You’re in a staff meeting at work when suddenly it hits you.
We’re not talking about the brilliant idea that’s going to get you the raise you’ve been wanting.
We’re talking about gas. You need to fart.
Do you hold it in? Run to the bathroom? Hope you can fart silently?
Chances are you’re not the only one in the room feeling gassy.
Don’t believe us? Read on to learn more about this natural bodily function.
What causes gas?
“Passing gas is normal,” said Laura Burns, a Marshfield Clinic gastroenterology physician assistant. “If you didn’t pass gas, that would be abnormal.”
Gas and its signature scent are the normal byproduct of bacteria in your gut breaking down food. Some foods that are harder to break down and absorb cause more gas.
Beans, broccoli, cabbage, corn, dairy, fruit and artificial sweeteners are common culprits.
Another common cause of gas is swallowing air. It can happen when you chew gum, eat too quickly or slowly sip on liquids all day.
How much farting is normal?
Most people pass gas 10 to 20 times a day.
If you’re farting a lot (and you don’t have to count), it’s probably because of something you ate or a change in the bacteria in your gut.
Should I worry about having gas?
Farting, even farting more than normal, usually isn’t a problem unless you have other symptoms.
Loose stools, constipation, weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting and frequent belly pain could be signs of lactose or fructose intolerance, celiac disease or small bowel bacterial overgrowth.
Talk to your doctor if you have these symptoms.
What can I do to stop farting so much?
Keep a food diary for a few weeks, Burns said. If you notice you have more gas when you eat certain foods, don’t eat them.
Avoid gum, and don’t eat quickly.
Yogurt with live cultures, probiotics and over-the-counter anti-gas medications also may help.
Why does having gas hurt sometimes?
Being gassy can cause brief gas pains in your belly, but it’s nothing to worry about.
“Pain happens when gas gets trapped in your intestines, where there are lots of turns and curves,” Burns said. “When gas doesn’t move through as easily as it would like to, it causes pain.”
Getting up and moving around will get gas moving and ease the pain.