Loud, silent, or stinky, farting is a bodily function that happens to us all, even if we don’t like to admit it. Some of us might like to pretend we don’t fart but, on average, we pass gas between 5 and 15 times a day.
Farting is a perfectly normal by product of digestion, reflecting the inner workings of the bacteria in your gut. You may notice it happening more when you eat certain foods, such as beans or raw vegetables, which are harder to digest.
But while it’s normal to fart a few times a day, if you notice that you constantly seem to be doing it, it could be a sign of a health problem.
Excessive farting, known as flatulence, can be caused by various things, such as changes to your diet or certain medications, food intolerances or a high fibre diet, all of which can be managed or adjusted to ease the problem. But in some cases, you may need to seek medical attention.
So, why can’t you stop farting? Let’s take a look.
What causes you to fart more than normal?
When eating, drinking, or chewing gum, you naturally swallow air. This builds up in the gut, being added to as you digest food. When there’s too much, the body gets rid of the excess gas either by burping or farting.
This is perfectly normal and nothing to be worried about. Farts can be loud or silent, odourless, or smelly. The smell can be affected by a range of factors, including:
- bacterial build-up in your digestive tract
- eating high-fibre foods
- food intolerance
- taking certain medications such as antibiotics
But what causes a person to fart more than usual? Some of the most common causes include:
Some foods are more difficult for your body to digest than others. Often, these foods contain high amounts of fibre or sugars that are hard for the body to process. Some foods that can cause excessive gas include:
- artificial sweeteners
- Brussels sprouts
- carbonated beverages, such as soda and beer
- dairy products containing lactose, such as milk or cheese
Some digestive disorders that cause excessive farting include:
- autoimmune pancreatitis
- Crohn’s disease
- coeliac disease
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- inflammatory bowel disease
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- lactose intolerance
- ulcerative colitis
These digestive conditions put stress on your digestive system, often resulting in excessive wind.
Constipation, where the passage of waste through the colon slows down, means there is more time for the food to ferment, releasing excess gases
Some people experience symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including flatulence, when stressed. Stress can also lead to behaviours and habits that cause you to take on extra air, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, easting sweets or chewing gum.
Changes to the bacteria in your gut
The gut contains a delicate balance of bacteria. If this is upset by medication such as antibiotics, or harmful bacteria, it can cause excess gases to be released.
We each process food in different ways. An ingredient which is fine for one person can cause a host of unwanted issues for another. When it comes to food intolerances, digestive complains are some of the most common problems. IBS, bloating, constipation, and flatulence can all result from an inflammatory reaction to a trigger food.
How can you prevent excessive farting?
Whatever the cause of your excess gas, there are things you can do to settle your stomach and bring your digestive system back under control. Some things to try include:
- Avoiding problem foods. Try keeping a food journal, noting which foods cause you the least and most amounts of gas.
- Eating smaller meals more frequently. Eating little and often can reduce the stress on your digestive system, in turn reducing the amount of gas you produce.
- Eat and drink more slowly. Eating and drinking fast increases the amount of air you swallow. Slowing down can help to reduce this.
- Exercise regularly. This can help to prevent gas build-up in your digestive tract
- Eat fewer fatty foods. Processed fatty foods slow down the digestion, allowing more time for fermentation in the gut
- Give up smoking and chewing gum. These can make you swallow excess air, which builds up in your digestive tract.
- Avoid fizzy drinks. These can cause gas bubbles get trapped in your digestive tract.
- Eliminate your trigger foods. Find out your own particular dietary DNA, to understand the foods which work with and against you.
Take control with a food intolerance test
It’s often recommended, when looking to identify a food intolerance and reduce symptoms, to try a process called an elimination diet. This involves removing foods, one at a time for a few weeks each, and monitoring how you feel. It’s a systematic approach but it can take a long time. And, since people with food intolerances typically experience reactions to between 2 and 6 foods, it’s easy to miss an ingredient in the process and continue to have problems.
This is where laboratory testing can help. At Smartblood, we offer a comprehensive test to help you take control of your diet quickly and discover your own trigger foods.
Our home-to-laboratory service helps you pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days.
To help you understand your results, and make healthy and sustainable changes to your diet, the test is supported by a 30-minute telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist.