People break wind an average of 14 times a day, emitting anywhere from half a litre to more than 2 litres of gas over a 24-hour period. And, believe it or not, 99% of gas is odour-free. But at times too, the gut-wrenching stench makes you wonder why is this fart disgusting, when others pass without making their presence known?
Was it something you ate? Is there something wrong with you, internally? Do you have a superpower you didn’t know existed?
Exactly what gases are present depends largely on:
- how much gas is swallowed during eating
- the chemical reactions of bacteria and microbes in the intestine
- what food a person has eaten
But you have the power to control your own gruesome odour by what you eat — not all farts are created equal. Some smell like bitter alcohol, others smell like three-month-old expired broccoli, and many smells like the aforementioned rotten eggs.
Smelly odour is not bad, it’s just a function of what you’re eating and what your bacteria is doing inside your gastrointestinal tract. Everyone is different. Foul smell just means the carbohydrates you consume are being malabsorbed — it’s fermented.
The following are some of the more common causes of smelly flatulence:
- intolerance to food (e.g. celiac disease)
- foods high in fibre (broccoli, garlic, cabbage)
- medications (most common culprit – antibiotics)
- bacteria or infections
- colon cancer
For people whose gas is caused by food intake, prevention typically involves changing their diet. Eating a steady diet of cabbage, Ramly burgers downed with carbonated sodas is bad on virtually every level. The common thread between rotten eggs and farts is the sulphur; if you’ve ever been to natural springs that emit sulphurous gasses, you probably recognised the stench. It may be the only thing your butt, eggs, and natural hot springs have in common.
Some tips to avoid excessive gas include:
- eating smaller portions
- avoiding trigger foods
- avoiding naturally smelly foods
- eating slowly
- drinking more water
- avoiding carbonated drinks
including yogurt and other foods rich with probiotics