I offer this blog as a public service message to all of us who feel a little guilty about farting, especially in public, and that includes ALL of us, whether we like to admit it or not. It also seems to get worse with age. I was reminded of the problem again recently when I staged a Robert Burns Supper, and read out loud Robert Burns’ poem “Tae a Fart”.

     So, as a public service message, this blog investigates the quite healthy reasons for a natural body function, which is socially frowned upon.

     There are some things that remain unchanged from childhood to adulthood — and giggling when you “toot” is one of them. Whether you blame it on the dog or your husband, passing gas is a normal bodily function. However, is it possible to fart too often? Are your daily farts trying to tell you something? If you have noticed that you’re overly gassy lately, here’s what you need to know.

     The average person farts nearly every day, so what is it that we’re passing? Also known as “flatulence,” a fart is simply an internal build-up of gas. More specifically, farts are made up of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, methane and hydrogen: A lovely little gaseous cocktail.

     Although these gases are formed during the process of respiration and digestion, the true cause of excessive gas will depend on personal circumstances. For the most part, farts are silent and odorless. It’s estimated that only around one percent of farts produce a foul smell.

     There’s no need to be embarrassed. It’s quite natural and, in many cases, healthy! In fact, a healthy person may pass gas around 15 to 20 times per day. But is that a “normal” standard?

     There are a number of reasons why gas gets trapped in the body, including swallowing air, constipation, and changes in microflora. When someone begins to experience an excessive build-up of gas, this may mean:

  • You’re suffering from intolerances or food allergies.
  • You’re experiencing bacterial overgrowth.
  • You are constipated.
  • You are experiencing symptoms of IBS, Crohn’s, etc.
  • Fermentation is occurring within the gut.

     More often than not, farting is harmless. It is a normal metabolic function. And for those who consume plenty of fiber-rich foods, increased flatulence may indicate a diet that promotes positive health. Take beans, for example, a food that’s known to cause gas. This is due to the type of carbohydrates which ferment in the gut. Reminds me of the scene in Mel Brooks’ film “Blazing Saddles”.

     In that sense, how many times you fart during the day may vary. It would be wise not to focus too much on how often you’re farting, but why you are passing more gas than usual. Perhaps think about what other symptoms, if any, you have noticed.

     In many cases, it’s something as simple as lactose intolerance. However, if you’re suffering from excessive gas and bloating, you may want to focus on the following possibilities:

1. You’re a fast eater: When you eat rapidly, you tend to swallow more air. Once that air (made up of various gases) gets into your body, it has to come out somehow. If you don’t burp it up, you may find that it’s coming out the other end.

2. Your gut is imbalanced: A small percentage of farts are those stinky bombs that make farting so embarrassing. You would think that rotten farts indicate something is the matter, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Generally speaking, stinky gas is generally caused by the breakdown of sulphur. Since there are many healthy foods that contain sulphur, including broccoli and beans, stinky gas does not automatically indicate poor health. Bottom line: Farting is healthy, albeit at reasonable levels. A public service message, as I said.

3. You’re sensitive to gluten or dairy: Even if you have been eating dairy your whole life without any noticeable issues, your system can change as you age. Over the course of time, your body may no longer produce enough lactase. The same is true for those who cannot properly break down gluten — which is the case among those with celiac disease.

     Listen to your body: From hormonal changes to constipation, there are a number of reasons why you may be farting more often. As mentioned, unless you fart a lot (30 or more times daily), or you’re finding that excessive flatulence is affecting your quality of life, your body is more than likely just doin’ its thing.

     Like all symptoms, your body is trying to communicate with you. The more in-tune you are, the easier it will be to maintain positive health. So, listen to your body.

     In this case, your farts will do all the talking. Here endeth the public service message.

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