Farting (flatulence)

Farting, also known as flatulence or wind, is normal. There are things you can do if you fart a lot or it's smelly. It can be a sign of a health condition.

Check if your farting is normal

Farting is usually nothing to worry about. Everyone farts, some people more than others. The average is 5 to 15 times a day.

What's normal is different for everyone. If you notice a change or it's affecting your life, there are things you can do.

Cutting down on excessive or smelly wind

Do

  • eat smaller meals, more often

  • drink or chew food slowly

  • exercise to improve how your body digests food

  • drink peppermint tea

Don't

  • do not chew gum, smoke, or suck pen tops or hard sweets

  • do not wear loose-fitting dentures

  • do not eat many foods that are difficult to digest and make you fart

Food and drink

Food and drink that can make you fart includes:

  • cabbage
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • brussels sprouts
  • pulses, such as beans or lentils
  • dried fruit, such as raisins or apricots
  • onions
  • food or drinks containing the sweetener sorbitol
  • fizzy drinks or beer

A pharmacist can help with excessive or smelly farts

A pharmacist will tell you if you can buy something to help. This might include, for example, charcoal tablets or pads to absorb smell.

They will also tell you if you should see a GP.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • self-help and pharmacy treatments have not worked and farting is affecting your life
  • you have a stomach ache or bloating that will not go away or comes back
  • you keep getting constipation or diarrhoea
  • you've lost weight without trying
  • there's blood in your poo

What causes excessive or smelly farts

Excessive or smelly farts can happen when you swallow air or eat foods that are hard to digest. It can sometimes be a sign of a health condition.

Do not self-diagnose. See a GP if you're worried about farting.

Symptoms Possible causes
Symptoms Difficulty pooing Possible causes Constipation
Symptoms Bloating, stomach pain with diarrhoea or constipation that comes and goes Possible causes Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Symptoms Indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea and stomach pain Possible causes Coeliac disease
Symptoms Diarrhoea, bloating, stomach pain, feeling sick Possible causes Lactose intolerance

Excessive or smelly farts can also be a side effect of some medicines, including:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen
  • some laxatives
  • antifungal medicines
  • statins

Do not stop or change your medication without speaking to your GP.


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 26 April 2020
Next review due: 26 April 2023