Flatulence Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your flatulence symptoms with Buoy, including 7 causes and common questions concerning your flatulence.

This symptom can also be referred to as: farting often

  1. 7 Possible Flatulence Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Flatulence FAQ
  4. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  5. Statistics
  6. Related Articles

7 Possible Flatulence Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced flatulence. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Normal episode of gas

Gas in the stomach and intestines is the normal result of both swallowing and digestion. It is common to swallow some air during eating and drinking, or even while chewing gum, but most of the gas is a by-product of digestion.

Foods that commonly produce larger amounts of gas during digestion are vegetables, beans, whole grains, and dairy products. Some artificial sweeteners have the same effect, as do carbonated sodas and beers.

A normal amount of gas in the digestive tract is not painful, or even uncomfortable, beyond a slight temporary pressure or temporary sensation of bloating within the abdomen. These symptoms will be relieved simply by passing the gas out of the rectum, or by having a bowel movement.

Most susceptible to excessive, or painful, amounts of gas are those with almost any digestive tract disorder. This is because normal digestion, breakdown, and absorption of food may be slowed or altered.

If there is no other illness, improving the diet can usually help with reducing the amount of gas produced.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: flatulence

Symptoms that always occur with normal episode of gas: flatulence

Symptoms that never occur with normal episode of gas: involuntary defecation

Urgency: Wait and watch

Irritable bowel syndrome (ibs)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder of the large intestine. It is characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and bowel movement issues that can be difficult to treat. Signs and symptoms of IBS are usually not severe or life-threateni...

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Diverticulosis is the common condition of small, sac-like pouches forming and pushing outward along the inside of the colon, called diverticula. With diverticulosis, there may be changes in bowel movement patterns as well as severe abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or rectal bl...

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Flatulence Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your flatulence

Lactose intolerance

Lactose is a sugar that naturally occurs in milk. Someone is considered "lactose intolerant" when the small intestine cannot produce enough of the enzyme that digests lactose called lactase.

In primary lactose intolerance, the enzyme is produced during childhood but declines sub...

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Celiac disease

Celiac disease is also called gluten-sensitive enteropathy, coeliac, or sprue. It is an autoimmune response in the gut to gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley.

  • Repeated exposure to gluten causes damage to the lining of the small intestine.

Most at risk are Caucasians with:

  • Family history of celiac disease.
  • Down syndrome.
  • Type 1 diabetes.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease.

Symptoms include digestive upset with gas, bloating, and diarrhea. The malnutrition causes fatigue, weight loss, fragile bones, severe skin rash, mouth ulcers, anemia, and damage to the spleen and nervous system.

A swollen belly, failure to thrive, muscle wasting, and learning disabilities are seen in children, and normal growth and development can be severely affected.

Diagnosis is made through blood testing and endoscopy, and sometimes biopsy of the small intestine.

There is no cure for the condition, but celiac disease can be managed by removing all gluten from the diet. Nutritional supplements will be used and sometimes steroid medication is given to help heal the gut.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, stomach bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhea

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Acute gastritis

When something interferes with the protective mechanisms of the stomach, a range of problems can occur from mild indigestion to deadly bleeding ulcers. Gastritis is an umbrella term for one of the most common problems, inflammation of the stomach lining.

Symptoms include nausea or vomiting,...

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Chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that does not improve, but slowly gets worse over time.

Causes include alcoholism; a blocked pancreatic duct; autoimmune disease, where the body's natural defenses turn against itself; and possible genetic factors.

Chronic pancreatitis is most common in men from age 30 to 40 with a history of alcoholism and a family history of the disease, but anyone can be affected.

Symptoms include severe pain in the back and abdomen, especially with eating; weight loss; nausea and vomiting; and diarrhea with oily-appearing, pale-colored stools.

The pancreas is vital for blood sugar control and for secreting certain digestive enzymes. If not treated, chronic pancreatitis can lead to permanent pancreatic damage, diabetes, malnutrition, and chronic pain.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound.

Treatment involves pain management through both medication and surgical procedures. Lifestyle improvements through diet, exercise, and stress management can also be very helpful.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain that comes and goes

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Real-life Stories

Once your story is reviewed and approved by our editors, it will live on Buoy as a helpful resource for anyone who may be dealing with something similar. If you want to learn more, try Buoy Assistant.

FAQs About Flatulence

Here are some frequently asked questions about flatulence.

Why do all my farts smell so bad?

Foul-smelling farts (flatulance) can be caused by many things. One of the most common causes of foul-smelling farts is the inability to sufficiently absorb nutrients taken in. This can be because of the diet that one engages in. For example, alcohol can cause in increase in gut motility, causing foul-smelling stools. Infection with different types of diarrheal illnesses can cause foul-smelling stool as a result of either by-products of the bacteria, or incompletely digested foods.

Why do I have excessive flatulence at night?

Excess flatulence is most frequently caused by diet. Diets that include large amounts of milk, sugar, carbonated beverages, or artificial sugar can cause increased flatulence, either by feeding bacteria within the gut that produce gas or by causing less of the food you eat to be absorbed.

Can stress cause gas?

Yes, stress can cause the gut to move food faster than the intestines can digest it, and this can result in abdominal discomfort, bloating, and gas. Usually, in most people, the stress must be prolonged and intense, but in some people even mild stress can cause a significant increase in both gas and the number of bowel movements per day.

What foods do not give you gas?

Foods high in fiber can decrease the amount of gas. Foods low in oils, sugars, artificial sugars, and foods with no milk can decrease the amount of gas you have. Foods that have no gluten may reduce gas in individuals with celiac disease.

How much flatulence is too much a day?

There is no upper limit on the amount of appropriate flatulence daily. The limit is set by your own comfort with the amount of flatulence you have. Simply put, if you feel uncomfortable with the amount of flatulence or the quality of flatulence that you have, then it is a problem worth addressing first through adjusting your diet and behaviors. The best way to discuss this is with your physician initially, and then through over-the-counter drugs, and, finally, through prescription drugs if necessary.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Flatulence

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Do you feel that not all stool has come out after defecating?
  • Were you ever exposed to a dangerous, violent or life-threatening situation?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Flatulence Symptom Checker

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Flatulence Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced flatulence have also experienced:

  • 12% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
  • 10% Stomach Bloating
  • 5% Nausea

People who have experienced flatulence were most often matched with:

  • 50% Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Ibs)
  • 50% Diverticulosis

People who have experienced flatulence had symptoms persist for:

  • 32% Less than a week
  • 25% Less than a day
  • 24% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

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