While farting can seem embarrassing to some people, it is a natural part of the digestion cycle. Everybody does it, and it is a sign that a person’s digestive system is working as it should.
It is, in fact, essential that the gas produced by the body is released. If it is not, it can build up and become very uncomfortable.
People can expect to fart between 5 and 15 times per day. This may seem like a lot, but it is entirely normal. Most farts do not smell and are not noisy, and so they go unnoticed.
Many people may feel as though they are unusually gassy, but it is probably just because they are more aware of their farts than anybody else’s. It is usual to pass 1–3 pints of gas per day.
For those who feel as though they have excessive gas, there are several steps to reduce flatulence. Here, we look at 12 possible remedies.
There is usually no need to worry about farting. While some people do it more than others, it is a regular part of how the body works.
However, if a person feels that their farting has changed, or it is making them feel particularly embarrassed and uncomfortable, there are some things they can try to reduce the amount they fart:
1. Eat meals and snacks slowly and carefully
The majority of gas produced by the body forms because of swallowed air. A person cannot completely avoid swallowing air, but certain habits can cause excess air to enter the body. Eating too quickly is one of them.
Eating slowly with the mouth closed will reduce the amount of air a person swallows at mealtimes. People should try to sit down and take time over food rather than eating on the go.
2. Stop chewing gum
Many people chew gum to keep their breath fresh and to help avoid snacking. However, those that do may find they have more gas than others. Chewing gum means continually swallowing air, which builds up and increases the number of times a person needs to fart.
3. Look out for food intolerances and allergies
Different people may be sensitive to different foods and may have allergies that bring about a reaction in the body. These can lead to gas and other unpleasant symptoms, such as bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.
A person with excessive gas may find that an elimination diet helps. An elimination diet is where a person would cut out all of the known gas-causing foods before introducing them back in, one at a time, to find out which ones cause the problems.
4. Avoid tight-fitting clothes
Loose clothing helps to ensure a person remains as comfortable as possible should bloating occur. Wearing clothes that are not too tight also helps when gas does occur, allowing it to pass freely out of the body.
5. Avoid or reduce intake of gas-producing foods
Some foods are known to increase gas production. Carbohydrates that contain fructose, lactose, insoluble fiber, and starch ferment in the large intestine. Gas releases as they ferment.
Cutting these foods out entirely, however, is not recommended, as they are an essential part of a healthful, balanced diet.
Fruit and vegetables can often cause gas, but eating several portions of fruit and vegetables a day is more important than eliminating gas. However, reducing the amount of these gas-producing foods may help to minimize a person’s flatulence.
Foods to eat less of include:
- Beans, green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus. These vegetables contain complex sugars that are difficult for the body to break down.
- Soft drinks, fruit juice, and other fruits, as well as onions, pears, and artichokes. All of these foods contain fructose, a gas-producing ingredient.
- Dairy products as dairy foods and drinks contain lactose, which can also cause gas to build up.
- Fruits, oat bran, peas, and beans. These foods all contain insoluble fiber.
- Starchy foods, such as potatoes, pasta, corn, and products that contain wheat.
6. Give up smoking
People who smoke swallow more air than those who do not. The more frequently a person smokes, the more air they swallow. There are, of course, lots of other health benefits to giving up smoking, too.
People who use e-cigarettes also swallow more air than people who do not, so avoiding e-cigarettes could also help when a person has excess gas.
7. Do more exercise
Regular exercise helps keep the digestive system in good shape. A gentle walk after large meals can also help kick the digestive system into action and move the food along smoothly.
8. Drink plenty of fluids
Staying well-hydrated encourages waste to pass smoothly through a person’s digestive system. This helps keep their stools soft, and so drinking enough through the day is essential.
Also, a lack of fluid may cause constipation, which can result in smelly wind.
People should try to drink a glass of water with every meal to help the body digest foods more easily.
9. Avoid carbonated beverages
Carbonated beverages contain air bubbles, and a person who drinks a lot of carbonated beverages may find they burp and fart more than others.
When someone reduces or removes these types of drinks from their diet, it may help cut the amount of gas they have.
10. Take probiotics
Probiotics are supplements that contain the healthy bacteria already found in a person’s digestive tract. These good bacteria help to break down food, and can even work to break down the hydrogen gas that is produced during digestion.
Occasionally, probiotics may cause an increase in gas and bloating. This is usually short-lived, and it will probably lessen when the body gets used to the new bacteria.
Many probiotic supplements are available online.
11. Try enzyme supplements
Research suggests that enzyme supplements can aid the breakdown of proteins and complex carbohydrates. This means they could help with numerous digestive diseases and their symptoms.
If complex carbohydrates can be broken down in the small intestine, a person will produce less gas.
However, if they do not break down in the small intestine and move to the large intestine, it is the gas-producing bacteria that work to break them down. This means more gas will develop that will need to be released.
Lactase enzyme supplements may help people whose excess gas is caused by lactose intolerance. Lactase is the enzyme that helps people digest dairy products, and so can make people less gassy after eating meals that include dairy. These supplements are also available to purchase online.
12. Tackle constipation
Constipation could be a cause of excess gas. If stool remains in the colon for extended periods of time, it will continue to ferment inside the body. This produces extra gas that can smell particularly foul.
Treatment for constipation varies. However, drinking lots of water and increasing fiber intake can help to reduce the risk of it occurring.
Certain medications and stool softeners, which are available online, can also help.
- eat little and often, and avoid huge meals
- take time to chew food and take sips rather than large gulps of drinks
- take regular exercise, which will help to improve digestion
- eat a healthful, balanced diet
- drink peppermint tea, which is thought to aid digestion and settle the stomach
- chew gum, suck pen tops, or hard sweets
- wear dentures that do not fit properly
- eat any trigger foods that are hard to digest, or foods known to cause farts
If a person is embarrassed about excessive wind or farts that smell, they can speak to a pharmacist. A pharmacist may recommend specific medication or remedies to help.
Charcoal tablets are thought to absorb excess gas in the stomach, which could reduce flatulence.
A person who has smelly wind could also try special underwear and pads that absorb the smells.
Many farts are due to swallowing air throughout the day. Swallowing air is not something a person can entirely avoid.
Other gas develops as the gut works to break down the foods a person eats.
Farts are a combination of mostly odorless gases, such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sometimes methane.
Excessive or smelly wind can occasionally be a sign of a medical problem. If a person has concerns about their flatulence, they should make an appointment with their doctor.
Farting can be a symptom of conditions that may require medical treatment, such as:
Certain medications can also cause excessive or smelly wind. It is essential always to consult with a doctor before stopping or switching medication.
Excess gas is not usually anything to be concerned about. Making a few lifestyle changes can often help improve symptoms.
However, in some instances, excess farting could be a sign of something more serious. A person should make an appointment with their doctor if excess gas is accompanied by:
- stomach aches or pain
- nausea or vomiting
- unexpected weight loss
- blood in stool
- continual instances of constipation or diarrhea
- high temperature or feeling hot and shivery
If flatulence affects a person’s life badly, and dietary and lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications have not worked, they should see a doctor for further advice.