gas. If you notice an upset stomach every time you consume these foods, your doctor can help you come up with a plan to relieve your symptoms as much as possible.