Why Do We Fart? The Smelly Science of Flatulence, Explained

The average dude rips 12-25 farts every day. Some are silent, others are loud enough to register on the Richter scale, and almost all of ‘em smell horrific. But do you ever wonder why your body expels stinky gas out of your butthole in the first place?

Passing gas might not seem to serve any function purpose, aside from the occasional relief from bloating. In fact, we’d argue that passing gas is rarely a positive experience. So, why do we fart?

The short answer is you fart to release a buildup of gas in your digestive tract, which builds up from eating and drinking throughout the day. If you didn’t have a relief valve (AKA your anus), you’d be dealing with some serious abdominal pain.

If you want to learn more about the origins of your flatulence, you came to the right place. In this article, we’ll explain (in simple terms) what causes farts and answer a bunch of questions you were too nervous to ask in science class.

Why Do We Fart?

We fart to release intestinal gas, or “endogenous gas.” As you eat, your body breaks down food in the digestive system, which produces nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and methane. Some of those gasses end up in your colon, where bacteria help further break down the food. The byproducts of that process include gasses like hydrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide (the stinky stuff).

Once enough gas builds up in your gastrointestinal tract, your body either releases them through your rectum as a fart or through your mouth as a burp

Of course, some foods produce more intestinal gas than others. Here are some foods that are straight-up fart fuel:

  • Foods with raffinose: beans, whole grains, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage
  • Sulfur-rich foods: garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli
  • Sugar alcohols: xylitol, sorbitol, and erythritol
  • Starches: corn, wheat, and potatoes
  • Soluble fiber: beans, nuts, and fruit
  • Insoluble fiber: root vegetables and wheat bran

Food isn’t the only thing that fuels farts, though. Intestinal gas also comes from air you swallow when you eat, chew gum, drink through a straw, sip carbonated beverages, or smoke. This is called “exogenous air.”

Bottom line: Farting is a normal bodily function that happens during the digestive process. Think of it like your gut’s exhaust system.

Why Do Some Farts Smell Worse Than Others?

Prepare to have your mind blown: 99% of the gas that comes out of your ass odor-free. Only 1% of farts stink, and the main factor at play is your diet. Eating foods loaded with sulfur creates the perfect storm for smelly flatulence. That explains why you clear the room after eating veggies, eggs, and meat.

The bacteria in your gut also play a role in how bad your farts smell. Most digestive gasses are odorless. But when hydrogen sulfide gets thrown into the mix, you can expect to rip some righteous-smelling toots.

Beware: Constipation can cause extra-smelly gas, since all the poop sits there fermenting for days.

Why Do Some Farts Make Noise?

You might think the volume level of your farts comes down to pure luck, but it’s actually how tight (or loose) your anal sphincter is when the gas comes out.

If your sphincter is relaxed, the gas escapes more quietly. However, if you clench your butt, you can expect a louder fart. (This explains why nervous farts tend to be squealers).

Think of your butthole like a balloon: If the hole is wide open, the air escapes without much noise. But if you hold it tight, the air squeals out super loud.

Do Men Fart More Than Women?

Although most dudes tend to eat more than girls, there’s no evidence that they fart more, or that their farts smell any worse. According to a 2013 study published in The New Zealand Medical Journal, there’s no difference between how often men and women fart.

You could make the argument that women are more discreet about ripping ass, which is why you might do it less. But rest assured, your IG crush is just as gassy as you are. Some of them even sell their farts in jars.

How to Stop Farting So Much

Farting is healthy, natural, and nothing to be embarrassed about. Remember, the average person farts up to 25 times a day (most of which sneak out while you sleep). But sometimes gas gets out of control. 

If you want to tame your excessive flatulence, start with dietary changes. This can be tough, considering a lot of fart fuel is actually really healthy. But if you’re heading into date night or a job interview, limit your intake of high-sulfur foods like eggs, beans, and leafy greens. 

You can also take an over-the-counter commercial enzyme product like Beano. This can limit how much intestinal gas your gut churns out. Just beware this stuff isn’t intended for long-term use.

Beware of Sharts

We’ve all been there: You feel a fart cooking inside your bum, but when you let it rip, there’s something warm and wet down below. In that split second, a fart became a shart. It’s estimated that 1 out of every 3 adults will shart at some point in their life. And while that may be mortifying, it doesn’t have to ruin your day. 

When you carry a DUDE Wipe Single, you’re prepared to clean up on-the-go, no matter where shit goes down. We won’t judge you for pooping your pants, but we will judge you for trusting TP to clean it up.