What is the meaning of smelly farts? What causes really foul-smelling farts? How can colon cancer and pregnancy be the cause of constant extremely stinky farts?
Many of us have been there: having to live with excessive farting that feels as though it is out of our control, and which often leads to a whole lot of embarrassment. Despite the fact that an average individual farts almost every day, there are individuals who deal with excessive flatulence and a bloated stomach more frequently than others.
An aggravating fact about having smelly farts is that they can appear impossible to diminish, as well as narrow down on the exact cause, taking into consideration that there exist more than a dozen factors that may be the cause of extremely smelly farts.
What is a fart?
Flatulence also known as a fart, gas, or passing wind, comes about due to the internal buildup of gases formed during the processes of respiration and digestion. The development of farts within a digestive tract, and their causes will often vary considerably, depending on the circumstances and the affected person.
As you may have probably experienced firsthand a few times in the past, there are farts that can be quite noisy and stinky, while others will easily slip by without being noticed.
But just how much farting is normal, or too much?
- Normally, a healthy individual can pass gas between fourteen and eighteen times in a single day, with some not even realizing it, as the farts are odorless and silent.
- Instead of focusing on the frequency of your farts, you should instead turn your attention to the smell and what could be causing it.
- You need to examine additional digestive symptoms that may be present for you to establish whether there is a problem or not.
What do smelly farts mean?
What is the meaning of really smelly farts? An extremely foul-smelling fart can be a key source of awkwardness, not only for you, but also for those around you. It is something that can lead to:
- Social isolation
- Poor self-esteem
- It can be an indication of underlying problems with your digestive system
Flatulence is the medical term used to refer to farting. Farting is a natural occurrence in the human body, and is in some circles considered to be an indication that a person has a healthy digestive system. According to HealthLine, the average human being passes between five hundred and one thousand, five hundred milliliters of gas via their rectums each day. The intestinal gas being released as farts comprises of:
- Carbon dioxide
The above gases are traditionally known to be odorless, but when added to other gases such as sulfates, they become very smelly. This takes place in two main ways:
- If this gas remains in your intestines for a long period of time, the bacterium will start adding filthy smelling sulfate gases to it.
- Another thing that makes your farts to have a foul, rotten-egg smell is the consumption of foods that have a high sulfur content.
- As such, you may experience sulfur burps and farts as well.
You should note that extremely smelly farts rarely get associated with serious medical conditions. But, if experiencing regular bowel movements and staying away from foods that have a high sulfur content do not improve the odor of your farts, a digestive disorder could be present.
Also if you start experiencing other symptoms e.g. nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, or weight loss, it is possible that you could be having a serious digestive problem. As such, you should consider seeing your doctor.
Causes of smelly farts
Farts do not always have an unpleasant smell. The smelly farts may however, have an unusually strong and putrid smell. Often, these types of farts are caused by the foods you eat, even though they can also be caused by other conditions e.g. pregnancy, and diseases like colon cancer.
1. Colon cancer
Constant stinky farts could also mean you have colon cancer (colorectal cancer). This is a serious health problem as it is life-threatening.
According to Colorectal Cancer Canada, “A pattern of gas and bloating may be an indication that a tumor is growing in the colon and occasionally causing a blockage.”
Apart from colon cancer, other health conditions known to cause smelly farts include:
- Stomach illnesses e.g. food poisoning
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Fructose intolerance
- Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines
2. Some foods cause foul farts
“Excessive flatulence may have some common and harmless causes, which may include anxiety, childbirth, effects that come with aging, as well as consumption of gas producing foods and drinks.” [Source: VeryWell]
The smell of your farts will often depend on the types of foods that you consume, and is therefore a byproduct of the gasses that are made in your colon and small intestines during the digestion process. Some of the foods that are likely to produce stinky farts include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Cow dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Bok choy
- Too many eggs, especially boiled eggs
- Beef and pork
By itself, foul smell is not indicative of anything, and you should therefore be on the lookout for accompanying symptoms. You should note that excessive bloating and gas could also be an indication of an underlying health condition.
