Farting (flatulence) is passing gas from the digestive system out of the back passage. It's a normal process and something everyone experiences regularly.
There are things you can do if you fart a lot or your farts are smelly.
Causes of farting
When you swallow food, water or saliva, you also swallow small amounts of air. This collects in the digestive system. The body needs to get rid of the build-up by farting or burping. Gases can also build up when you digest food.
Causes of excessive farting
Excessive farting can be caused by:
- swallowing more air than usual
- eating foods that are difficult to digest
- conditions affecting the digestive system like indigestion or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- some medicines like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), statins and some laxatives
Do not stop or change your medication without speaking to your GP first. It's important that you don't self-diagnose.
Non-urgent advice: Speak to a GP if:
- farting is affecting your life and self help and pharmacy treatments haven't worked
- you have a stomach ache or bloating that'll not go away or comes back
- you keep getting constipation or diarrhoea
- you have lost weight without trying
- you've had blood in your poo for 3 weeks
- you have signs of an infection like a high temperature, vomiting, chills, joint pain and muscle pain
- you're unable to control your bowel movements (involuntary pooing)
Get advice from a pharmacist
A pharmacist can give you advice about excessive or smelly farts. They may be able to recommend something to help like:
- charcoal tablets
- special underwear or pads that absorb smells
A pharmacist may also be able to tell you if you need to speak to your GP.
How reduce excessive or smelly farting
- chew food slowly with your mouth closed
- eat smaller meals, more often
- drink slowly
- exercise regularly to improve digestion
- eat foods that are easy to digest like rice, bananas, citrus fruits and potatoes
- drink peppermint tea
- do not chew gum, smoke or suck on pen tops or hard sweets to avoid swallowing excess air
- do not wear loose-fitting dentures
- do not drink lots of fizzy drinks and hot drinks
- do not drink too much beer, wine or fruit juice
- do not eat lots of foods that are difficult to digest and cause farting like beans, cabbage and lentils
- do not eat lots of foods containing sorbitol (a sweetener) and fructose (a sugar) as these can cause farting
29 May 2023
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