How much farting is normal?

Written by: Dr Aathavan Loganayagam
Published: | Updated: 12/11/2019
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Whether we like it or not, everyone farts and no one is immune from it. In fact on average, we do it anywhere between 3-40 times a day! Silent, stinky or odourless, farting is part of the normal process of your body digesting food. But have you ever wondered just how much flatulence is enough? Leading gastroenterologist Dr Aathavan Loganayagam explains when farting becomes too much.

How much wind is normal to pass a day?

According to the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) every day we pass 400-2000ml of flatus. About 90% of this is made up of five gases; nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane.

On average, we pass wind 15 times a day but the ‘normal’ range is wide. The more flatus you produce, the more often and loudly you will release it.

What can I do if I think I am farting too much?

If you think your farts may be excessive you should try counting every time you break wind, including the smallest ones, for a few days. Keep in mind that farting up to 40 times a day isn’t uncommon.

Does what I eat affect how much I fart?

Diet plays a part as most wind is generated by bacteria-fermenting food residues in the colon. A high-fibre diet, for example, is healthy but also produces a lot of flatus.

Which foods in particular can cause wind?

Foods that are high in fibre will give your gut microflora a big boost and create a generous gas production. These include:

  • Beans
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts

Beans have a notorious reputation as the old saying goes: “beans, beans are good for the heart, the more you eat, the more you…”

How can I improve my excess wind?

You can still maintain a healthy high-fibre diet and avoid the worst dietary-gas offenders listed above. Also be wary of turnips, leeks and fennels, sunflower and poppy seeds. Researching the low FODMAP diet, which is used in the management of irritable bowel syndrome and more recently endometriosis, is a good place to start.

Artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol can cause a problem as they are fermented by gut bacteria and not digested in the small intestine. This is also the same with lactose in lactose intolerant people, who experience bloating, cramping and diarrhoea when they eat lactose.

REad more on the low FODMAP diet

Do not hesitate to visit Dr Loganayagam if you are experiencing excessive gas and alongside other troubling symptoms.

By Dr Aathavan Loganayagam

Dr Aathavan Loganayagam trained in medicine at Guy’s, King's and St. Thomas’ medical schools. He then underwent rigorous structured specialty training in gastroenterology and general internal medicine in the well respected South London training programme.

He then spent two years during postgraduate training as a research and endoscopy fellow at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, London. His research was in the fields of pharmacogenetics, inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal malignancy. He has received awards and grants for outstanding research work, including the prestigious NHS Innovation London Award.

Dr Loganayagam has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals on all aspects of gastroenterology. He is actively involved in clinical research. He has particular local expertise in the practice of personalised medicine and the utilisation of novel therapeutic agents in the treatment of complex inflammatory bowel disease. He is currently the lead clinician for endoscopy at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich.

Diagnostic and advanced therapeutic endoscopy remains a major part of his clinical expertise, including assessment and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, strictures, polyps and cancers.

Dr Loganayagam is an approachable doctor who takes pride in his communication skills with patients. He is keen to ensure that patients are fully informed and involved in all aspects of their care.

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