Yes, farts can be funny, but if you have excessive flatulence, you can be dealing with a painful bloated feeling, socially awkward noises, and even more socially awkward smells. So here’s our Top 10 List for Fighting Farts!
1 – Slow Down When You Eat. Whenever you eat or drink, a little bit of air goes down with every swallow. Most of that air exits through the attic in the form of a burp, but some might get into the digestive tract and come out through the cellar as a fart. To reduce incidental air intake, eat and drink slowly and chew your food thoroughly.
2 – Air In Equals Air Out. Even if you don’t gulp mouthfuls of air, it can sneak into your digestive system via foods and beverages. Carbonated (bubbly) drinks are the biggest fart culprits, but you can get the same effect from fluffy souffles, airy cakes and donuts, and even a well-whipped milk shake.
3 – Stop Smoking. Not only is smoking bad for your lungs and causes smelly breath, smoking causes smelly farts. When you smoke, you swallow air as well as inhale smoke. It would be interesting to have “risk of flatulence” added to cigarette warning labels.
4 – Avoid Sulfur. The hydrogen sulfide that makes farts smell — as well as methylmercaptan — contains sulfur (or sulphur, for those of you who take tea with the Queen). If you eat less sulfur, the fart factory has less raw material to work with. Flatulent foods containing significant amounts of sulfur include eggs, meat, and cauliflower.
5 – It’s True What They Say About Beans. Yes, beans cause flatulence. Beans, lentils, other legumes, and some vegetables contain three sugars — raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose — that we can’t digest. But the breaking wind bacteria in your love to feed on these sugars, creating gas in the process. If you just can’t give up your beans, they won’t produce as much gas if you boil them briefly, let them sit for about an hour in the water, and then finish cookiong them in a fresh pot of water. Cooking them longer may also help avoid farts.
6 – Anti-Gas Medicine. There are off-the-shelf non-prescription pills for farts that contain alpha-galactosidase — an enzyme that breaks down indigestible sugars before they can reach the colon and turn into farts. An Italian study published in 2006 showed that high doses (more than typically recommended) reduced flatulence, but a more normal dose didn’t make a significant difference. But they can have different results with different people so they’re certainly worth a try.
7 – Don’t Sweet Talk Your Farts. Any food or drinks that use high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener can cause flatulence in some people because their small intestines won’t absorb large amounts of fructose. Other sugar alcohols –sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol — can also cause more than the usual amount of farting.
8 – Charcoal Pills. Charcoal (activated carbon) is a well known material for filtering out impurities and smells – -which is why it’s found in fart filtering underwear. Charcoal pills are supposed to absorb the smelly sulfur-based gases in your digestive system before they sneak out as flatulence. Many people are convinced they work, others think they don’t. However there’s nothing dangerous about them, so it can be worth trying if it solves or reduced farting awkwardness.
9 – Fart Filtering Underwear. Dr. Michael Levitt, a Minneapolis researcher famous for his flatulence research, reported that fart filtering underwear made with an activated carbon fiber absorbed nearly all the sulfur-containing gases; and pads worn inside underwear, 55% to 77%. User testimonials seem to reflect that success.
10 – Digestive Balance. The bacteria in the intestines is it’s own ecosystem. Too little or too many of certain kinds of bacteria can produce excessive flatulence. If there is too little bacteria (a common occurrence after taking antibiotics) probiotics can raise the bacteria level and lower the fart level. Occasionally, the problem can be too much bacteria — this is generally diagnosed by a physician.
Bonus Tip – Start Walking. Some studies and anecdotal evidence show that gentle exercise can help relieve gas pressure. It’s not exactly reducing the amount of gas you produce, but if you’re suffering from bloating or gas pain, head outdoors, release the pent up flatulence, and let the breeze carry away the evidence. Unless you live alone — then you can stay indoors on the treadmill, or try lying on your back and using a pedalling motion with your legs.