What You Donât Know About Your Farts
Benjamin Franklin once wrote, "fart proudly." And while most guys have no problem letting 'em rip loud and proud, you've probably never questioned what your stinkers say about your health. Do you fart too much? Why do your buddy's bombs smell so much worse than yours? And when is it okay to hold one in or let it loose? We're here to support youâand a Founding Fatherâwith the cold, hard facts on what's normal, what's a warning sign, and how you can tell when a room-clearing wind is coming through. She farts just as often as you do. âThe average person passes gas about 20 times a day,â says Matthew Bechtold, M.D., director of endoscopy at the University of Missouri. Flatulence is from too much air in your stomach and intestines, and everyone has gas in their gastrointestinal (GI) tract. And we mean everyone. That's rightâyour bros, your boss, and that cute barista from Starbucks all break wind just as often as you do. Don't believe your numbers are average? âPeople who complain about excessive passing of gas often pass the same amounts as everyone else, but are just more aware of it.â Too much tooting could be an allergy alarm. There may be a reason it's called âcutting the cheeseâ: People who are lactose intolerantâeven mildlyâfart when they eat dairy. Flatulence is partially caused by your body's inability to digest certain nutrients, and some people can't adequately digest lactose, explains Dr. Bechtold. Even if you can eat dairy without feeling sick, if you're gassier after eating yogurt, milk, or cheese, you may have a sensitivity to it. More serious warning signs: If your gas comes with diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, abdominal pain, blood, or vomiting, talk to you doctor. These could be indicators for diseases like inflammatory bowel disease, Celiac disease, or small bowel bacterial overgrowth. You shouldn't hold it back. If you're sitting in an all-day meeting, don't resist letting one loose: Gas is air trapped in your body, so it has to come out sooner or later, says Dr. Bechtold. And while the odor itself isn't like milk spoilingâgrowing stronger with timeâholding back one fart now may lead to you letting three rip at once. (And that includes not only the power of three, but also the smell.) To top it all off, trying to hold gas in can cause significant bloating and discomfort in your stomach, says Dr. Bechtold. So do yourself a favor, and let it slide when you first feel it. It may be uncomfortable for a minute, but it'll be a lot more awkward when the whole meeting comes to a pause from smelling your 3-hour buildup. Your friend's farts smell just like yours. Other people's farts don't actually smell worseâthey just take you by surprise, says Dr. Bechtold. You know yours are coming, so you have more time to prepare for the stink. But when your buddy drops a bomb without warning, your lack of prep makes the fart register as extra-rancid. Of course, odor also depends on the other person's diet and colonic bacteria, Dr. Bechtold adds.