Why are my farts so stinky?

Why do I fart so much?

Why am I constantly farting!?

Dear Friend, these are questions that have been asked since the dawn of time. Think about it: Everyone farts. And they always have. So rejoice my Friend! You are not alone.

We are one. In the Fart.

Feel better about your constant farting?

Good, because we want to answer some of those questions that have, up until now, been pretty much brushed under the rug or put in the category of “not appropriate” to talk about. Because, low and behold, there are answers to those questions and ways that we can approach our diet, our physicality, and even what we wear that can help assist us in “being kind to our neighbor” and not fumigating an entire elevator of unsuspecting co-workers. Or how about fogging out fellow passengers on a airplane?! Let’s be fair…they paid a lot of money to breath those recycled butt fumes!!

So if we all fart, why should we even care if we experience constant farting? Why don’t we just let it rip and celebrate our shared humanity!? We’ll tell you why: It’s because we all know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a stranger’s S.B.D.

Not. Cool.

Is this because it comes from an unknown source? Or perhaps it’s just because our gag reflex has become lonely and wants to co-dependently be a part of our day. Who knows?

Either way, we all can appreciate that subjecting strangers (and certain loved ones) to the chemical output of our gut flora is not the best way to support a respectful civilized society.

With this end in mind, we would like to offer you some useful tips that will support your digestion and other ways to help you reduce constant farting and those stressful and clenched moments in your life.

We will be breaking down our approach into 3 distinct areas:

  • Supporting Healthy Intestinal Flora
  • Activating Muscle Tone and Releasing Pelvic Tension
  • Masking Odor

Supporting Your Healthy Intestinal Flora

How do you cure gas attacks and constant farting caused by eating things like beans, cabbage, and broccoli? Not to sound sarcastic, but the answer is to start by eating more beans, cabbage and broccoli on a consistent basis! You may be asking, “Why the heck would I eat MORE of the stuff that makes me fart so badly!?”

The answer lies in science, which is just now scratching the surface of how broad-reaching the importance of our intestinal flora is to our overall health. Science is the first place we need to look when it comes to addressing issues of flatulence. And what it reveals is that the key to a healthy digestive system is having a flourishing and diverse microbe population. This population is responsible for HUGE swaths of actions that keep us healthy – like breaking down the food we eat through a fermentation process that unlocks the nutrients within the food and thereby makes it bioavailable for our bodies to absorb. There are many ways we need to utilize these nutrients in order to keep all the systems in our body functioning in tip-top shape.

All of those hard-working microbes also prevent viruses and other “bad guys” from making us get sick. Researchers have even linked a healthy gut population to lower instances of depression! But as they say, you can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs, and when we say “crack a few eggs” we mean stinky, hard-boiled-egg-smelling-farts, my friend.

This is why the first step in becoming one with your constant farting is to love your gut bacteria, and in turn, learning to appreciate the gas byproduct which they produce!

Unfortunately, this is in contrast to what “the old guard” recommends to people. Before the immense importance of and specific behavior patterns of gut flora began being researched in more detail, the old paradigm was obsessed with treating the “symptom”. Someone would visit their doctor and say “I fart too much! How do I stop farting, Doc?” And the doctor would recommend that the patient remove or restrict sources of fiber from their diet. The problem is that while this would achieve a brief short-term goal of mitigating constant farting, it also set up a long-term problem of creating a micro biodome that was not nearly as diverse and healthy as it needed to be.

With that gap in the intestinal flora population, all sorts of more profound problems occur, such as constipation, malnutrition, disease, and even cancer. It is a negative chain effect that is not worth having for a few less farts. A healthy person should be farting nearly 20 times a dayIn our book, 20 farts/day does not amount to “constant farting”.

Now, it’s important to note that constant farting caused by painful bloating is different than having a healthy amount of flatulence. (Here’s a spoiler: there is actually not an increase in gas production involved!)

In a study that compared patients who did not experience painful bloating and ones who suffered from such symptoms, it was discovered that the same amount of gas was being produced in both subject groups. What was different is that the group that experienced the painful bloating was suffering from abnormal gas transit. This is why it is a completely futile and seriously detrimental health practice to remove high fiber foods from your diet in order to avoid “making more gas”. What these patients were suffering from was not an increase and excess in gas production, but rather, an abnormal or inconsistent gut reflex pattern that contributed to gas retention and delayed gas transit.

