There are some things that will never change between child- and adulthood. Giggling when you fart is one of those things. Whether you blame it on the dog or your husband, passing gas is a normal bodily function. But, is it possible to fart too often? Are your daily farts trying to tell you something? If you have noticed that you are passing more gas lately, here’s what you need to know.
First of all, what are farts?
The average person farts every day, so what is it that we’re passing? Also known as “flatulence,” a fart is simply an internal build-up of gas. In fact, farts consist of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, methane and hydrogen. Nice cocktail, eh?
Normally these gases are formed during the process of respiration and digestion. The cause of excessive gas will depend on your personal circumstances. For the most part, farts are silent and odourless. It’s estimated that only around one percent of farts produce a foul smell.
There is no need to be embarrassed. It’s quite natural and, in many cases, healthy! In fact, a healthy person may pass gas around 15 to 20 times per day. But is that a “normal” standard?
What causes farting?
There are many reasons why gas gets trapped in the body, which include swallowing air, constipation and changes in micro-flora. When someone begins to experience an excessive build-up of gas, this may mean:
You’re suffering from intolerances or food allergies
You’re experiencing bacterial overgrowth
You are constipated
You are experiencing symptoms of IBS, Crohn’s, etc.
Fermentation is occurring within the gut
More often than not, farting is harmless. It is a normal metabolic function. And for those who consume enough fibre rich foods, an increase in flatulence may indicate a diet that promotes positive health. Take beans, for example, a food that’s known to cause gas. This is due to the type of carbohydrates which ferment in the gut.
Therefore, I’m not going to give you a “magic” number. How many times you might fart during the day can vary. Do not focus too much on how often you’re farting, but wonder why you are passing more gas than usual. What other symptoms, if any, have you noticed?
Am I an excessive farter?
If you have noticed that you’re more gassy lately, you might want to start keeping track. How many times did you break wind throughout the day? What did you eat? Start to document these key pieces of information.
Tooting more than 23 to 25 times daily is considered to be more than normal. If you’re farting more than that, there’s still no need to panic. A good rule of thumb is: when excessive gas and bloating affect your quality of life, you better get a professional opinion.
Quite often, it’s something as simple as lactose intolerance. But when you’re suffering from excessive gas and bloating, you may want to focus on the following possibilities:
- Are you a fast eater?
Do your loved ones often ask you to slow down when you’re eating? Do you eat fast when you’re on-the-go? Or do you chew a lot of gum? Either way, when you eat rapidly, you tend to swallow more air. Once that air (a mix of various gases) gets into your body, it has to come out again. If you don’t burp it up, you may find that it’s coming out the other end.
- Is your gut in balance?
Like I said before, a small percentage of farts are those stinky bombs that make this act so embarrassing. You would think that rotten smelling farts means that something is wrong, but this is not always so. Generally speaking, stinky gas is often caused by the breakdown of sulphur.
There are many healthy foods that contain sulphur, like broccoli and beans, so stinky gas does not automatically mean poor health. With that being said, when you notice that the stench of your farts is very awful and your diet is less than ideal, it could mean you’re suffering from an underlying condition.
If you’re farting often, you may think that you are not healthy. But the truth is, passing gas can mean that your gut is being properly fed. The healthy microbes that live in our gut, promote a wide range of health benefits. In order for these microbes to get nutrients, we must eat foods that cause gas.
When there’s undigested food in the large intestine, including fiber and other hard-to-digest carbs, these microbes get to work. In turn, more gas is created — as well as short-chain fatty acids, which promote the growth of other beneficial bacteria.
Farting is healthy, as long as it is not too much
This is important to mention, as it’s often recommended that we eat more probiotics. Yet, fibre is just as critical. In a recent study, researchers discovered that microbes need fibre to maintain optimal health. When they do not get natural fibre as a food source, they can actually begin to eat the layer of mucus that lines the gut — which then can lead to infection.
So, passing wind while consuming a healthy diet is quite normal. But, passing excessive gas could mean you’re suffering from SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Normally, the majority of bacteria lives inside the colon, but in this case, bacteria begins to invade the small intestine.
When that happens, you can experience poor nutrient absorption together with symptoms that are often associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Along with increased flatulence, you may also experience bloating, fatigue, skin rashes and weight loss. If this is the case, you will need to address your current diet. Implement herbal remedies, including the use of lemon balm and oregano oil.
- Are you sensitive to gluten or dairy?
Even if you have been eating dairy your whole life without any noticeable issues, your system can change as you age. Over the course of time, your body may no longer produce enough lactose. The same is true for those who can not break down gluten — which is the case among those with Celiac disease.
When you believe there is something in your diet is that is to blame for any abnormal symptoms, including excessive flatulence, try an elimination diet. Stop eating all dairy for a while, and then see how you feel. Continue this elimination process, focusing on FODMAP carbohydrates, including wheat, onions, garlic, legumes and stone fruit (like cherries and peaches).
Although many FODMAP carbohydrates are healthy, they can be hard to break down. Each individual is different, so it’s best to keep a food journal and identify key triggers. Once you better understand the cause, you can create a more effective action plan.
It is important to listen to your body.
From hormonal changes to constipation, there are a number of reasons why you may be tooting more often. As mentioned, when you fart a lot (30 or more times daily), your body is more than likely just doing its thing. Unless you’re finding that excessive flatulence is affecting your quality of life.
Like all symptoms, your body is trying to communicate with you. The more in-tune you are, the easier it will be to keep positive health. So, listen to your body. In this case, your farts will do all the talking.
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