Smelly farts, flatulence, or flatus are a normal part of digestion. Farts are gas; the gas that you swallow while eating and the gases formed in the gut when the food is being broken down. Certain carbohydrates are incompletely digested by the enzymes in the stomach and intestines. The gut bacteria then digest these carbohydrates, releasing intestinal gas in the process. A trace amount of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, which is formed by gut bacteria, gives farts their smell.
Talk to your physician if:
- Farts are excessive.
- Farts with cramps.
- Farts interfere with your daily life.
What are the types of farts?
The farts are associated with different types of symptoms. Thus, it can be said that there are different types of farts, which include:
- Flatus with bloating and cramp-like abdominal pain: The pain is felt in the areas where the gas gets trapped. The most common area includes:
- Upper to mid-right part of the abdomen
- Upper to the mid-left part of the abdomen
- Flatus in an excessive amount: You may feel that you are passing an excessive amount of gas. However, you do not have excess gas but have an increased sensitivity to the normal amount of gas in the intestine. Some of the condition causing increased sensitivity include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Dyspepsia (persistent pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen)
- Irritation of anus or rectum
- Smelly flatus: You may have abnormally smelly farts. This may be due to a particular food allergy or due to bacterial overgrowth in the gut.
- Flatus incontinence: In this, you feel the rectum is filling, but the body’s nerves cannot recognize whether it is a gas or stool.
What are the causes of smelly farts?
Foul-smelling gas can be attributed to a variety of reasons, from normal to potentially severe. It comes and goes based on what you eat. Some of the common causes of foul-smelling gas include:
- Swallowing air: Some of the ways by which people swallow air include:
- Certain foods: Some foods may have indigestible carbohydrates that need to be broken down by bacteria. Examples include:
- Oat bran
- Brussel sprouts
- Chewing gums
- Lactose intolerant to milk, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products
- Food intolerance
- High-fiber foods
- Certain medications, such as antibiotics
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes and scleroderma, may lower the activity of the small intestine over time, leading to bacterial overgrowth
- Many bacteria in the intestine
Some of the severe causes of foul-smelling gas include:
- Infections of the digestive tract
- Colon cancer (rare)
If you experience an unusual amount of foul-smelling gas, you should talk to your doctor to know the cause.
How to prevent farts?
If you wish to control your farts, you can try these methods:
- Avoid eating or drinking hurriedly. Chew your food properly before gulping it down.
- For a few days, avoid foods that cause flatulence. You can determine the foods triggering flatulence by adding them gradually to your diet.
- Increase your fiber content slowly over days or weeks. A sudden increase in dietary fiber may trigger flatulence, but a gradual increase will not do so.
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Abraczinskas D. Patient Education: Gas and Bloating (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/gas-and-bloating-beyond-the-basics
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Digestive Disorders: How to Stop Gas PainWhen gas gets stuck in your digestive system, you may feel pain or bloating. If changes in your diet or other habits don't fix it, you might need your doctor's help.
How Can I Relieve My Baby's Gas?Many newborns, particularly between the ages of 1-4 months, suffer from gas. The taking in of air while feeding, allergies to food given, and/or improper burping practices may all cause the baby to be gassy and irritable.
What Helps With Bloating and Gas?What can you do to help with bloating and gas? Gas and bloating do eventually go away on their own. If your bloating only happens occasionally, make sure to chew your food well and sit up straight for a while after eating to help your body digest.
Why Am I So Gassy and Bloated?Bloating is a feeling that your abdomen is distended or larger than normal, but it does not necessarily mean that it is. Gas (flatulence) also can be a problem if you are bloated. Common, less serious causes of bloating are eating too fast, too much, or too many fatty foods; swallowing air; pregnancy; and menstruation. Cancer and IBD (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) are examples of the more serious causes of bloating. Examples of foods and drinks that cause bloating are high-fiber foods if you don't eat them regularly; eventually the bloating and gassiness will resolve if you eat them on a regular basis; fatty greasy foods, dairy products (for example, cheese, ice cream, milk, and yogurt); foods high in salt (for example, processed, frozen, and canned foods), and artificial sweeteners. Some doctors and other health care professionals recommend natural remedies like chamomile or peppermint tea or pumpkin to relieve bloating. Examples of OTC medicine (medicine available without a prescription) and other products that may relieve bloating and gassiness are, Gas-X, Beano, Pepto Bismol, Metamucil, probiotics, and Ex-Lax for constipation associated with bloating. If you have persistent or severe gas and bloating, and if you have any of these symptoms see a doctor or other health care professional, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, bloody diarrhea, fever, or if you think you are or may be pregnant.