Why Do Farts Smell & What Do They Mean?

Bridget Mulroy

Why do farts smell & what do they mean?Photo by(@GoodLifeStudio/iStock)

It’s no mystery that everyone toots. If you or someone you know doesn’t pass gas, that should be cause for concern. The average person has between .5 and 1.5 L of gas ready to be released daily, this equates to about 20 farts a day!

It’s normal! Flatulence, passing gas, or farting, is a normal human activity, even though some are worse than others.

Naturally, perhaps men less than women, a feeling of embarrassment is associated with ‘letting one rip’ in public places like the grocery store, the office, on a date, etcetera. While farts are normal, they do carry a stinkma... stigma. Typically, the smellier a fart is, the bigger the impact/room-clearing capabilities.

Farts are supposed to be stinky. They’re not supposed to smell like roses… be worried if they do. Foods and medications are the prime causes of stinkier toots, but certain smells may indicate digestive or other health issues.

The things we eat and put into our bodies have been directly linked to farts with a more resounding effect. The following culprits are the most common:

  • Digestive tract infections: any upset in your digestive system will aggravate the smell released.
  • Constipation: if you’re backed up, the smell may present itself in a higher concentration.
  • Medications: if you’re taking certain medications (anything with sulfur in it, antibiotics,) that’ll do it (however it’s less common.)
  • High-fiber foods: cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, beans, nuts, wheat, and fruit.
  • Food intolerance: if you’re lactose intolerant, on a diet that you stray from, or allergic to gluten (to name a few,) and you eat something that doesn’t agree with you, you’ll know!

The above causes are normal and nothing to worry about. You’ll need to see a doc if you notice nausea, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, cramps, discomfort, incontinence, blood in your stool, fever, and truly abnormally smelling gas. 

Next time you toot, instead of running away from embarrassment, use your farts as an indicator of your health!

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Hi, I’m Bridget.

New York

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