How many times should you fart in a day?

Mate, it’s totally natural (Credits: Shutterstock / Niran Phonruang)

It might not be the easiest question to ask a doctor or a health professional, but a lot of people are wondering how many times it’s ‘normal’ to let one rip each day.

In fact, if you type the words ‘how many times should you fart in a day’ into Google, you’ll get served with over 36 million results.

Studies show questions like this (along with ‘is it normal to wee every hour’) are things Brits are much more likely to ask the computer than their doctor.

The good news is that breaking wind is totally, completely and entirely normal. The bad news is that even the experts can’t agree on how often you should be doing it.

The NHS, says it means breaking wind roughly 15 times a day, but according to digestive health charity Guts UK, anything up to 40 is healthy.

‘Frequency isn’t so important,’ explains Dr Rehan Haidry, consultant gastroenterologist at The London Clinic.

Most Brits are too embarrassed to ask these questions (Getty Images)

‘But if it is very smelly and comes with bloating and pain in the tummy, it’s concerning.’

Even in healthy people, foods such as onions, garlic and beans generate a lot of gas, as do carbonated drinks. But some suffer more than others, and feel pain, bloating and a change in bowel habits.

‘The most common cause of excess flatulence is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel, called SIBO,’ says Dr Haidry.

These bacteria release gases as they react with compounds in foods. And because the small bowel is small and narrow, the gas gets squeezed out.

‘It often results in bloating and pain, too.’

The condition, diagnosed using either a food diary or breath test, is considered to be a type of irritable bowel syndrome. But GP Sasha Green warns: ‘If there are multiple symptoms, more serious problems such as lactose intolerance, coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel conditions and bowel cancer may be to blame.’

The study of flatology

It’s the sulphur in farts that makes them smell (Shutterstock / Diane Diederich)

The study of farting is knows as flatology, and it’s concerned with the causes and how to reduce flatulence in people having trouble with excess gas.

The purpose of farting is to release the gas your body naturally produces through eating, chewing, and other functions.

Although some of the gas will be absorbed into the body, the rest of it has to go somewhere, so it’s expelled through the anus.

You might experienced increased flatulence when you’re menstruating, when you’ve eaten certain foods, or if your intestines are stimulated (this could even be triggered by the muscle movements of something like a cough).

Most have some sort of smell to them, and this can be affected by how well you chew your food.

If undigested food is left in your digestive tract it can make farts smell worse.

The average fart is made up of oxygen, nitrogen, methane, and sulphur. Sulphur is the worst smelling of these gases, and some people simply make more naturally, which is why theirs smell worse.

The reason why you might not have an issue with your own farts but be disgusting with the smell of others’ is apparently evolutionary.

Before we all wore trousers and had much better health, disease could be spread by people passing gas.

So, we learned to avoid other people’s to help avoid disease.

If you’re concerned, speak to your doctor (Shutterstock / PR Image Factory)

Everybody’s smell different due to our own personal mix of gut bacteria, so you can determine whether it’s yours from smell alone.

As with any health related issue, if you’re worried that the frequency of your flatulence has changed, or they smell much worse than usual, you should visit your doctor.

It could be a sign of an underlying issue, so it’s best to get it checked out.

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