Smelly Farts, Meaning, Causes, How to Stop, Get Rid

Flatulence also known as farting is a common condition. It refers to the passing of gas from the digestive system out of the back passage. Excessive “passing wind” can be embarrassing and make you feel uncomfortable in public most people fart between 10 to 15 times a day, it is a sign of a healthy digestive system. For that reason, smelly farts can say a lot about your inner health.

Farting is a normal digestive reaction. Your farts, no matter how embarrassing they might be, can be a sign that your diet is a healthy one rich in high fiber. Here is what is are causes, meaning and how to stop smelly gas.

What do smelly farts mean?

Dr. Myron Brand a gastroenterologist, explains that a fart may be loud an odorless, smelly, or silent and very smelly. So what does a smelly fart mean?  According to Dr. Myron, a large proportion of the gas we let off when farting, especially during the day is carbon dioxide. This is largely odor-free.

smelly farts

A small proportion of the gas is hydrogen sulfide, which is generated as a result of consuming foods high in sulfur. After consuming high quantities of such foods, smelly farts is quite common. In such cases, farting is considered normal and harmless.

Smelly farts can, however, become concerning if it is caused by a chemical reaction occurring in your gut or when the fart is caused by a bacterial infection in the gut. Smelly fart can be a sign that t food especially carbohydrates was not processed properly. Poor absorption of carbohydrates leads to food particles accumulating and fermenting in the gut.

According to Dr. Brand, smelly farts can simply mean that carbohydrates you consumed are being malabsobed. This is to say, something is preventing the bowel from absorbing important nutrients and fluids.

Malabsorption syndrome characterized by smelly farts can be caused by the following:

  • Damages to your intestine as a result of inflammations, trauma or surgery
  • Excessive use of antibiotics
  • A radiation therapy that might have injured the lining of your intestines
  • A digestive problem, for example, that which causes your stomach not to be able to digest certain foods.

What makes a fart loud?

There are some myths that loud farts do not smell worse than a quiet fart, which is not true. So what makes a fart loud or quiet?

How loud or quiet your fart is will depend on the position of the sphincter. Your sphincter is a ring muscle that maintains constriction of a natural body passage. If your sphincter is relaxed, the gas will pass without a sound. A loud fart is there likely to occur when your sphincter muscles are strained.

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Causes of smelly farts

Smelly farts can be attributed to different health conditions.

1. Bloating and constipation

Constipation is one of the most common digestive problems not only in the United States but also in the world, this is according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. This condition can be caused by low fiber diet, dehydration, pregnancy among other causes.

Constipation produces gas retention. It also prolongs the fermentation process of food in the digestive system which increases internal gas production which can then be released as smelly farts.

2. Carbohydrate malabsorption

Carbohydrate intolerance which is the inability of your intestine to digest certain carbohydrate can also be the cause of the smelly farts. Carbohydrate malabsorption may occur due to lack of one or more intestinal enzymes.

The undigested carbohydrates can then accumulate and ferment causing diarrhea, smelly farts, and abdominal distention.

3. Digestive tract infections

Viral, bacterial and parasitic infection of the intestinal lining can also be the cause of smelly farts. Apart from the smelly farts, digestive tract infections are mostly characterized by fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Such infections can be serious as some may hinder proper absorption of nutrients. Urgent and proper medical attention is required to diagnose and treat any of such infections.

4. Lactose intolerance

Food sensitivity such as lactose intolerance can also lead to poor abortion and retention of gas in the digestive tract which can then be released as a smelly fart. Lactose intolerance, for instance, can be shown by other symptoms such as:

  • Painful cramping and abnormal bloating
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Rumbling sounds in stomach
  • Diarrhea

5. High consumption of alcohol

Beer and wines are carbonated and contain a lot of yeast. High consumption of wine, causes a phenomenon known as “wine farts”. These are largely created by the hydrogen sulfide generated in the brewing process.

A wine fart is a rotten egg, sewage like smell produce when you consume a lot of wine. The same can happen when you consume a lot of beer, in bear the rotten fart smell is due to the yeast in beer.

6. Over consumption of food high in fructose, polyol, and sulfur 

Consuming a lot of apple, avocados, mushroom, wheat products, and dairy products such as milk, butter, and yogurt can also cause you to have smelly farts.

7. High fiber diet

Though fiber is essential for healthy digestion, excess intake of it can lead to creating excessive gas. If you have to consume a lot of fiber, then they should be introduced slowly to allow the bowel sufficient time to adjust.

