While it might seem embarrassing, gas is a normal part of everyday life. It is natural to fart several times during the day and sometimes at night. I swear I don’t fart at night, but I might have recently been woken up to be told that I farted in the middle of the night. How do you know if it’s just normal gas or if it’s a health warning sign? What are the reasons for farts?
If you have a fluff sneak out here and there, then that is totally normal. You know those sneaky farts that are silent with no smell. Those farts are cool. They are a sign of a healthy body doing its job. But if you are experiencing the zipper the pillow ripper quite often or if you are frequently having really stinky, smelly farts then it is time to evaluate your gas situation.
What Can Gas Be a Warning Sign of? 6 Unhealthy Reasons for Farts
1 – Unhealthy Gut Microbiome
Do you frequently have rumblies in your tumblies and excessive gas? It could be a sign that your gut health is out of balance. In a healthy microbiome, you should have good bacteria that breaks down (or technically ferments) the fiber and foods so your body can use the nutrients. You might have gas from eating lots of fiber, but it won’t be bad if you have a healthy microbiome.
If you have unhealthy bacteria that’s fermenting that food and creating a by-product that your body can’t use, then your body is going to get it out. And then it will really smell! That’s your body doing its job to keep you safe by getting rid of anything that doesn’t belong there. If it doesn’t recognize something, then it gets it out. Healthy, whole foods should not cause this problem, even foods like broccoli and kale that are infamous for being smelly. Don’t stop eating those because they are full of healthy nutrients!
2 – Eating too Many Processed Foods and/or Sugar
Processed foods are one of the common, unhealthy reasons for farts. When I was in college, I didn’t always eat well. I would go out with my friends and we would eat, drink and be merry. The next morning the repercussions would include some very stinky gas. That’s because I ate and drank some things that were highly processed and ones that contained lots of processed sugars. These processed foods aren’t useful without the good nutrients of whole foods, and your body needs to get rid of them.
3 – Your Hormones are Wacky
Your hormones are the messengers throughout your body and hormonal changes can manifest into excess gas. Yes! Hormones can even be one of the reasons for farts! Women who are going through menopause or having other hormonal concerns often experience this. The best way to find out how your hormones are doing is to get your hormones fully tested by a proficient provider.
4 – Food Allergies and Inflammatory Foods are Causing Trouble
Food allergies and inflammatory foods can wreak havoc on your gut, which can lead to extra gas. Some people don’t have the enzymes to break down certain foods while others have an IgG allergy to many foods that they don’t know about because they have a delayed reaction. These allergies can cause a lot of inflammation and can leave you with bloating and gas. Left unchecked this can lead to even more serious conditions down the road like cancer, autoimmune disease and heart disease.
There are some common foods that are inflammatory to everyone. They include wheat, dairy, and soy! You will find these foods on a lot of ingredient lists. These can cause inflammation which leads to a lot of swelling, and water being sent to your gut. It’s not good for your stomach and can lead to difficulty moving things through the gastrointestinal tract which brings us to our next one.
5 – You Aren’t Pooping Regularly
If your plumbing is backed up it can lead to more gas because there are bacteria in poop and if you are backed up, it’s leading to more break down which leads to more gas. You should be pooping regularly and by regularly, we are talking 2-3 times per day. Your poop can tell you a lot about your gut health so pay close attention to color, shape, and more to ensure you have a healthy gut. If you don’t know what to look for check out our article on poop: What’s #2 Telling You?
6 – It Can Be A Sign of Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is on the rise with approximately 100,000 new cases every year. While it is rare considering everyone has gas, excessive gas can be a sign of colon cancer. Don’t ignore the signs of uncomfortable gas and talk to your doctor if you have a concern.
Everybody Farts but Let’s Talk About Gas and Health Warning Signs
If you have excessive or very stinky gas, it’s important to figure out why. It could be something very easy to rectify. That will reduce how often you get woken up in the middle of the night for farting in bed! Some of our favorite ways to reduce gas:
- Cut out processed foods and sugars
- Make sure you exercise to keep things moving
- Magnesium can help with constipation too
- Avoid inflammatory foods
- Avoid carbonated beverages
- Slow down when eating
- Make sure your diet is full of good healthy, whole foods including the smelly ones
Other times it can take a little digging to get to the bottom of your stomach distress. If you are in pain or have noticed other stomach issues, don’t be afraid to bring up your gas to your doctor. Trust me we have heard it all, and are here to help you get to the bottom of your health concerns. We will recommend proper testing to help you find out how your body is functioning. Gas isn’t anything to be embarrassed about, but it could be a health warning sign.
Written by Dr. Mitch Sutton