4 Facts You Need to Know About Passing Gas

Most people are embarrassed by their gas especially when in polite company. When feeling gassy, we always hope to avoid the embarrassment of an obvious fart. Odors and loud noises may send us red-faced and embarrassed to the rest room, wishing we could erase the previous few moments and start over. While we will have times where those moments can’t be avoided, depending on what we have eaten along with various other factors can help reduce your gassy times.

Here are 4 Facts You Need to Know About Passing Gas

4 Facts You Need to Know About Passing Gas ~Fact #1 – Gas is produced by all of us.

Many people, kids in particular, will tease someone for doing an audible fart, which is a universal physical reality. In the digestion of all that we eat (everything!), gas is formed. Sometimes gas may be odorless, or nearly so, and often may not be heard. We aren’t always that lucky. Since 5 gases are formed in the digestive process, odor can be quite common.

Fact #2 – The 5 gases formed in digestion are:

  1. Carbon Dioxide – Co2
  2. Nitrogen
  3. Oxygen – O2
  4. Methane
  5. Hydrogen

Methane is the major culprit for producing a bad odor. (Note that it is even estimated that the methane produced by cows in the fields is responsible for 18% of the poor air quality contributing to global warming!)

But why do some of us produce more gas (and more smelly gas) than others?

Fact #3 – Foul gas is usually caused by foods and food intolerances.

Various foods and food intolerances can cause gas. If we are somewhat careful about which foods we consume we can avoid embarrassment from our gas. Foods high in sulfur content, such as cauliflower, eggs, or meat, which form bacteria in the process which in turn produce the odorous compounds released in the flatus (fart).

Food intolerances can also cause gas as well as bloating and abnormal digestion. If someone is suffering with excessive gas and farting, ruling out food intolerances is a must. Gluten, dairy and eggs are usually a great place to start!

For some, the food intolerance may be in the form of FODMAP foods which cause excessive gas and bloating. FODMAPS are “Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols.” An elmination diet of FODMAPs can clear up symptoms and provide relief.

The FODMAPs in the diet are:

  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin etc)
  • Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc)
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc)

Furthermore, carbohydrates may bring symptoms of bloating or temporary abdominal pain and in large amounts ingested at one time may create an excess of gas. Many people find their gas reduced significantly by going on a grain-free diet.

Most fruits and vegetables would not bring the symptoms but in excess certainly can.

Fact #4 – Gas can be caused by serious medical conditions.

If gas problems are severe and persistent and/or are combined with fever, diarrhea, bloody stool, and a persistently hard belly or constipation, seeking medical help would be in order.

Many people suffer with excess gas when they have conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, cancer, cirrhosis or complications of diabetes. Likewise, an imbalance in the gut flora can cause excessive gas and farting.

Those with type 2 Diabetes are also more prone to these discomforts since they have a more sluggish digestive process as a rule than many of us, made more severe in the presence of heavy starch in the diet.

Some people suffer with gas as a matter of copious air-swallowing in certain times of stress or rapid eating. This would be evident with a breath analysis showing higher amounts of hydrogen.

For most of us, flatulence is a normal part of living which gives us little concern. For others it can be painful, embarrassing and even disabling. For these individuals medical support is needed to determine exactly what is causing the abnormal gas.