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8. Indigestion

Indigestion is the other likely case of smelly farts. The remaining food after digestion may accumulate and ferment or putrefy release smelly and toxic gasses. Indigestion can also lead to:

  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Slowed metabolism

Smelly farts during pregnancy

smelly farts during pregnancy

In women, smelly farts are more common during pregnancy and during menstruation cycles. Hormonal fluctuations during these times are believed to be responsible for increased flatulence.

During early pregnancy, before your uterus is big enough, increased progesterone hormone may slow down digestion. This is what provides more time for the gas to be produced. Your body responds to this accumulation by removing the gas with farts and burps.

As your uterus continues to grow big, the intestines are shifted and crowded in the abdomen. This slows digestion even more. During pregnancy, the muscle relaxing effect of pregnancy hormones leaves you less able to control the passing of gas.

During pregnancy, you can control and prevent smelly farts by, avoiding food that tends to cause gas, drink plenty of water, and avoid eating too much at once.

Foul smelling gas and constipation

Constipation, a digestive condition in which there is difficulty emptying the bowels, is a common cause of smelly fart, the farts can be loud, smelly or odor less in some cases. Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movement a week, when this persists for more than a week, then is described as chronic constipation.

Malabsorption, dehydration, low fiber consumption and low protein can lead to Flatulence and constipation. Increasing your consumption of protein can help reduce the number of times you pass smelly fart especially when constipated.

Dr. Brand says that some people follow a low-FODMAP carbohydrate diet. FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, all different types of carbohydrates.  This kind of food is not completely absorbed thus they accumulate and start to ferment causing gas, the gas is then released from your body in form of smelly farts.

How to stop smelly farts quickly

Smelly farts are rarely something to worry about. This condition can, however, be annoying and embarrassing especially when in public places. High consumption of food that is rich in sulfur is one of the main cause of smelly farts. So cutting down on such consumption can really be helpful in preventing and stopping smelly farts.

Cassandra Forsythe, a fitness and nutrition scientist compiled a list of high FODMAP that can help your stop smelly farts

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Increasing the amount of protein you consume can help get rid of smelly farts. According to DR. Brand, protein generates less gas, which means with increased consumption of protein, you are likely to fart less.

To stop the farting, you will need to avoid high-fat meats, you can, however, eat lean white meat such as chicken, fish, and turkey.

How to get rid of smelly farts

As mentioned, the sound and odor of a fart can say a lot about your health. Most of this will often clear on their own. However, if you have excessive amounts smelly farts, then it is best you consult your health care provider. This can be a sign of a serious digestive problem such as malabsorption of carbohydrates.

There are however some ways you can stop and get rid of smelly farts. Some of the effective ways you can try would include:

1. Ginger

Adding ginger into your food or taking it after your meal may help stop gas from developing in your digestive system.  To get rid of smelly farts:

  • Grind some amount of ginger and soak it in hot water for 10 minutes
  • Take two cups a day of this remedy to get rid of smelly farts

2. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is also an effective remedy you can use to get rid of smelly farts. This remedy is effective in relieving the acid indigestion, thus can also be used to stop bloating and constipation.

Simply dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with warm water, stir and drink the resulting mixture to stop the smelly farts.

3. Drink plenty of water

During meals times, ingesting a lot of carbonated drinks like soda can increase gas retention. Instead, stick to drinking plenty of water, this way you are not only able to stop gas retention but also stay hydrated which can prevent constipation.

4. Cinnamon

Using cinnamon can instantly stop flatulence. Anybody can use cinnamon, whether you are having your menstrual cycle, you are pregnant or for children suffering from smelly farts.

To use cinnamon to get rid of smelly farts:

  • Add a tablespoon of cinnamon powder in a cup of soya milk
  • Add a spoon of raw honey then gently stir to mix
  • Allow the mixture 5 minutes then drink it.

References:

  1. Malabsorption syndrome: http://www.healthline.com/health/malabsorption#overview1
  2. Flatulence, causes, meaning, and treatment: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flatulence/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  3. Why do some fart smell worse than others: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3831431/Why-farts-smell-worse-gastroenterologist-explains.html
  4. What can I do about smelly farts: https://www.enkiverywell.com/smelly-farts.html
  5. What causes smelly farts during pregnancy: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-blog/gas-in-pregnancy/bgp-20055810

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