Got Gas? Here’s Why You’ve Been Farting a Lot Lately
Farting is normal, people!
Farting is normal, people!(Photo: iStock)

Got Gas? Here’s Why You’ve Been Farting a Lot Lately

Got gas? How often have you reached out for a home cure or for an over-the-counter medicine?

But have you ever wondered why this happens?

Fart jokes apart, building of gas in your body is a simple process of the digestive system. And its coming out of the body is an equally normal bodily process. You may not realise it, but you pass gas some 20 times a day!

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How does Gas Build Up?

According to Dr Ashwini Setya, a gastroenterologist with Max Hospitals, “when food enters your body, the acids in your stomach start their work on them. The food then makes its way to the small intestine where they come in contact with bile and enzymes. The byproduct of this process is gas."

This gas is light and makes its way out from the mouth (burping).

"The carbohydrates, sugars, starch and fibre that can’t be digested in the small intestine make their way to the large intestine. Here they come in contact with bacteria that further ferments the food. The byproduct of this process is hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane.”

This gas makes its way out of the anus (farting).

Got Too Much Gas? Here’s Why:

  • Too much stomach acid
  • Slowing down of gut movement can lead to over fermentation of food by gut bacteria leading to gas
  • Foods like kidney beans, beans, carbonated drinks can produce more gas in the body
  • Increase in the number of bacteria in the small intestine, leading to excessive gas
  • Food intolerance, digestive system disorders
  • Talking too much while eating, chewing gum, smoking - all this can contribute to too much gas

The gas in the digestive system has to come out - either through farting or burping. The problem arises when it gets stuck, leading to pain, vomiting, bloating or more serious disorders.

A dog caught mid burp.
A dog caught mid burp.
(Photo: iStock)

No, Gas Cannot Reach Your Head

It’s a myth that your headache is caused by gas, or it has entered your body or your bones. The intestine is nearly 32 feet long. Gas build up in the intestine can pop out of only two places.

“The problem is that in India, probably under the cultural influences, virtually any symptom, be it a headache, chest discomfort or erectile dysfunction, is attributed to ‘gas’. It is a very common and prevalent myth.”
Dr Ashwini Setya

So you end up popping antacids when you never needed them. The result? "Because of lack of understanding or a myth that these medications are for ‘gas’ you end up inadvertently producing more gas in the digestive system as the partially digested or undigested food is fermented by the gut bacteria producing more gas, which leads to flatulence and other commonly occurring symptoms like bloating," adds Dr Setya.

Also Read : You Asked We Answered: Your Questions on Gut Health

How Do You Deal With Gas?

You can take over-the-counter probiotics or eat curd, that is rich in probiotics.

Dr Setya warns against taking too many OTC antacids or self prescribing antacids.

According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, if you have gas issues, avoid foods that build up gas, reduce your intake of carbonated drinks and fried food and high fat and high sugar food items.

Maintain a food diary to map what is causing gas build up.

If the problem persists, visit a doctor.

Also Read : Shall I Stop Using Ranitidine? FAQs About the Popular Antacid

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