These pockets of trapped gas, which would normally flow through the intestines and be released in a painless way were instead growing in volume and pressing against the lining of the intestines and activating pain receptors, thereby making one feel bloated and uncomfortable.

The two best things we can do to support a healthy gas transit in our body is a diet rich in pre-biotic foods, plant fiber, and water AND introducing a diverse amount of good bacteria into our digestive system on a daily basis. This means eating prebiotic-rich fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, plain yogurt, and kefir – while also taking a high quality probiotic daily. Obviously, eating fermented foods on a daily basis is neither realistic nor palatable for most folks.  And while taking a probiotic supplement is a great start for a healthy digestive system, the reality is that not all probiotic supplements are created equal. More importantly, without a healthy amount of prebiotics to begin with, probiotics can only do so much.

As mentioned earlier, medical science is just now beginning to unearth new discoveries of digestive health – one being the vital role of prebiotics. Another more recent discovery is just how rich in prebiotics the skin of the Kiwi fruit is. One company in particular, New Zealand-based Xtend Life, has developed a high-end, proprietary supplement fittingly called Kiwi-Klenz, which contains a potent Kiwi extract rich in digestive enzymes, prebiotics, soluble fiber and phenolics – the latter being instrumental in suppressing the growth of bad bacteria. This product has been getting rave reviews in helping treat IBS, painful bloating, smelly gas and more. See their product information here or read more about the benefits of kiwi for digestion.

Kiwi Klenz for Digestion and Constant Farting

Needless to say, the benefits of these bacteria go beyond their powerful task of converting food that our body normally cannot digest into energy and nutrients our body depends on, but their activity promotes the healthy transit of gas out of our body by stimulating our intestinal peristalsis.

Activating Muscle Tone and Releasing Pelvic Tension

Puborectalis diagramThe importance of your core muscles, proper peristalsis, and reducing pelvic tension in order to best handle your flatulence is invaluable, but often looked over. The muscles responsible for controlling and supporting the colon are the Puborectalis and the Levator ani pictured here.

They work in tandem to both retain fecal matter and gas within the colon, and to allow the colon to expel that same gas and fecal matter. The Puborectalis serves as a “sling” that crimps the rectum and adjust its angle in order to prevent leakage. Having all of your pelvic floor muscle in good “shape” and with proper tone can help facilitate a level of control when it comes to when and where you release your farts. But it is important to remember that “holding in” your farts as a rule, is never a good idea. It can cause muscle tension, bloating, and set up unhealthy patterns. But having the proper amount of muscular support and control can allow you a grace window, whereby you can withhold from passing pass just long enough until you are able to reach a more private or well ventilated area. The best way to improve the tone of these pelvic floor muscles is to practice regular Kegel exercises.An easy way to approach kegel exercises, is to practice stoping and starting your urine streem mid-pee. Once you have familiarize what that type of muscle activation feels like the you can practice them pretty much anywhere while doing anything. The key is to make sure that your larger muscle groups don’t try to get in on the action, like you glutes upper thighs, and abdominals. It is a pretty subtle feeling, and you also want to be sure not to over do your kegel exercises, and possible straining or causing your pelvic floor to become fatigued.

Proper peristalsis, is vital for a healthy digestive system. But how does it help us form not dropping a bomb at the office sales meeting? Throughout the night, the body takes advantage of its sedentary and prone position to “get to work” in moving the food waste from the day before and collecting it at the base of the colon in order to best evacuate it in the morning hours. During this process air bubble trapped in between and throughout this fecal matter is also pushed by the action of peristalsis toward the rectum. If you peristalsis is weak and not as effective as it could be then, not only do other issues arise regarding the health of your bowel movements, but you are more likely to suffer from uncomfortable bloating and undesired bouts of farting throughout the day. Things that help promote healthy peristalsis are Fiber, Probiotics, and having consistent average sized meals.

A study at the University of Texas found that the act of eating a normal meal triggers a response in the body called peristaltic pushdown. This response signals to the colon to start making room and begin clearing out its remaining contents. This contrasts to what they discovered occurs when the subject only ate a numerous amount of small meals, or snacks, through the day, the peristaltic pushdown was not triggered. So, three squares meals looks like the way to go.

