People typically pass gas about 20 times a day, and flatulence is an ordinary occurrence. However, for some people who keep farting, it’s a severe problem that can be socially and painfully embarrassing. Flatulence is a normal byproduct of the foods we eat. When our digestive system breaks our food down for energy, it produces gas, which is mainly composed of methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. However, excessive gas can be caused by many other issues.
Why I Can’t Stop Farting?
1. Swallowing of Air
Swallowing air is a major source of gas producing flatulence. While it is normal to swallow small amounts of air when eating, eating too fast will create excess air in the stomach. Additionally, excessive swallowing of air may cause hiccups, causing you to swallow even more air. If the swallowed air is not burped up, it moves through the digestive tract and is released as flatulence.
Certain carbohydrates and high-fibre containing foods, such as Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, whole grains, and beans, might not break down very well in your digestive tract. When these foods come into contact with the bacteria in the colon they ferment, they may produce lots of flatulence. Some other gas-forming foods include:
- Alcohol (especially beer and ale)
- Fruit juice and sodas
- Dairy (especially if you are lactose intolerant)
3. Intestinal Diseases
Another major source of intestinal gas is lactose intolerance. It results in a decreased ability to digest lactose, a natural sugar found in dairy products such as cheese, milk or ice cream, and in certain processed foods such as cereals, breads, and salad dressings. The undigested lactose produces carbon dioxide and hydrogen when it reaches the large intestines, causing griping pains, and excessive flatulence.
Constipation can cause bloating–gas build up–in your stomach and intestines, but it generally does not increase gas. When gas doesn’t pass as flatulence because of slow-moving bowel movements, it can build up in the stomach and intestines, and cause bloating. Any bloating you may have as a result could lead to abdominal pain that can vary from dull and mild, to sharp and intense.
5. Anxiety and Tension
Excessive anxiety and tension may cause you to breathe faster, resulting in you taking in more air. This faster breathing increases the chances of you swallowing more air. Moreover, the stomach produces not only digestive enzymes, but also hydrochloric acid, and because excessive emotional tensions increase hydrochloric acid production, it also causes excessive gas build up in the intestines.
Can’t Stop Farting, What Can I Do?
1. Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in food by creating an unliveable environment for unhealthy bacteria that causes flatus. Taking 1 or 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before a meal, especially dairy products, may help reduce the amount of gas your body produces.
2. Use Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is very good at absorbing the hydrogen sulfide which is responsible for the obnoxious odors. It also has millions of pores which trap the gas as it passes through your system. Taking an activated charcoal supplement can help reduce excessive gas and odor.
3. Add Probiotics to Your Diet
Probiotics help by killing the bad bacteria that feed on carbohydrates and produce excessive gas and foul odors. Probiotics help keep the natural balance of organisms in the intestines, and can be found in yogurts, pickles, soft cheeses, kombucha tea, kifer, and sauerkraut.
4. Try Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzyme supplements such as lactase and lipase, are natural substances to help break down and digest food. Digestive enzyme supplements are also used when the pancreas does not or cannot release enough digestive enzymes into the gut to digest the food.
5. Try Peppermint Oil
Studies show that peppermint oil can help reduce the occurrence of flatulence and reduce stomach muscle spasms. It is recommended to take about 90 mg of peppermint oil daily to help reduce bloating, gas, and improve bowel movement in people with digestive disorders.
6. Avoid Fructose
Fructose intolerance is also common, but less recognized, and a study shows that nearly half of normal people get gas from fructose. This common fruit sugar is found in fruit juice and is used as a sweetener in some soft drinks.
7. Reduce Carbonated Products
Carbonated products will cause your intestines to be filled with more air than normal. Beer and ale are the worst, because they are the most carbonated of the alcoholic beverages, which full of high glycemic carbohydrates, and could have a negative effect on your digestive system.
8. Watch Your Starches
Starch causes the release of intestinal gas when it is digested in the intestines. Wheat starch in particular is harder to digest, and should be avoided if you have excessive gas. Rice is a better choice if you have a gas problem, because it’s easier for your body to digest.
9. Stop Smoking and Gum Chewing
Chewing gum often causes you to swallow a lot more air than you should and leads to an increase in flatulence. The same is true for smoking, aside from producing too much air in the gut, it’s also harmful to your overall health.
10. Try Medications
Some over the counter medications from your local pharmacy might also help:
- Medicines containing simethicone such as Maalox Anti-Gas, Mylanta Gas, Gas-X, and Phazyme, cause gas bubbles to break up, which may decrease passing gas.
- Those who are lactose intolerant can get help from a lactase supplement such as LactAid.
When Should I Worry About Excessive Farting?
How Much Is Too Much?
If you can’t stop farting, consult with your physician, he/she might encourage you to count the number of times you pass gas daily. Depending on the amount of times, more than 20, your doctor may recommend that you keep a journal of the foods you’re eating to pinpoint the cause before taking it to the next level.
Does the Smell Mean Anything?
Most farts are odorless, but everyone passes smelly gas from time to time. The foul odor is usually caused by sulfur in your system, and it’s rarely a reason for concern. However, some foods, such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and eggs are notorious for foul odors from gas.
Other odorous gas making conditions may include:
- Stomach illness (such as food poisoning)
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Malabsorption problems
- Colon cancer