science

Medically Reviewed

Feeling gassy? We did the research to find out why

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Passing gas is a normal part of our life and a sign of a healthy digestive system. But why do we sometimes feel too gassy? Read on to learn more.

What is flatulence?

If you’re reading this article, you probably have a general idea about what flatulence is. We’ve all farted. Flatulence is the medical term for farting, describing the release of gas from your digestive system. Gas gathers in your digestive system and goes out through your anus.

Also known as farting, passing wind, or having gas. It happens when gas collects inside the digestive system and is a normal process. This gas typically consists of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide – and sometimes methane.

People tend to fart between 13 and 21 times per day. This is all well and good. In some cases, you may end up experiencing flatulence more often; this can be caused by eating certain foods or by other underlying conditions. Excessive flatulence can cause digestive discomfort and affect your day-to-day life.

Why passing gas is normal

Make no mistake: Passing gas is a normal part of your body’s digestive process. Your body needs to get rid of excess gas to be able to function. Burping and farting both achieve this purpose. If gas gets trapped in your system, you may start to experience gas-related pain.

How much gas is too much?

If you’re farting more than 25 times per day, or if your gas is causing pain and discomfort, you may have too much gas. In such situations it can be advisable to speak with a medical professional about the best course to take.

Why am I gassy in the morning?

Being gassy in the morning – sometimes called “morning bloating” – is a somewhat common experience with a number of potential causes. If you eat a really big meal right before you go to bed, it’s likely that you’ll wake up with excess gas.

Why am I gassy at night?

There’s nothing inherently unusual about passing gas at night. However, there are some lifestyle choices that can contribute to excessive nighttime gassiness. You may experience more gas than usual if you eat close to when you’re going to bed. Indeed, lying down right after eating can contribute to indigestion. It’s also possible that you’ve been gassy throughout the day and you’re naturally becoming more aware of your body as you start to rest for the night.

Reasons why you might be too gassy

There are a number of factors that contribute to feeling too gassy. Some include:

  • Swallowing air when eating too quickly
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Drinking too many carbonated beverages (we’re looking at you, soda)
  • Eating too many sodium-rich foods
  • Not getting enough water
  • Consuming gas-causing foods (beans, cabbage, broccoli, etc.)

We’ll explore some other causes below.

Gas and pregnancy

Many people experiencing pregnancy report increased feelings of gassiness. This study suggests that gassiness in pregnancy may be caused by increasing levels of progesterone and estradiol. These hormonal changes can alter gastrointestinal function and lead to unpleasant symptoms, including excess gassiness.

Gas and bloating

Bloating is characterized by the feeling of having a full stomach. It’s often uncomfortable, and some who experience bloating report the inability to relieve the feeling by farting or burping. While the connection between gas and bloating requires more research, it is clear that bloating can be addressed through some lifestyle adjustments and dietary alterations.

What does it mean to have smelly gas?

Sometimes your gas can be particularly smelly – and it turns out that there are several potential causes of that. A common cause of foul-smelling gas is the existence of a food sensitivity, such as lactose intolerance. You may also experience smelly gas if you’re experiencing indigestion, if your body has insufficient digestive enzymes, or if you’ve had a sudden increase in fiber intake. Consuming more fiber-rich foods – like beans – can result in smelly gas. Smelly gas may also be a sign of an imbalance in the microbiome. If you’re concerned that your smelly gas is a sign of a larger problem, you might want to consult a medical professional.

Remedies to help be less gassy

If you’re interested in becoming a little less gassy, there are some helpful remedies available:

  • Taking digestive enzyme supplements – including those offered by Care/of – can help you digest foods properly.
  • Care/of’s probiotics and prebiotics can help support gut health, which can in turn provide relief from bloating and discomfort.
  • Ginger supplements can support digestive health and reduce gas.
  • Peppermint oil or tea can have soothing effects on the digestive system.
  • The FODMAP diet is designed to restrict foods that cause gas or flatulence. Talk to a doctor about trying it out.
  • Activated charcoal has been shown to reduce gas.

When to speak to a healthcare professional

If gas problems are persistent and accompanied by other symptoms, such as digestive discomfort, chronic constipation, unintentional weight loss, and abdominal pain, you should talk to a medical professional. Your doctor can help you set you on a path to healing. Making some adjustments to your diet can also help reduce gas discomfort. To know exactly what to eat, you may want to talk to a registered dietitian.

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