NEWS

Should Farts Be Smelly? How To Know What’s Normal

Toot toot.

14/11/2017 06:10 SAST | Updated 14/11/2017 06:10 SAST
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Boy oh boy have we sparked a debate in the HuffPost office today.

Before we get into how to know if your farts are normal, you need to know that most of the staff here think it's okay to fart in front of their partner and in related news, I have resigned effective immediately. #gross.

Manners aside, farting is a part of everyday life. In fact, farting is healthy. But why is it that sometimes you'll do a fluff that has no scent while other days you'll almost asphyxiate yourself? And while we're at it, how much farting is normal?

"A mostly healthy person might pass gas 14 to 18 times per day, sometimes not even realising it because the farts are mostly silent and odorless," Dr Axe says in his blog, Food is Medicine.

"Rather than how often you fart, however, you might want to take a look at the smelliness of your farts and to examine other digestive symptoms present in order to determine if it's really become a problem."

Getty Images/iStockphoto

When you break down what a fart actually is, you've got a mix of gases including nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen, methane and hydrogen. It's a combination of those gases, some of which contain sulfur, that can make a fart smell like rotten eggs.

While most of the above mentioned gases are odorless, it only takes a small percentage of the pongy gas to create a pretty epic bad smell. Just how bad that smell is will come down to how much air you've swallowed as well as how your body breaks down your food in the intestine and microbiome.

The take home? Smelly farts from time to time are perfectly normal. For the most part it means your body is doing its job and that you're likely getting enough fibre in your diet.

On the flip side, excessive farting or really stinky, persistent fluffs might be a sign that something is awry. The fermentation of bacteria within the gut from eating FODMAP foods can cause smelly gas, which might explain why too much junk food changes the odour.

Persistent, frequent flatulence could be a sign that you could have issues with your digestion such as leaky gut or you may have some food sensitivities or intolerances, and this might be coupled with bloating or pains. As always, see your doctor.

And as for that claim that smelling farts can fight strokes, heart attacks and dementia? Don't go sniffing other people's butts too closely just yet; while some media was fast to make the claim that smelling farts could cure cancer, this has been proven to be wildly overstated.