Other clinical research has revealed the importance of a healthy gut flora population, or ‘good’ bacteria when it comes to peristalsis. I have already expounded upon the importance of your gut flora for a lot of other reason – but the fact that they contribute to the effectiveness of your intestinal muscular rhythm secures their position as our number one allies. These bacteria which can be supplemented with the use of probiotics work as tireless de-constructors which break down your food particles into forms that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and utilize in the body. The more these particles are broken down the more “fluid” the contents of your digestive system become and the more easily it can be manipulated by peristalsis. Eating fermented foods like, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are excellent sources of good bacteria, but if you have trouble working those thing into your diet daily, it may be a good idea to take a high-quality probiotic daily.

Now that your taking a high quality probiotic, you want to be sure to be feeding all those little good guys something they really like and will keep them alive and flourishing. What do good bacteria love to eat? PLANTS. In all seriousness the most beneficial bacterium, the only that break down our food into same molecular chains and then piece together the most beneficial peptides, proteins and enzymes that our bodies need to not only function but to truly thrive, are fueled by fibrous foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. You may be thinking, BEANS! I can’t eat beans! I’ll never stop farting! – NOT TRUE. Read this to understand why beans make you constantly fart and how to eat them not feel like a hot air balloon.

The more often you feed your “Good Gut Guys” the food they like the more plentiful they will become and the more kind they will be to you. So the next time you sit down to a roasted veggie plate or a Greek Kale salad just sing Brian Adam’s hit Song from 1991

Everything I Do…I Dooo It For Youuuuu (gut bacteriaaaaa)

On the days that you may not be able to take one for the team and eat all of the fruits and veggies you should, it would be advised to take a high quality prebiotic and probiotic. To learn even more about supporting your digestion it is important to go into detail about how nutrition, supplementation, and certain medicine can ease your gassy woes.

Anxiety, stress, and sitting for long periods all contribute to an unhealthy amount of pelvic tension. Many people are so accustom to having chronic pelvic tension that they are not even aware of source of the pain and discomfort that they endure on a daily basis. Pelvic tension can cause you to become “backed up” and bloated, and also hinder the rhythm of your peristalsis which is while we highly recommend implementing a physical practice that can help you become aware of points of tension and be able to mindfully release them and allow the other muscles (that were usually slacking because the “tense” ones were doing all the work) to work in tandem and create a more even and cohesive support system. Things like, myofacial release clinical and self-treatment, kundalini yoga, yin yoga, restorative yoga, Feldenkrais method, and even a consistent seated meditation practice can all greatly improve your ability to create release and expansion in your pelvic floor and core muscles while also activating engaged and balanced support.

Truly, the best way to avoid embarrassing moments in cramped public environment is to give yourself the time, first thing in the morning, to go through a series of movements that alternate between activating and relaxing your core muscles in order to release the gas that has collected in your colon over the course of the night. Let those farts OUT, my friend! There are two ways for gas to leave your digestive system – through your butt hole, or into your bloodstream via absorption from your intestinal tract – trust me, out the butt hole is the way to go. On a side note, People often think burps come from intestinal gas, but that actually isn’t the case. Burps are ingested air that has gotten trapped in the esophagus or stomach, usually caused by eating too fast, or carbonated beverages.

Masking Odor

Otherwise known as “Plan B”, these solutions are perfect for those dreaded, confined situations, like airplanes, classrooms, boardrooms, elevators, busses, trains and/or cars. These things are impossible to avoid, so having a precautionary provision in place can make all the difference in your frame of mind, not to mention the comfort of those around you.

Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few ingenious innovations that have been designed to help remove, filter, or disguise your constant farting stinkiness! Everything from personal air freshener pens to disposable pads that you place in your underwear. Perhaps the best place to start is in the bathroom.

What exactly is it that makes our farts or bowel movement fill up a small room with stench so quickly? The bad smell is actually a combination of compounds called volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), namely: hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan (methanethiol), dimethyl sulfide, and dimethyl disulfide, these gasses are all byproduct of the bacterial breakdown of the food within of intestinal track. And the reason that these gasses seem to fill a room, like a bomb, is due to the built up pressure within the digestive system pushing out the gasses at a higher velocity into the lower pressure environment of the outside world, aka the bathroom.