3. Carbohydrate malabsorption
It can range from being mild to severe. In its mild form, it presents as abdominal pain accompanied by bloating, while the severe form is known as Celiac disease. The disease can present itself with vitamin deficiencies and abdominal pain.
You can deal with both conditions by eliminating gluten from your day-to-day diet. Gluten can be found in rye, wheat, as well as in barley products e.g. flour and bread. By avoiding these products, you will be able to eliminate the symptoms such as stinky farts that are often associated with this condition.
4. Lactose intolerance
Lactose is a sugar that is found in all dairy products. When you do not have enough of the enzyme that is needed to break this lactose down, it means that it will remain in your digestive tract.
When this happens, the foul-odor causing bacteria is able to feed on it. Lactose intolerant people are always advised to ensure that they avoid dairy products as a way of decreasing flatulence.
5. Infections of your digestive tract
There are many viruses and bacteria that can cause infections in your digestive tract lining. There are infections that may come about due to frequent travel to different locations in the world. Typically, infections will be accompanied by:
- Abdominal pain
- Stinky farts, burps and even vomiting.
In case you suspect that you may have an infection of your digestive tract, it will be best to make sure that you immediately consult your physician for proper treatment.
6. Pregnancy and constant smelling farts
You may have heard of bloating and gas as early signs of pregnancy. During pregnancy, gas happens to be a frequent occurrence, and as such, passing gas is a shared concern among many pregnant women.
For some women, gas is a bloating feeling, also referred to as indigestion. The gas present in your body is always looking for an escape route, and sometimes it does this through flatulence, while in other instances, it is through burping or belching.
Gas buildup will take place in your body regardless of whether you are expectant or not. But, you will most likely experience more gas related problems such as smelly farts when you become pregnant. The increasing progesterone levels are the chief contributing factors to the gas buildup in your body. Progesterone’s purpose is to make it possible for the muscles in the body to become relaxed.
Consequently, the intestinal muscles will become more relaxed, and this will slow down your digestion process, thereby increasing the transient time via your intestines by up to thirty percent. It is what makes it possible for gas to build up more easily, resulting in flatulence, bloating, and burping.
You could also experience increased gas levels later on in your pregnancy when the now enlarged uterus starts to place additional pressure on the abdominal cavity.
The pressure coming from the uterus may also lead to a slowdown of your digestion process. Unfortunately for you, it will be very hard to control the release of foul-smelling farts because of the muscle relaxation that was induced by the progesterone. You should therefore not be surprised if you find yourself passing wind in extremely awkward situations, which can then result in a lot of embarrassment.
How can you prevent gas when pregnant?
It is almost impossible to stop gas when you are expectant. But, you can take a few steps to help you manage your experience. In such a case, the primary objective will be to ensure that you do not pass gas many times. During pregnancy, there are certain foods, which could be a trigger for the foul-smelling or stinky farts.
If these gases have become a bother for you, consider starting a diary, which will make it possible for you to track your daily food intake. It will make it possible to identify the foods that are causing the gas related problems. Some of the suspicious foods known to create gas are whole grain, beans, and peas.
The American Pregnancy Association offers the recommendations below for helping expectant mothers manage, reduce, and hopefully, be able to stop gas during the course of their pregnancies. They include:
- Stay away from fatty fried food items
- Reduce or avoid taking carbohydrate drinks
- Drink from a glass or cup without using the straw
- Exercise regularly to assist in stimulating the digestive process
- Instead of taking large one-off meals, focus on taking smaller meals throughout the course of your day
- Avoid or limit your intake of artificial sweeteners
- Do not wear clothes that are tight around your waist
- Take lots of water to assist in preventing constipation
- Chew thoroughly and eat slowly
Ensuring you chew your food thoroughly is a great way for you to reduce stinky gas. Often, the gas is caused by bacterium present in your large intestines, which is working to break down the food that was not properly digested by the enzymes found in your stomach.
