What causes bad flatulence odor?

Written by remy lo
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What causes bad flatulence odor?
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Causes of Flatulence

To understand what causes flatulence odour, we must understand what causes flatulence in the first place. Flatulence is caused by the foods we eat going through the digestion process. Some foods cause more gas than others. Many people believe that red meats and proteins cause bad flatulence odours, but it is foods high in sugars that cause us to pass gas. Natural sugars such as lactose, fructose, sorbitol and raffinose found in milk and produce are the main offenders, when it comes to the really smelly stuff. While red meats can take a long time to digest and cause our faeces to smell atrocious, proteins and fats cause little gas. Swallowing air when eating or drinking can increase the number of times we pass gas. The average person passes gas 14 to 23 times during a 24-hour period.


The odour produced by flatulence expulsion comes from naturally occurring bacteria in the digestive system. When undigested food passes from the small intestine to the large intestine, because of a lack of enzymes needed to process the food, bacteria in the large intestine begins to ferment these undigested carbohydrates. Most gasses that come from the body are odourless, such as nitrogen, dioxide, oxygen and hydrogen. The harmless bacteria in the large intestine release minute amounts of gas, known scientifically as hydrogen sulphide, which gives flatulence its odour. These bacteria cause the majority of flatulence in the human body, at least 80 per cent in most people. Many people compare the smell of this bacteria's release to sulphur or rotten eggs, because of the similarity.

Foods That Cause a Stink

Unfortunately, trying to naturally get rid of the odour from your flatulence could seriously compromise your health. Fibre, mainly soluble, is an important ingredient in diets that benefit both the circulatory and digestive systems. Since fibre is found in healthy foods such as beans, oat, bran and peas, cutting fibre from our diet could have a negative effect that is not worth the loss of some odour. Soluble fibres aren't broken down by the body until they reach the large intestine, where the stink-producing bacteria preside. Other foods that contain starches, such as potatoes, pasta and wheat, are not broken down until they reach the large intestine and can cause odorous flatulence.

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