Farting, also known as flatulence or wind, is normal. Everyone farts, some people more than others. Most people fart about 5 to 15 times a day.
Farting is normal
Farting is usually nothing to worry about. What's normal for some people is different for others.
If your farts are smelly or you fart a lot, it can be a sign of a health condition.
If you notice a change or it's affecting your life, there are things you can do.
What you can do to cut down excessive or smelly farts
eat smaller meals, more often
drink or chew food slowly
exercise to improve how your body digests food
drink peppermint tea
do not chew gum, smoke, suck pen tops or hard sweets
do not wear loose-fitting dentures
do not eat too many foods that are difficult to digest and make you fart
Food and drink
Some food and drinks you may need to limit include:
- Brussels sprouts
- pulses, such as beans or lentils
- dried fruit, such as raisins or apricots
- 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 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 keeps coming back
- you keep getting constipation or diarrhoea
- you've lost weight without trying
- there's blood or mucus 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.
You may have other symptoms such as:
- difficulty pooing
- stomach pain
These symptoms could be related to constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease or lactose intolerance.
Do not self-diagnose. See a GP if you're worried about farting.
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
Do not stop or change your medication without speaking to your GP.
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE