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There is no denying that farting is one of the most embarrassing situations to be in. To top it all, if your farts stink, then well the going can truly get tough. There is no denying that farting is actually good for you because it releases gas from the abdomen which can make you uncomfortable.
In fact, Dr Keyur Sheth, a gastroenterologist at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Mumbai, says you must pass gas at least 14 times a day for a healthy digestive process.
But why do we fart in the first place?
Technically, farts or passing gas is called flatulence. This normal bodily process helps in releasing gas which can cause indigestion. But not all farts are the same. Some are silent and odourless, while others might be loud and smelly.
According to Dr Sheth, there are many reasons why your farts are foul-smelling. Here are a few that top the list:
1. You’ve been eating a lot of protein and fibre
The food we eat is the biggest reason why our farts smell the way they do. Our gut has organisms that digest the food and convert it into a compound. During this process, certain nutrients release odour and hence lead to smelly farts.
“Foods that are high in protein, sulphur, and fibre are the major reasons for smelly farts. Broccoli, onion, garlic, meat, and eggs are just a few of them,” says Dr Sheth.
2. You might be having a SIBO
SIBO basically stands for small-intestine bacterial overgrowth. This bacterial infection is another major reason for that funky smell in our farts. Our gut contains both healthy and unhealthy bacteria. A low intake of fibre and gut-unfriendly foods leads to an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria which disrupts the nutrient absorption and affects the entire digestive process.
“In severe cases, it causes major infection in the intestine which leads to pain in the abdomen,” Dr Sheth says.
3. You might be on antibiotics
“Medication can also cause smelly farts. Antibiotics sometimes also kill the good bacteria in our gut and slow down the digestion process due to which a foul smell is produced. In fact, if there is a change in your medication then also change in smell can be witnessed,” says Dr Sheth.
4. You could be intolerant to certain foods
Gluten and lactose intolerance are common causes of smelly farts. If after eating an ice-cream or other dairy products you feel gassy then there are chances that you are lactose intolerant. “There is the natural sugar in dairy products which people find hard to digest and due to this they feel gastrointestinal distress and nauseous,” he explains.
“If your stomach is sensitive to gluten found in grains like wheat, barley, etc. then too you can experience smelly farts. Just replacing the gluten can solve the problem in this case,” he suggests.
5. It can also be a colon infection
“Although rare, but polyps and tumors in the digestive tract make it hard to pass gas and due to which bloating and gas build-up is seen in many people. This leads to a lot of discomfort and smelly farts. We always recommend a colonoscopy to such patients,” he concludes.