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