Why do Your Farts Smell That Bad?

Why do Your Farts Smell That Bad?

No one wants to admit it, but no human can deny the simple satisfaction of a well-timed fart.

And the stats suggest we have a proclivity for tooting: people bust wind on average 14 times a day, emitting over 2 liters of ‘natural’ gas over a 24-hour time frame.

While 99% of these gases are odor-free, there are those days when your gas is just gag-inducing.

“Silent-but-deadly ones, the really smelly guys, are due to fermentation by bacteria in your colon,” says Patricia Raymond, MD, a Virginia Beach-based gastroenterologist and assistant professor of clinical internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

If you’re having trouble stomaching your own stench, it may be something you ate – and that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. Gas is a regular, healthy byproduct of digestion. You may be embarrassed by souring social situations with your butt, but it may just mean you’ve been eating nutritious, fiber-rich, plant-based foods.

But, sometimes an off-odor can signal something’s off with your health, and may require a thorough checkup by a G.I. doc.

What’s in Your Gut?

While you digest, gut bacteria produce sulfur-rich compounds like hydrogen sulfide that create a stench in your gas, Dr. Raymond explains.


Foods you eat play a role in the population of bacteria that resides in your colon, which in turn affects fart smell, says Frederick Gandolfo, MD, a gastroenterologist at Precision Digestive Care in Huntington, New York.

“Certain people have a certain type of flora inside of them that causes them to produce more gas or smellier gas,” he says.

Sulfur-Rich Foods

Have you ever been to a sulfur mine, or the like? Then you’ll understand why sulfur-rich foods evoke the eggiest of farts.

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage are often the culprits. Other sulfur-strong foods to look out for include garlic, onions, legumes, cheddar cheese, dried fruit, nuts, beer, and wine. Even animal proteins, like eggs, meat, and fish – all high in sulfur – can be a foul problem.

This is why body builders, who tend to consume lots of protein powder, are notorious for the stinkiest farts in the land.

Related: Does it Matter if Your Poo Floats?

Farts that smell like regular potato chips, come from not being regular

While high-carb foods like bagels, rice, and pasta don’t directly lead to potent gases, these low-fiber foods can lead to bowel discomfort and irregularity. And that’s when things start to stink.


When you’re constipated, poop “hangs around your colon for too long, and then bacteria can really go to town and cause lots of gas,” Dr. Gandolfo says.

To keep yourself regular, make sure you’re consuming plenty of water, exercising regularly, and in-taking high-fiber foods in your daily diet.

Beans, beans, good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you…

You know the rest. Beans are a supreme source of protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals – everything the body needs to produce an award-winning, critically-acclaimed stench.

Beans are loaded with the raffinose family of oligosaccharides (RFOs), a group of sugars that contribute to bloating and gas that’s typical of a bean-heavy meal. The human GI tract lacks an essential enzyme needed to break down and digest these sugars.

A study found that soaking dried beans in water can help get rid of some RFOs, without taking away any nutritional value. Taking an enzyme-based digestive aid (like Beano, for example) can also help ease stinky symptoms.

Photo Credit: jesadaphorn/Shutterstock; Fairmacy/Shutterstock; MMaster/Shutterstock

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