A classic “fart cover-up” trick is the ole’ “light a match” trick. Does this work? And if so how does it do it? First of all, lighting a match to “burn off” fart gasses is a misconception. But what burning a match does do is create its own gas called sulfur dioxide. This gas results from the chemical reaction that takes place when the sulfur on the match is ignited. How is that happening? Well the match is also coated with red phosphorus which is very volatile and ignites easily in reaction to the heat generated by the friction of rubbing the match head against a surface (these are old school “light anywhere
matches” that we are describing and not the safety matches that are now more widely sold and used). Safety matches keep the red phosphorus and the sulfur and potassium chloride separate (one on the strip and the other two on a match head). Our nasal receptors defer to the smell of sulfur dioxide whenever it is present in the air we are smelling, so even though hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, and dimethyl disulfide are all still present, our brains simply choose not to process the smell of them whenever there is sulfur dioxide present.

But let’s be honest, how feasible is it to sit there at your work desk and light up matches all day? Or in an elevator? Or on an airplane? Nope, not very realistic.

So what can you do?

A great place to start your investigation is referring to the techniques used by high grade industrial quality filters used to remove odors and impurities from commercial buildings and water systems: Activated Carbon. Almost all of these elaborate systems utilize Activated Carbon (sometimes referred to as Activated Charcoal) in order to filter and “trap” noxious organic chemicals. And what is a fart? A collection of noxious organic chemicals.

The way Activated Carbon works is that it has been treated with oxygen which opens up millions of tiny pores through out the Carbon molecular structure. These tiny pores function much like a velcro for atoms- as compounds attempt to pass through the activated carbon they become “snagged” on these tiny pores and lodge into place with in the Carbon structure. This is exactly the principle behind products like FLAT-D which can be fastened to your underpants to act as a filter for the constant farting spewing from your butt.

The science is sound, but the practice is imperative. For example, if you had a 2-feet wide pipe and simply placed a filter on the end without properly securing it, the pressure of the water flowing out of the pipe is simply going to divert around the filter. This is why filters are always securely held in place in order to force the water or air to pass through the Carbon Filter. It is going to be wise to take a similar approach with your FLAT-D or other Activated Carbon Flatulence Filter.

The best position to be in, in order to make sure that the gas is forced to pass through the filter is seated and with a straight back, ensure optimal contact between the filter and your rear. Also, attempting to release the gas in slow segmented increments (remember when we talked about the importance of the tone and strength of your pelvic floor muscles?) will allow the gas’ molecules the time it needs to “latch” onto the carbon, or charcoal. If you blow out a big honker all at once, most of it is going to flow past the filter as a result of all of that excess pressure. This technique is great for the office or on a plane – but what about when you are standing in the elevator?

This is when your underwear choice is critical. Boxers are going to be a no go. You are going to want to attach the filter to snugly fitting underwear. Think: You are attempting to secure a filter to the end of a pipe. The same principle applies when it comes to the force and amount of gas you release incrementally. The best option may be to wear underwear that is actually made with an activated carbon cloth, such as the one-and-only Shreddies.

This insures that the gas is less likely to leak out around the side of the activated carbon pad. Want to double down on your flatulence protection? Wear a pair of shreddies along with an activated carbon filter. This will also help insure that your activated carbon cloth underwear last longer and remain effective at absorbing odors.

Another tip is to store your Activated carbon pads or underwear in an airtight container so they won’t inadvertently absorb odors in your drawer, cabinet, or closet. You will want to save all of those available carbon pores for your rank farts to lock onto. In all seriousness, farts are really nothing to be ashamed of, so taking a practical approach to dealing with them in public situations is something we hope you allow yourself to feel empowered by.

Let’s say you find yourself standing in the elevator and needing to release gas, the ultimate ‘masking odor” combo would be to have on a pair of shreddies (perhaps with an activated carbon pad as well) and a small portable pen sized air freshener ready to go in your pocket or bag! You can discreetly slip out the air freshener, and then place your hand behind your back in a casual and relaxed way, and then give a quick *spritz* while your release gas. A majority, if not all of of the gas should become trapped in the activated carbon pad and fabric, and any residual will be masked by the fragrance of the air freshener.

Talk about science.