It might not seem like something you care about, especially since the average person does it 20 times per day. But passing wind can reveal many things about your health.
How we eat and live affects how well we feel.
Everything from stress levels, the frequency of exercise, diet and even sleep affects how gas and air build up in our gastrointestinal tract . . . This is how we can impact the passing of wind.
Jenny Francis-Townson shares the health facts behind farts, with the assistance Dr Sarah Garsed.
WHAT IF . . . MOST OF YOUR TIME YOU HARDLY FART, BUT OTHER TIMES PASSWIND A LOT AND IT SMELLS.
WHILE it’s common to pass wind more on some days than others due to what you’ve eaten and what you’ve been doing – noticing that there are certain times that your farts are a lot more frequent (and smellier) could be to do with your sex.
Every month, women go through cycles. The fluctuation of hormones causes a rise or decrease in oestrogen levels and increases in the production chemicals known as prostaglandins.
Dr Sarah says: “Some women produce too much of this chemical and it can cause your bowels to contract more than normal, making you pass wind more often.
Add to this the fact that you may experience bacterial changes during this month, and your farts will have a stronger odor. This is fine and nothing to worry about.”
WHAT IF . . . YOU FARTING (AND PUOOING) LESS THAN NORMALISM?
While some might believe that farting less often is a good sign, it could also indicate that you are experiencing high levels of stress.
Stress can cause a lot of problems in the digestive tract and stomach, particularly if it is prolonged.
When under pressure, many of us change our diets, often eating more processed, unhealthy foods.
Dr Sarah says: “People don’t realise the physical impact that stress has on our bodies. This can cause our bowels to react and sometimes we may find ourselves constipated.
“Our breathing is also changing so we often take in less air than we need. Taking time to deep breathe, taking exercise and trying to get more sleep can help settle our guts.”
WHAT IF . . . YOUR FARTS ARE FOUL-SMELLING AND YOU HAVE LOST YOUR APPETITE?
IF you notice your farts are a lot smellier than usual – and this is coupled with a loss of appetite and even weight loss – it could be a sign of Crohn’s disease.
This condition can lead to small-intestinal bacteria overgrowth. It is simply an accumulation of bacteria in one part of the digestive tract.
These bacteria can release a smelly gas when they break down food residue.
Dr Sarah says: “There are lots of symptoms to look out for if you suspect Crohn’s disease, but smelly farts accompanied by sudden appetite and weight loss could be a reason to be checked out by your GP.
“You might also find you have blood in your poo, painful cramps and excess wind. See your GP immediately if you have these symptoms.”
WHAT IF . . . Your FARTS EXTREMELY SMELLY!
While most farts can smell unpleasant, some are more offensive than others. However, if you have persistently strong odours that fill your room with smell, this could indicate inflammatory bowel disorder or irritable intestinal syndrome.
Excessive smelly gas can also be due to bowel cancer – although this would also have other symptoms, including blood in your poo, a change to bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness for no reason and a pain or lump in your tummy.
However, before you visit your GP, make sure to know that smelly farts are often caused by your diet.
Broccoli and Brussels sprouts, which are rich in sulphur, produce an eggy smell in the digestive system. However, excessive amounts of garlic, onions, beans, and wine can cause an exaggerated eggy smell. “bin” smell.
Dr Sarah says: “Usually foul-smelling farts mean you are consuming a good diet of veg and fibre, so it may not be a bad thing.”
WHAT IF . . . YOU’RE FARTING A LOT IN BED?
MOST people do not “sleep-fart”It happens quite often because our bodies relax at night, and we’re fully aware that farting occurs. Frequent farting at night could indicate poor health.
Dr Sarah says: “Passing wind in bed could simply be a sign that you are eating too late in the evening, close to bedtime, and therefore are farting more in the night.
“However, it can also be a sign of digestive disorders or food intolerances. Although it is not dangerous for your health to fart in your sleep, excessive gas buildup can be dangerous and should be addressed.
“Lactose intolerance is a common cause, which means your body cannot absorb the sugar in dairy products properly. It causes excess, smelly farts and can result in farting more at night.
“Speak to your GP if you are concerned.”
WHAT IF . . . Are YOUR FARTS PAINFUL
TRAPPED wind is a very severe condition. It can cause extreme pain and may be indicative of digestive problems and irritable stool syndrome.
The muscle contractions that allow food to move through your digestive tract from your stomach can become more severe or longer if you have chronic digestive problems.
This can lead to excessive gas buildup, bloating, and painful passing of the wind. Dr Sarah says: “As a result the nerves in your gut can become ultra-sensitive to the movement of gas, causing you to feel more pain.
“If you are concerned, visit your GP and consider changing your diet to eat more fibre and vegetables and try to increase your daily exercise.”
WHAT IF . . . ARE YOU ABOUT UNABLE?
While it is normal to feel a little tired for a while, prolonged periods of incapability to move is a sign of serious illness.
Dr Sarah says: “If you experience bloating and are completely unable to pass wind, seek urgent medical advice as you could have a bowel blockage.
“You will also be experiencing a painful and tender tummy, so if this is coupled with a prolonged period of passing no wind, you should visit your GP or A&E.”