Flatulence and flatus are medical terms for what people commonly refer to as “farting”. It is the body’s way of releasing gas that builds up due to the digestive process, swallowed air, and other factors.

In this article, learn more about why people pass gas, how to prevent excess gas, and when gas may become a problem.

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According to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research (GI Society), healthy individuals fart about 12–25 times a day.

The body produces intestinal gas as part of the process of digestion. Once this gas is inside the body, it needs to be released somehow. It is usually expelled through the anus as flatulence or out of the mouth as a burp.

Sometimes people may pass gas more than usual. This can happen for a number of reasons.

Swallowed air

Some intestinal gas comes from the air that people swallow, or exogenous gas, when they are:

  • eating
  • chewing gum
  • washing food down with liquids
  • sipping hot beverages
  • drinking through a straw
  • wearing dentures that do not fit properly
  • smoking

Chronic postnasal drip, chronic pain, and anxiety or tension may also cause someone to swallow more air.

Bacteria in the large intestine

During the digestive process, bacteria in the colon (large intestine) help break down carbohydrates and create gas in the process. Doctors may refer to this as “endogenous gas”.

Undigested carbohydrates include:

According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), foods that make one person fart will not necessarily have the same effect on someone else.

However, some foods are more likely to create high levels of intestinal gas, including:

A person may find want to try keeping a food journal to record what they have eaten and when they experience flatulence. People should speak with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to their diet.


People may experience more flatulence at certain stages of the menstrual cycle.

A 2022 study cited older research that suggested people frequently report increased bloating and flatulence before and during menstruation.

Health conditions

Although everyone farts, people with certain conditions may have more problems with intestinal gas than others. Some of these conditions include:

  • Lactose intolerance: People with lactose intolerance do not have enough of the enzyme that helps them digest milk and milk products. This means that if they consume dairy products they will experience digestive symptoms.
  • Fructose intolerance: People with this condition cannot digest fructose as usual and will experience digestive symptoms after consuming foods or beverages that contain fructose.
  • Celiac disease: People with celiac disease are unable to digest gluten. If individuals with the condition consume gluten they may experience inflammation and pain in the gut, as well as other digestive symptoms.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO): This condition describes when there is an increase in the number of bacteria or a change in the type of bacteria in a person’s small intestine. The bacteria may produce excess gas.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): This is a chronic condition that causes digestive symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and gas.

Individuals who think they may have one of these conditions should speak with a doctor.

If they are experiencing more flatulence than usual, a person may benefit from making some lifestyle changes.

The GI society suggests that people avoid:

  • talking while eating
  • using a straw to drink
  • sipping hot beverages, and allow them to cool to lukewarm instead
  • eating when they are upset or in a rush
  • drinking from a bottle
  • drinking carbonated beverages
  • eating foods that contain sorbitol and fructose
  • chewing gum or sucking on candy
  • smoking or chewing tobacco

It also suggest that people aim to:

  • eat slowly
  • gradually increase fiber in their diet
  • exercise more often
  • have loose dentures refitted
  • manage any underlying health conditions that may cause excess gas and farting

In some cases, a doctor may recommend a person takes medications to help reduce gas in the digestive tract or the symptoms it causes. The medication will depend on a person’s symptoms and whether they have an underlying condition.

A healthcare professional may also recommend that some individuals follow a low-FODMAP diet. By following a low-FODMAP diet, a person will consume fewer foods that are fermentable, or that contain oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.

Studies have found that 50–86% of people with IBS who followed this diet had a reduction in symptoms.

According to the GI Society, healthy individuals fart about 12–25 times each day.

People should consider speaking with a doctor if:

  • they pass gas more frequently than usual or their symptoms change
  • flatulence is interfering with their daily activities
  • they experience additional symptoms, like abdominal pain, diarrhea, or unintentional weight loss, alongside flatulence

A healthcare professional can help work out the underlying cause of excess gas and provide appropriate treatment.

Farting is as natural as eating or breathing, but some factors can lead to excess flatulence. For example, people may fart more than usual if they eat certain foods or are experiencing menstruation.

Some health conditions that may cause flatulence include lactose intolerance, SIBO, and celiac disease.

People may be able to prevent excess gas and flatulence by eating slowly, exercising more often, and limiting certain foods in their diet. A person should speak with a doctor for further guidance.