Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Farting Bad For You?

Also Known As: flatulence, pass gas, break wind



Short answer

Farting isn’t bad for you, although a change in the frequency or smell of your farts may indicate that something’s wrong.



Long answer

Farts are generally good for you. Gas builds up in your body, and passing gas is one way of getting rid of that gas. You swallow air when you chew; you can disgorge this air through burping or through farting. The digestive process in your gut also produces gas; nitrogen, hydrogen, and methane are all natural by-products of the bacteria and archaea which line your intestines and help you to break down food.

Farting is normal. A healthy adult might fart a dozen or eighteen times a day. More fiber in the diet will generally lead to more gas. That's not unhealthy - fiber is a vital part of a healthy digestive system and feeds important bacteria in your gut. Some foods that aren't particularly right in fiber, like beans, may also increase the amount of gas that you pass in a day. That's normal - beans ferment quickly, so you'll get more gas when you eat them.

If you find yourself farting more than usual, however, there's a chance that something could be going wrong with your digestive system. Talk to your doctor if you find yourself farting more than usual. Sometimes, an uptick in flatulence can be temporary - the result of indigestion, often via something that you ate. If it turns into a regular problem, however, you should seek medical attention.

Another red flag might be a change in the smell of your farts; sometimes, problems in the gut can lead to the accumulation of more hydrogen sulfide or methane gas than usual. Those chemicals will give your flatulence a strong rotten egg smell. Excess flatulence can be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, food intolerance, or the presence of parasites in the gut.

It’s important that you attend to any changes in your flatulence. Often, it’s a symptom of a temporary or correctable problem. Sometimes, however, the change in flatulence indicates something more serious. If left untreated, certain causes - such as parasites - can cause longer term damage to the intestine and may interfere with your ability to absorb nutrients in the long-term.

While a change in your farts could be an indication that something's wrong, it can also be dangerous not to fart. Your body needs to vent the gasses that build up in the gut. If you can't pass gas, the gut will stretch like a balloon - you feel bloated and could experience pain and discomfort. If you're having trouble passing gas, you should see a doctor immediately.


Causes for concern:

  • Change in fart smell
  • Change in frequency of farts
  • Buildup of gas from not farting


  • feels good/relieving
  • releases trapped air/gasses from the body
  • good for your colon health
  • indicates healthy gut bacteria
  • can act as an early warning system for a problem

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources | Written by Sean McNulty
Published on: 10-23-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

Thank you for your feedback!

View Sources
Written by Sean McNulty
Published on: 10-23-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

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