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Bowel Smells, Bloating and Passing Gas --
Causes, Treatments and Natural Remedies
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May 30, 2009, last updated July 11, 2014


By Susan M. Callahan, Health Editor and Featured Columnist
[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other
members of our Editorial Board.]




Passing gas is normal.  We can't help it.  An average person
passes gas from their anus or burps and belches out gas from
their mouths between 15 and 20 times a day, according to
Johns Hopkins University.

But sometimes the amount of gas in our bodies becomes so
excessive that it causes bloating, stomach pains or cramping in
the stomach or intestines.  Or it causes an embarassing
belching and passing of pungent gas.  

When you pass an excessive amount of gas, experience severe
bloating or stomach pain, or the gas from your bowels
becomes pungent, there are remedies you can try at home that
work for many people.

But first, a quick primer on bowel smells, bloating and passing
gas.  When people complain of smelly bowels, bloating or
passing gas odors, it typically provokes a smile or puzzlement.
Of course, they smell.  All healthy bowels smell and all gas
passed from your bowels smells. Bowel gas, technically called
flatulence and referred to in slang as "farting", or the bowels
themselves both smell because of the presence of one or more
gases which are produced continuously by your body
---
methane, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

In a very real sense, we are all really just bags of gas.  We
swallow in air, consisting of oxygen, carbon dioxide and
nitrogen -- and that air passes through our lungs, stomachs,
through our bowels and out our anus as flatulence.  Your
digestion of food produces gas as a byproduct. When your
stomach's acid breaks down food, nitrogen gas is produced.
When your bowels break down food further by mixing its
natural bacteria with the food and body secretions, methane
and nitrogen gas is produced. Some foods you eat are lumpy or
bulky and cause even more air when they are churned inside
your intestines, much like air is added to dough when you
kneed it.


























In
a normal day, you produce on average about 500 to 2200
ml of gas. That's about 3 to 5 pints in volume. Most doctors do
not become concerned until you pass gas or burp more than 25
times a day.  At that point you may begin to feel painfully
bloated, have irritable bowel syndrome, or are
lactose-intolerant. You may have eaten a meal with high-fiber
foods such as beans or broccoli or changed medications.

Why does bowel gas and flatulence smell so bad? And why do
some bowel movements smell so much worse than others? It
really depends on two things. The type of food you eat. And
the type of bacteria that is present in your digestive tract.

All healthy bowels smell.   
Bowel movements smell because  the
process of normal digestion involves, in essen
ce, rotting.  Food
passes from your mouth, enters your stomach where acid is
added to begin to decompose the food. It then enters your
digestive tract, where bacteria that is always a part of your
intestinal environment is added to it, all of which helps to
continue breaking down the food. Bile from your gallbladder is
added to the mix, again, to assist in breaking the food down.  

Smelly bowel movements are caused by the release of gas
when bacteria, bile or acid mixes with food.  Depending on the
food you eat, and where in your digestive tract the mixing
occurs, the combinations can produce various types of gas, all
with different smells.

As most of you know from your chemistry classes, only certain
types of gas smell. Carbon monoxide, a deadly gas, has no
smell.  Oxygen, the gas we need to live, has no smell. But other
types of gas have characteristic obnoxious smells.

Here are the various types of gas odors that can be produced
by your bowels.

1.
Nitrogen.  Nitrogen gas is always present in your stomach.
You swallow nitrogen whenever you eat or even when you
breathe. Nitrogen is also a byproduct in the digestion of many
types of food.

2.
Sulfur. Sulfur is the smell of rotten eggs. All compounds
which contain sulfur "stink" to the human nose.  


3.
Carbon Dioxide. Carbon dioxide is produced when  stomach
acids mix with secretions from your pancreas and  bile from
your gallstones.  This gas is what causes the uncomfortable
bloating feeling when your stomach is upset.   


One home remedy used by many people is onion or garlic soup.
Onions and garlic contain compounds called sulphurophanes,
which is what gives them their characteristic pungent smell.
Sulphurophanes neutralize the excess carbon dioxide in your
stomach.


Here are 7 steps you can take to reduce the amount of smelly
flatulence you pass or burp up during the day:

1.
Chew Slowly.  Most of the gas we eventually pass from our
rectums gets into our bodies from our mouths. We gulp in
more air when we chew too fast or violently.  We are a
multi-tasking society on the go 24-7. We have grown
accustomed to eating on the run, gulping drinks of coffee on
the fly, even as we drive down the highway.  We have chosen
to live at the speed of light. But our bodies were not designed
to work at this pace. Slow down. Chew your food at least 20
times before swallowing it.  Savor your drinks, don't gulp them.
Don't slurp them.

2.
Forget Gum. Chewing gum is the single most common culprit
for causing the intake of extra air that increases flatulence.
Chewing gum and sucking on hard candy should be avoided if
you are experiencing painful bloating from excess gas. (Read
more about
spices and herbs that can relieve bloating.)

3.
Skip the Milk. Many people today are lactose-intolerant.
Lactose intolerance can cause painful bloating. There are
over-the-counter aids which can help such as Lactaid but, in
general, prefer soy milk to cow's milk.

4.
Lower the Fiber. Fiber is so good for your body. It cleans the
walls of your colon, helps you to stay regular in your bowel
movements ad helps you to maintain a healthy body weight.
But
fiber also creates gas in your intestines. Solution? Easy
does it. Eat high-fiber foods slowly. And don't go high-fiber
overnight if you have been eating a low-fiber diet. Ease your
body into a diet with higher fiber content.


Also, try to vary the type of fiber you eat. In addition to beans,
for example, add  high fiber cereals or fermentable
carbohydrate fibers such as those found in
artichokes.
Everyone's body reacts differently to different fibers. What
produces gas in one person may not produce any in another.
(Read more about
fiber-rich foods.)

5.
Garlic and Onion Soups. These are natural home remedies
for excess gas. The sulfur compounds in the onions and garlic
tend to neutralize the build up of stomach gas. However,
nothing comes for free and there's a big catch. These foods can
increase the stench of your bowels, especially if you have a
yeast infection.  Supplements high in glutathione, SAMe and
selenium can also produce especially smelly bowels.

6.
Commercial Products. Alka-Seltzer, Tums, Rolaids all work to
some degree in neutralizing stomach gas and flatulence.

7.
Walk and Move. Exercise and belching are the primary ways
we move gas out of our bodies before it becomes painful. While
belching is not socially acceptable, exercise is. Try to walk at
least 40 minutes a day to keep flatulence at bay.  

Related:  
Why Am I Bloated?-Causes and Top 10 Natural
Remedies / Bowel Color-What It Means  / Why Your Bowels
Are the Key to Your Overall Health / Exercises That Increase
Bowel Movements
Why Americans Read In Bathrooms-The Hidden Epidemic of
Constipation

Infant Gas-Causes and Top 10 Natural Remedies
Bowels -3 Keys to Normal Bowels
Exercises That Increase Bowel Movements
Diet and Exercise-A Simple Plan

Snoring Increases Your Risk of Stroke 67%
Six Pack Abs--Step By Step
Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure

Foods That Shrink Your Waist
Owning a Cat Reduces Risk of Stroke 40%


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