Help! I can’t stop farting!

Q: Help! I farted in class and someone heard me!  What can I do to get rid of my gas??

A: Believe it or not, the normal frequency of passing gas is 14-23 times per day!  There are two major sources of intestinal gas: swallowed air and gas produced by bacteria in the colon.  Most people who have problems with gas don’t actually have excess gas in their intestines, but rather an increased sensitivity to normal amounts of gas. 

If you’re farting more often than 24 times a day (that’s not a challenge, guys) or you’re having difficulty keeping it from happening at inopportune times, you should take a look at what you’re eating and how fast you’re eating it. 

Air swallowing is the major source of gas in the stomach.  It’s normal to swallow some air while eating, but drinking carbonated beverages, drinking through a straw, chewing gum and eating too quickly can cause you to swallow an excessive amount of air.  Most swallowed air is released through burping, but what doesn’t come up must go down.

Certain high-fiber and carbohydrate containing foods such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beans, broccoli, and some whole grains may not break down well in your digestive tract.  When they come into contact with the bacteria in your colon they ferment and produce lots of gas, as artfully demonstrated in the following classic scene from Blazing Saddles

(C’mon – there had to be a fart joke in here somewhere and this is the Mona Lisa of fart jokes!  Question the taste and maturity level of the clip all you want, but I’ll bet you a bottle of Bean-O you laughed…) 

If you’re having uncomfortable amounts of gas and bloating, you can do some things to help.  In addition to avoiding the above mentioned foods and activities, you should:

  • Increase your non-carbonated fluid intake, particularly water
  • Minimize alcohol consumption
  • Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products
  • Keep calm – tension can cause you to swallow air
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid dairy products if you are lactose intolerant

Some over-the-counter medications may also help:

  • Simethicone containing products (Maalox Anti-Gas, Mylanta Gas, Gas-X, Phazyme) cause gas bubbles to break up, which may decrease discomfort
  • Bean-O is an enzyme supplement that helps break down carbohydrates and may help if your gas is caused by foods such as beans and broccoli
  • A lactase supplement (LactAid) will help gas caused by lactose intolerance

Of course, excessive intestinal gas may also be a sign of a more serious problem.  If the above steps don’t help, be sure to come and see us at the Student Health Center.

Angela Walker, Med IV (Ohio State College of Medicine)

John A. Vaughn, MD (Ohio State Student Health Services)

82 thoughts on “Help! I can’t stop farting!

  1. Is there a way to make farts less stinky? I hate making a stink. I’ve been dreaming of peppermint smelling farts. I wish someone would invent a gas pill that would provide a peppermint likes stink. It would be so much better than smelling like poops in the bathroom.
    I fart the most either when I’m around and people exercising. It my yoga class it seems the most rememberable. Our yoga master has us bending, squatting, or stretching or opening our hips with pigeon stretches my farts are loud, profound, stinky and embarrassing. I try my best to hold my but cheeks muffle my farts, but they still seem quite loud and always making a stink.
    P.S. This blog is so funny somebody should write a short story on farting and include it! Lol

    • It’s most likely your diet . Dairy being one can make your farts stink , anyone that drinks protein shakes knows what I’m talking about .milk ,cheese eggs .also gassy foods like beans and broccoli are a factor .best advice is to write down what u eat and try to eliminate or cut down on the foods that make up fart .I workout myself 4 times a week and ever since drinking rotten shake my farts have increased and smell ,I also eat broccoli and beans and eggs ,it is what it is and don’t plan on changing my diet as these foods are important in my diet working out ,then again I have a home gym so I don’t care, I’ve learned to walk away when I fart in public and the faces people make are halirious

  2. I can’t breathe anymore, this is killing me, because all I read applies to me. I farted like 10 or 15 times during reading this and probably another 10 times writing this. I fart over 50 times a day easy, it smells like dead people, even worse, it smells so extremly intense that it sometimes burns away my ass and nose hair, not kidding. Sometimes I fart that much, that I started believing that I fart out what I inhale through my lungs and not exhale anything. I eat exactly the same as everyone else eats in this household, but still I am the one that farts at least twice every 10 minutes. I fart so much that I am able to feel when a fart comes 2 minutes before it comes, I am even able to control if it makes a sound or not… and as already mentioned its extremely heavy stuff, like it smells beyond evil. I was eating for a long time a “certain” way with “certain” foods, but it never made a difference, i still kept farting. Can someone help me, what am I supposed to do? My mum just tells me its from eating to fast or not taking a walk after, but even if I do all she tells me, I fart like a machine gun… help… please…

  3. I have been getting this problem since i was 14 ..and now i am 19.I have checked out my diet ..still there’s the problem.Now the problem is i m getting embarrassed becoz of this and getting frustruated all the time.I can’t concentrate on my work.Psychologically its giving me a great problem.And i am feeling helpless becoz i can’t say this problem to others ..if i say also, other will say its normal.Plz help me what can i do to enjoy my life without fart.

    • Hey don’t feel bad ,many people go through the same thing but don’t admit it , try eating a cleaner diet and drink lots of water ,eliminate soda,beans,broccoli,and dairy or have very lil .hopefully that will help ,if u exercise that will help us sweat and take out toxins in body ,and so are you using the bathroom everyday? Cause the longer ppl hold it in the more toxic it is. I hope things get better or u can hook up with a guy that’s not judgemental towards you (like me) best of luck namor2385@aol.com

    • I actually found the solution to my problem, others should try this too! It was actually so simple, so I read somewhere here that milk products could be the cause of my problem, so I said to myself lets eat one week without milk products. So absolutely nothing, no cheese, no yogurt, no chocklate nothing that contains milk in any form and guess what: On my first day of this experiment, I didnt fart at all, as soon as I stopped eating milk products, my extreme farting stopped as well. Since then I don’t have any problems 🙂 try it!

      • I agree ,I haven’t stopped drinking milk and dairy products ,but stopped taking protein shakes that I had daily and it’s a lot better then what it was ,not as funky and definitely reduced a lot of gas .stopping dairy products completely will probably solve that issue but living a normal life and farting every once in a while is normal just listen to your body

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