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Smelly and excessive gas: tips to bring it under control

What is flatulence?

Flatulence, gas, wind, farting, flatus, fluff, stinker, cut the cheese, toot, whoopee… They are all one and the same. The passing of gas, produced primarily from the break-down of food in the digestive tract, out of the rear passage (rectum).

Let’s face it – no one likes to be associated with a stinker and it can be rather embarrassing if you trumpet in public.

So what is normal? And what can we do to minimize the passing of wind?

What is ‘normal’?

Let’s be honest, we all fart, even the ladies let it rip! Passing wind is normal. It is a necessary part of everyday life and for the most part, perfectly healthy.

The amount of times one dispels gas can vary from person to person (our bowels produce anywhere between 500 - 2000mls of gas everyday), so don’t despair if you’re tooting your way through the day or using that extra rocket power to help get you around. For most people, their wind will pass on the breeze with friends & colleagues none the wiser.

For others, (and occasionally for everyone) poor digestion, slow transit time, an imbalance of gut bacteria, increases in methane and other gas production, food intolerances, or a high fibre diet may cause some malodour with the expulsion of air, creating a stinker. There is no ‘one fart fits all’ program.

What can I do?

Smelly and excessive gas can often be controlled with some dietary and lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Avoiding foods that you have a known intolerance/sensitivity to
  • Try an elimination diet to determine which foods may be the culprit for you
  • Have a stool analysis done
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently
  • Eat and drink more slowly, and chew food thoroughly
  • Keep hydrated (aids transit time)
  • Move your bowels regularly
  • Don’t overdo the fibre in any one meal
  • Don’t overdo the ‘gas-producing’ foods – beans, cabbage, apples, peaches, prunes, potatoes, milk, ice-cream, beer and soft cheeses
  • Take probiotics
  • On rising have a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it
  • Before each meal take 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with water
  • Sip some herbal tea after a meal to aid digestion – peppermint, fennel, chamomile, ginger

NOTE: If odourous flatulence is persistent, or accompanied by bloating, cramping or pain, seek medical advice.