How to get rid of smelly farts
So, how can you get rid of smelly and foul-smelling farts? You can rely on the following Medication for extremely smelly farts. The medications are normally used in treating or reducing the symptoms associated with flatulence. They include, but are not limited to:
- Comfort Gel oral
- Ri-Mag Plus oral
- Maglox oral
- Flanax antacid oral
- Antacid-antigas oral
Home remedies to stop smelly farts naturally
If medication is not for you, you can still stop smelly farts naturally through the use of natural home remedies. The remedies listed below are safe, convenient, and are readily available in many homes. They include:
It is one of the most effective remedies for dealing with foul-smelling farts. The remedy is efficient as it works in a matter of minutes, and you should be able to notice some results within five to ten minutes.
What to do at home
- What you need to do is take a few seeds and slowly chew them.
- Alternatively, you can take the seeds and soak them in a cup of warm or hot water.
- Allow them to soak for between three and five minutes before taking the water.
Instead of curing gas related problems, ginger stops gases from developing in your digestive tract. Therefore, you should take it immediately after consuming your meals or you can make it a part of your everyday diet.
Alternatively, ginger can also be taken as an herbal tea.
What to do at home
- Grind your ginger
- Soak the ground ginger in a mug of hot water
- Allow it to stay there for ten minutes
- Take it three times each day
3. Black seeds and caraway seeds
Apart from helping you manage the foul-smelling farts, the seeds also come in handy in stopping acid indigestion, constraining, and puffing up.
What to do at home
- Take the seeds and soak them in a glass of steaming water
- Allow the seeds to sit in the water for at least ten minutes
- Pressure the soaked seeds, and ensure you take them each day before taking your meals
- Alternatively, include the seeds in your diet
4. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has over the years been proven to be an effective remedy for flatulence. Additionally, it can also be used in relieving acid indigestion.
What to do at home
- Combine a single teaspoon of ACV with a single glass of water
- Stir it well
- Take the solution
It is advantageous compared to other home remedies in that it provides instantaneous relief from farts related problems.
What to do at home
- Heat a mug of whey or soya milk
- Add a single tablespoon of honey and cinnamon to it
- Allow this mixture to sit for at least five minutes
- Reheat the solution before consuming it
Note: do not try this remedy if you are allergic to soy or whey milk
How to lower flatulence
It is possible to lower flatulence by making some dietary and lifestyle changes. The changes include:
1. Try an elimination diet
The elimination diet works by eliminating the most common digestive culprits one at a time, which makes it possible to pinpoint what could be causing the gas related problems. You need to look at your diet carefully, and establish whether it contains any highly processed foods, which could be triggering your symptoms. You can then start eliminating the suspicious foods for a few days (or weeks) and then reintroducing them again.
2. Utilize probiotics
Probiotics assist in restoring healthy bacteria in the gut, which then foster proper digestion. You can include probiotics foods in your diet. Consider:
- Cultured vegetables e.g. kimchi or sauerkraut
3. Try out the digestive enzymes
By now, you have probably realized that one of the reasons why you have the smelly farts is because your body is not being able to properly metabolize the foods that you are consuming. Natural digestive enzymes can come in handy here. They will do some of the digestive work on your behalf.
You can buy them online or from your local drug store. Normally, they are completely natural as they are made from items like bromelain enzymes and papaya. The enzyme work to ensure that they fully breakdown:
- Simple sugars
- Fatty acids
- Amino acids
4. Drink more water and exercise on a regular basis
Both will help your body in moving waste products and nutrients around, as well as out of your body. When consuming a diet rich in fiber, water is vital, as it will ensure that you remain lubricated. Exercising makes it possible to reduce stress, something that is normally linked to various types of digestive problems.
Each person passes gas a few times a day. However, it can be uncomfortable, distressing, and embarrassing for you, if you are passing smelly farts more times than is normal. Taking a closer look at your eating habits as well as assessing the food items you eat and drink, can make it possible to prevent these embarrassing episodes. But, if the symptoms do not cease, you should consult a physician.
- National Institute of Health. (2016, July). Gas in the Digestive Tract: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gas-digestive-tract
- The Merck Manual Website. (2016, March). Gas-related complaints: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/symptoms-of-gi-disorders/gas-related-complaints