Smelly farts?

Do you have smelly farts or ‘non-purfumed’ delights? That’s the subject of my column in today’s Jersey Evening Post 🙂

Sorry to be rude, but do your farts smell? Do you try to blame the dog?

Jacqui Carrel with today's JEP article
Jacqui Carrel with today’s JEP article

Farting is natural, but your farts can give you a clue as to what’s going on in your gut.

Noxious farts, along with bloating, burping, acid reflux and maybe even bad breath, brain fog and diarrhoea alternating with constipation, are indicative of a fermenting gut problem.

What should happen?

When someone with good gut health eats fibrous vegetables and chews them properly, the starchy and sugary bits get digested and absorbed in the upper part of the gut known as the small intestine.

The fibrous bits, which humans cannot digest, pass down to the large intestine, where ‘friendly’ bacteria feast upon them. They ferment the fibre to produce, amongst other things, short chain fatty acids.

One of these is butyrate, which is used to keep gut cells healthy and help the proper movement of waste through the gut, so you poo easily and regularly.

In addition, the fermentation produces the odourless gases hydrogen and methane. This is normal and it’s better out than in, as trapped gas can cause a lot of discomfort.

What causes smelly farts?

What causes foul-smelling farts, bloating and excessive burping? Sometimes it can be simply because you just ate too much, but generally it is because your gut biome is not properly balanced and is fermenting more than it should.

This is often the result of eating a diet high in processed foods, simple starches and sugars.

One consequence is not all the sugars and starches get digested efficiently so they travel on to the lower gut, where they are feasted on by the less helpful gut microbes, producing smelly gases.

Your sugar-loving bacteria and yeasts may have started crowding out the more helpful microbes meaning that eating ‘healthy’ fibrous foods result in bloating and burping.

Alarmingly, these unhelpful microbes can start colonising the upper gut, where they are not meant to be; subsequent fermentation of dietary sugars produces a number of substances including gases and alcohol, causing burping, fatigue, brain fog and more.

Happily, this is a problem that can be solved! Start by eating partially pre-digested foods (broths, soups and stews) to give the helpful bacteria a chance to build up; at the same time phase out processed foods, especially sugars.

In time, you can successfully add in some of the fibrous foods that gave you problems and enjoy odourless farting.

# # #Jacqui Carrel is a Nutrition Consultant and Coach. You can contact her on jacqui@feelfabnutrition.com.

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