Flatulence, otherwise known as “farts,” stinks. Farts are supposed to smell bad. That’s why everyone loves fart jokes. But can a fart be too stinky? What happens if your fart smells less like fart and more like—something else? Would that be a problem?
Flatulence is embarrassing and, in some circles, considered uncouth. As much as we may try to deny it, however, everybody farts. A person typically passes gas an average of 14 times a day. The standard day’s worth of gas passed is about 2 liters. Most of what you fart is odor-free. Some of it is smelly, and that’s fine. Flatulence is normal and natural. Most of the time, it’s a sign of a healthy body.
Your digestive system breaks down and processes food. When you chew your food, air mixes in with what you eat. You swallow air as you consume your meals. The air that you swallow builds up in your digestive system. Although your body absorbs some air, the rest comes out as a fart or a burp.
When gas remains inside the body, it can become very uncomfortable. Gas can take up space and push into other organs, causing bloating and pain. This bloating is why you might feel relieved when you finally pass gas. Farting is not only natural, it’s also good for you. Unfortunately, when farts smell, it can be embarrassing. If you’ve ever wondered what makes your flatulence smell, we have 10 reasons why.
10. Foods High in Sulfur
Sulfur is what gives rotten eggs that distinct scent. Foods with high sulfur content can make your farts smell the same way. Some examples of foods high in sulfur are Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbages. You may not be surprised to find out that foods with strong smells like onions, garlic, and cheese also contain sulfur, but you may not realize that beer and wine are also high in sulfur and can also make your farts smell.
Meat products and foods high in protein contain cysteine, a sulfur-containing compound, which can also cause foul-smelling farts. Many bodybuilding protein powders are also high in cysteine.
9. Lactose Intolerance
Some of the best things in life contain dairy products. Ice cream, chocolate milk, and cream all come from milk. Although your taste buds might think they’re heavenly, your digestive system might not feel the same.
Milk and dairy products contain a sugar called lactose. An enzyme called lactase typically breaks lactose down inside the small intestine. If enough lactase isn’t present in the digestive system, lactose can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, and gas. This condition is called lactose intolerance. Most people can digest milk when they’re babies. However, about 65% of people lose some of their ability to digest lactose as an adult. Although some people might be able to handle small amounts of milk, others may not have enough lactase in their intestines to tolerate any amount of milk.
Flatulence that occurs because of lactose intolerance can be especially stinky. Milk (and some cheeses) contains sulfur. When milk is passed through the digestive system without enough lactase to break down its sugars, the sulfur remains and makes farts extra smelly.