health

8 Alarming Things Your Farts Are Trying To Tell You About Your Overall Health

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is a writer on the Original Content team. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Many of us are ashamed of our bodily functions. Women are taught from childhood that we should never let men know that we poop, burp, or fart.

When I was young, I was convinced that I didn’t fart. I’m not joking — I was positive that farting was just not something that my body did.

Of course, I was absolutely wrong. I’d just trained myself not to let out any farts.

As an adult, I’m now more than aware that everyone farts, myself included. That being said, most of us try to stifle them when we’re in public situations (and often even in more intimate situations).

You definitely shouldn’t force yourself not to fart, though, because there are a lot of things you can find out about your health by farting.

Not only is passing gas good for you, tooting can actually reveal a lot about your overall health.

Photos: Max Pixel; Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Why Do We Fart?

why we fart
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Gas is a normal, healthy part of digestion.

Most people fart more than 10 times each day, and it’s usually odor-free.

Sometimes, though, your farts are weirder than normal. Maybe you’re farting more than usual or letting out a nasty smell.

Reasons Your Farts Are Unusual
#1: You Ate Sulfur-Rich Food

sulfur-rich food
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Most of us know that eating foods like broccoli and cauliflower can make your gas extra smelly.

Foods that are high in sulfur can make your farts smell like rotten eggs.

Other foods that are high in sulfur include cabbage, brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, dried fruit, nuts, cheddar cheese, beer, and wine.

#2: You Ate A Lot Of Raffinose

raffinose beans
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart… We all know the childhood rhyme, and there’s actually a lot of truth behind it.

Beans are full of raffinose, which is a type of sugar that can lead to bloating and gas. Lentils, legumes, and certain veggies are rich in raffinose as well.

The reason raffinose makes us fart is because our gastrointestinal tracts don’t have the enzyme necessary to break down these sugars.

#3: You Ate Your Food Too Fast

ate too fast
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Eating really quickly might seem like no big deal (we all do it once in a while), but it can actually make you fart.

When you gulp down food, you also swallow air. If air ends up in your stomach, it has to come out somewhere, so it’ll either be expelled from your body as a burp or fart.

#4: You're Lactose Intolerant

lactose intolerant
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Unfortunately, if you start having unusual farts, it could be a sign that you’re lactose intolerant.

Normally, our bodies can break down and digest dairy, but people with a lactose intolerance don’t have the lactate enzyme necessary to help the body absorb dairy products.

For many people, lactose intolerance comes on as we get older, so even if you didn’t have it as a child, you might get it later.

#5: Your Medicine Gives You Side Effects

medicine side effects
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Another possible reason your farts are extra stinky is your medication.

Certain vitamins, supplements, and prescription drugs can make your farts smell particularly foul. Some of them cause gas and bloating, while others create gas and bloating.

#6: You Have IBS

ibs farts
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Smelly or unusual farts can also be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome.

Usually, this will be accompanied by other symptoms, like unexplained weight loss, persistent diarrhea, bloody stool, constipation, or abdominal pain.

#7: You're Constipated

constipation farts
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

When you’re constipated, the poop gets backed up in your bowel, so the bacteria build up and create a lot of gas. This can lead to some unfortunate farts.

To avoid getting constipated, make sure you get enough fiber and water in your diet.

#8: You Have An Infection/Disease

infection or disease
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Unfortunately, farting a lot or having extremely gross farts can be a symptom of something more serious.

There’s a chance your farts are caused by celiac disease, C. difficile, a bowel obstruction, inflammatory bowel disease, or colon cancer.

When To See A Doctor

see a doctor
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If you have any serious changes in your bowel movements, abdominal pain, weight loss, persistent diarrhea or constipation, a fever, or blood in your poop, you should make an appointment with a doctor immediately.

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