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Reducing Flatulence (Farting)

by Ron Kurtus (updated 6 April 2012)

Flatulence is passing intestinal gas, usually along with a noise and odor. It can be embarrassing. Flatulence is also commonly called farting.

It is caused by improper or incomplete digestion of certain foods. Beans, lentils and cabbage are some of the vegetables that cause excessive gas and odors. Digestive enzymes, especially those specifically made to reduce flatulence, is the most common remedy for excessive gas.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions. Health Disclaimer

What flatulence is

Flatulence is the passing of intestinal gas through the anus. It is often accompanied with a distinctive noise. The intestinal gas usually has an unpleasant odor. Slang or vulgar expressions for flatulence include farting, passing gas, passing wind and cutting the cheese.

Because of its unpleasant odor and associated noise, passing gas can be an embarrassment when done among other people. Often a person will say, "Excuse me," if he or she accidentally farted.

A study was made by a microbiologist in Canberra, Australia whether flatulence can contaminate food. He found that although fart does contain bacteria, it is not a harmful type. Also, most of the bacteria is filtered by the person's clothing, so it is highly unlikely that it would contaminate nearby food.

Intestinal gas contains methane and hydrogen and can actually be ignited.

Causes of intestinal gas

The causes of flatulence include improper digestion and eating certain foods that produce gas when digested.

Older people do not digest well

Older people often do not digest their food as well as younger people, and thus some have problems with excessive flatulence. That is where the expression "old fart" came about. Digestive problems, gulping down food and improperly chewing food can result in farting.

Certain foods difficult to digest

Foods that are difficult to digest such as beans, lentils, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage can cause flatulence in many people. The last three mentioned foods seem to increase the pungency of the farts. People who are lactose intolerant may suffer flatulence after eating dairy products.

Sign of irritable bowel syndrome

Excessive flatulence can be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome or other stomach or digestive ailment.

Remedies to reduce flatulence

Everyone has occasions of flatulence, but you would like to minimize their occurrence. If you find yourself unable to properly digest to certain foods without episodes of farting, you can either try to avoid such foods or take digestive supplements that will reduce the production of intestinal gases.

Enzyme supplements

Improving the digestive process with enzyme supplements can reduce flatulence. Natural digestive aids such as bromelain tablets (from pineapple) or papain tablets (from papaya) can help digestion and reduce farting. Supplements specifically made to reduce or stop flatulence include Beano, Lactaid and Bean-zyme.


Some reports show that yogurt contains a bacteria that is helping in maintaining a digestive balance and thus reduce flatulence. Since some people get gas from milk products, there are non-dairy forms of yogurt that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, which reduces the necessity to pass gas.

Spices and acidic liquids

Adding certain spices to food are also supposed to reduce gas. Cumin, coriander, caraway, turmeric and kelp are said to help. Also drinking small quantities of acidic liquids such as lemon juice with the meal is supposed to help the digestive process and reduce gas.


Flatulence or farting is passing intestinal gas. It usually comes with an embarrassing noise and odor. The need to pass gas is caused by improper or incomplete digestion of certain foods, such as beans, lentils and cabbage. Digestive enzymes, especially those specifically made to reduce gas, is the most common remedy for excessive flatulence.

Seek natural remedies to improve your health

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Gas and Flatulence Prevention Diet - From Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology

The Science of Farting - From Kidz World

General Health Resources


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