Everybody farts. Ain?t no thing. It?s fun ? as long as you?re by yourself, that is. We?re funny that way. Few everyday things are grosser than getting stuck smelling someone else?s fart.
But how much flatulence is too much? Most people produce 1 to 4 pints a day and pass gas about 14 times. Apparently.
If you're producing more than that, you might want to check your diet. Maybe get yourself some Beano?
Rarely, but sometimes, cutting the cheese excessively can indicate something more serious.
But these illnesses are usually accompanied by symptoms like blood in the stool, weight loss, diarrhea and/or fever.
Think you fart too much? Maybe you do and maybe you don't.
What the experts say
"No society looked upon farting as a blessing or a social enhancement. In some cultures farting could get you in big trouble. One islander tribe in Melanesia believed powerful magical spells entered through the nose, so farting was a great danger. Farting is the great equalizer. Imagine a cop farting as he's writing you a ticket, or a priest or rabbi blasting off a big one. A fart is similar to having strangers walk into a bathroom moments after we left a steaming turd in the bowl. Maybe the taboo goes back to our primate origins when, as with cats, our survival depended on burying our stools so other animals couldn't use them to find us."
JIM DAWSON, author, Blame It On The Dog, Los Angeles
"There are thousands of home remedies, depending on the basic constitution and the severity of the flatulence. One is a combination of asafoetida, black salt, ajwain seed, cardamom and ginger powder. Mix these in equal proportion and take 3 to 5 grams of powder after meals with water. Another is fresh ginger, grated or sliced with a pinch of salt and lemon juice immediately after eating. Or take 1 teaspoon asafoetida and 1 teaspoon hot water, make a paste and apply around the belly button. Avoid cold and fermented foods, peanuts, heavy beans, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, white flour and fatty meat."
SONAL BHATT, Ayurvedic practitioner, Toronto
"The best reaction if you're present when a pouff occurs is to ignore it, pretend it hasn't happened and then launch a fascinating topic everyone can comment upon. If you are the unlucky person who made the pouff and you're sure everyone around you is aware of it, make a joke. Anyone who has any social grace whatsoever will join in a chuckle. Laughter is the best consoler for someone exceedingly embarrassed.'
LETITIA BALDRIGE, author of New Manners For New Times: A Complete Guide To Etiquette, McLean, Virginia
"Many people think they have too much gas when they really have normal amounts. Gas comes from swallowed air and the normal breakdown of undigested foods by harmless bacteria present in the large intestine. Foods that produce gas in one person may not cause it in another. Doctors may tell people to eat fewer foods that cause gas. However, this may mean cutting out healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and milk products. Beano contains the enzyme the body lacks to digest the sugar in beans and many vegetables, but it has no effect on gas caused by lactose or fibre."
BRUNO SALENA, gastroenterologist, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton
"The imbalance of good and bad bacteria as well as yeast is the most common problem, in combination with eating the wrong foods. We do an elimination diet, take out the common offenders - sugar, meat, milk products - and recommend an herb cleanse. After this I add probiotics, but I'd never throw probiotics on top of the mix. You have to eliminate the bad bacteria before adding more [of the good].'
PASCALINE PHILLIPS, naturopath, Toronto
"Fennel and camomile are good digestive aids. We use a tea made from papaya leaves. Bitter herbs like gentian help the body make more stomach acid so you don't get farts. Some people use chlorophyll. The basic herbal treatment for gas would be to make you poo more, the idea being that your system is backed up. Some people get gas from vegetables. They might be going through a transition period of adapting to a healthy diet.'
ROGER LEWIS, herbalist, Toronto