Whether through burping or farting, your digestive system stays pretty busy. If you find yourself more gassy than normal, it’s most likely something you ate. Here are some myths and facts about gas…
Chewing gum can make you gassy. True
Any time you swallow air, it can lead to farts. Eating or drinking too fast, fizzy drinks, smoking, and chewing gum can make you do it. But the main cause is the breakdown of food in your gut. The medical name for it is flatulence.
Air travel can make you fart. True
The change in air pressure can affect more than your ears. To help keep embarrassing gas at bay, watch what you eat before and during your flight. If you know a certain food, like beans, makes you gassy, don’t eat it. Still worried? You could try underwear lined with carbon. There are several brands available, and they are designed to help filter fart odors.
The older you get, the gassier you’ll become. True
Ah, aging! As the years go by, your digestive system slows down. You may get constipated, and being backed up can make you gassy. Some laxatives that help with constipation can cause gas, like ones that contain bran.
How many times a day does a person on a normal diet pass gas? 13-21 times Whether through burping or farting, your digestive system stays pretty busy. If you find yourself more gassy than normal, it’s most likely something you ate. Don’t worry. It should pass.
Bad-smelling farts mean you are sick. False
Most farts are odorless, but everyone passes smelly gas from time to time. The odor is usually caused by sulfur in your system, and it’s rarely a reason for concern. But if it doesn’t clear up and you have other symptoms, like stomach pain, check with your doctor. You could have an infection. Or you may not be able to digest the lactose in dairy products. Or you could have celiac disease — problems digesting gluten — which is found in wheat and other grains. Your doctor may recommend diet changes and supplements, or prescribe medication to help.
Foods that are high in this are more likely to make you fart:
The correct answer: Carbohydrates.
Everyone is different, and foods that cause gas for one person may not for someone else. But in general, foods that are high in carbs cause more gas. High-fat foods stay in the stomach longer. Cutting back on them can help reduce bloating and discomfort. Less fat helps the stomach empty faster, allowing gas to move more quickly out of you. In general, protein doesn’t contribute to gas, but if you have problems digesting lactose, a sugar in milk, dairy products will give you gas.
Dietary supplements (like Beano and Gastro) prevent gas because they:
- Soak up sulfur in your digestive tract
- Break down sugar, making foods easier to digest
- Evaporate swallowed air in your stomach
The correct answer: Break down sugar, making foods easier to digest.
These little pills give your digestive juices a boost. They contain natural tools called enzymes that help break down your food. Take these before you eat to help with gas.
The best way to get rid of the smell of a fart is:
- Light a match
- Open a window
- Spray perfume in circles
The correct answer: Open a window.
Open a window and let the fart smell float away into fresh air. Lighting matches, spraying perfume, and using air fresheners may cover the fart scent, but they don’t get rid of it.
Exercise can help you fart less. True
Working out will help get rid of any extra air in your system. To help with the amount of gas you pass, do regular exercise. Try this: Tighten your stomach muscles by pulling them in. Imagine you’re pulling your belly button towards your spine. Over time you’ll strengthen those muscles and they can help disguise a gassy pooch.
You feel a fart coming on, and you aren’t alone. It’s best to:
- Sit down and clench the muscles in your bottom.
- Stand up and relax everything before all systems go.
- Hold your breath until it passes.
The correct answer: Stand up and relax everything before all systems go.
If you can’t make it out of the room, don’t clench. Any kind of pushing is going to amplify the sound if it sneaks out. Standing will produce less bang than sitting. While it may be polite to stifle a fart, you’ll likely feel better if you let your flatulence fly. n
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario
Intestinal Gas Facts
- The usual cause of belching is excessive gas in the stomach that comes from swallowed air. However, discomfort in the abdomen for any reason also may cause belching. Therefore, belching does not always indicate the presence of excessive gas in the stomach.
- Bloating is the subjective feeling that the abdomen is ful but does not necessarily mean that the abdomen is enlarged. Distention is the objective enlargement of the abdomen.
- Continuous distention of the abdomen usually is caused by fluid, tumors, enlarged organs, or fat within the abdomen.
- Intermittent distention of the abdomen may be caused by excessive formation of intestinal gas, as well as physical or functional obstruction of the intestines.
- Flatulence (farting) results from the production of gas by bacteria within the intestines when they digest sugars and polysaccharides.
- Excessive production of gas and increased flatulence may occur because of: (1) the greater ability of some bacteria to produce gas; (2) maldigestion or malabsorption of sugars and polysaccharides; and (3) bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine.
- Belching, bloating/distention, and flatulence are evaluated with a medical history, simple abdominal X-rays, small intestinal X-rays, gastric emptying studies, ultrasound examination, computerized tomography(CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), tests for maldigestion and malabsorption, and hydrogen breath tests.
- The treatment of excessive intestinal gas depends on the underlying cause and may include dietary changes, medications that reduce the production of gas (for example, antibiotics), and medications that stimulate the muscles of the small intestine. n