Wondering About Your Health? Check your farts!

    • Breaking wind generally makes you feel good and prevents you from bloating or abdominal discomfort.
    • But excessive flatulence or experiencing it more than 20 times a day may be a sign of something else.
    • For one, farting too much may be due to high fiber intake or swallowing extra air when you eat.

Farting throughout the day and night is a good thing. Not only does it make you feel better, but passing gas also prevents you from experiencing uncomfortable bloating. Although breaking wind for up to 20 times a day is completely normal, that doesn’t mean you should totally ignore your farts. If your fart count goes higher, this could tip you off to some potentially serious conditions.

Here are 8 things that give you the farts and what they’re trying to tell you.

1. Eating too much fiber

While fiber-filled foods such as beans, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts or bran helps stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and regulate weight, they also have a reputation for causing gas. Broccoli and beans contain high amounts of a complex sugar called raffinose which the body cannot absorb and has trouble breaking down.

“When indigestible sugars like raffinose reach the colon, the bacteria that inhabit that part of our digestive tract feeds on them and produce gas as a byproduct,” explains gastroenterologist Dr. Rebekah Gross from the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center.

2. You eat too fast

Every time you eat or drink, you swallow air and the faster you do it, the more air you swallow. Gas and air build up in your belly when you eat then gets released as a burp or fart. You may also swallow extra air when chewing gum, sucking on hard candy or drinking with a straw.

3. Your gut bacteria lack balance

Typically, the muscles in the small intestines contract to push food into the colon, explains Dr. Gross. But in some cases, medications, infections, certain conditions like diabetes or neuromuscular conditions, and complications from surgeries can disrupt this “clearance wave,”, causing bacteria to overgrow in the small intestine, thus, producing extra gas.

4. You have IBS

Short for irritable bowel syndrome, this is a chronic condition where the muscle contractions that move food from your stomach to the rectum may last longer, resulting in gas, bloating and diarrhea. They may also be weaker than usual, causing constipation. Diet and lifestyle changes may provide relief. Dr. Gross suggests exercise helps release gas especially for people with IBS as well as following diets that limit gas production.

5. You are lactose intolerant

Eating yogurt, cheese, or anything dairy causes cramps and excessive flatulence that are foul-smelling. The culprit can be pinned on an enzyme called lactase, which is produced in the small intestine and responsible for breaking down lactose, the sugar found in dairy, into simpler forms the body can absorb. Being lactose intolerant means due to low levels of lactase, your body cannot absorb lactose until it reaches the small intestine and broken down by bacteria, expelling stinky farts.

6. You’re gluten-sensitive

This protein which is found in wheat, barley and rye is indigestible, says Dr. Gross. But if you have celiac disease, gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine, resulting in a breakdown in the intestine and impairs its ability to absorb nutrients. The damage can cause excessive farting, diarrhea and sometimes weight loss.  See your doctor if you suspect a sensitivity to gluten or have celiac disease.

7. You should cut back on artificial sugars

For some people, their systems just can’t tolerate artificial sweeteners—such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol, which also contain sugar alcohols that can trigger farts and trigger bloating.

8. Your sphincter is tight

The volume and pitch of your fart is determined by the tightness of your ‘butthole’ and the speed at which your toot passes through it. And if your farts terribly reek, blame it on the high-sulfur foods in your diet. The gas we release is usually a combination of odorless carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sometimes methane. Sulfur-rich foods like beans, cabbage and meat will give off that rotten egg or garbage smell when broken down in the digestive system.

Source: Reader’s Digest