We all do it from time to time. We release a fart either silently or loud enough for those nearby to hear. What really makes it bad, though, is the smell. While some folks can get away with odorless farts, the rest of us are not so fortunate. A lingering smell tends to indicate that they may be something else lingering in your stomach. The odor comes from bacteria fermenting within your digestive system and has a cause somewhere. Some of these causes are more serious than others. 

Why Do Farts Smell? 

When you smell the gas you have released, this is due to a chemical reaction in the digestive tract where certain gases are produced. Most of the gas released is fermented due to the bacteria in your colon, or even a lack of. It is normal to have gas, as it is a natural reaction to digestion. Depending on the frequency of these farts, however, it could be anything from something you ate that doesn't agree with your digestive system, or it could be a result of a condition that is much more severe. 

Causes For Smelly Farts

High Sulfur Diet

If your farts constantly smell something rotting, take a closer look at what you are regularly eating. Veggies and foods like broccoli and Brussels sprouts are high in sulfur and known to be the culprit behind the hideous gas smells. Below is a larger list of these foods:

  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Spinach 
  • Radishes

Most animal meats and proteins are also high in sulfur. Your meats like turkey and beef, have high levels of sulfur in each serving compared to other protein sources. When this sulfur mixes in your digestive system, it lets off higher amounts of hydrogen sulfide emissions, equating to the smelly farts you are experiencing. 

You may experience some mild abdominal pain when you overeat these foods, but the worst symptom is easily the smelly gas or farts that you leak out. If you eat many of these foods, reduce your portion sizes to reduce the gas build-up during digestion. This can reduce the smelly farts that you are experiencing. 

Celiac Disease

Another reason for foul-smelling farts is sometimes Celiac Disease. This is an autoimmune disorder that happens when you ingest gluten into your body. Some digestive systems will react adversely to this protein, causing severe abdominal pain and excessive bloating. The most common sign of Celiac disease is excessive diarrhea that happens almost daily and immediately after eating the gluten. 

If Celiac disease is not treated, the symptoms will continue to worsen stomach and abdominal pain. The damage to your intestines could be permanent, destroying the lining and not allowing nutrients to be absorbed by the body. This leads to malnutrition and unhealthy weight loss because the body is not getting what it needs to survive. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Another disorder that is pretty common and the culprit of smelly farts is irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Abdominal pain, cramping, severe bloating, constipation, and even diarrhea are symptoms of this disorder. It is pretty common and does not have a cure. It is something that needs to be treated long-term and with medication. Like celiac disease, IBS can be triggered by certain foods where the body is sensitive, especially when this particular food is consumed regularly or in large portions.

IBS can also be caused by early childhood trauma or changes in the bacteria within your digestive system. Some good bacteria live within your intestines and are needed for healthy digestion. If your body is missing these microbes, the digestive system is off, and IBS can kick in. In the most severe cases of IBS, there are additional symptoms of abdominal pain, such as iron deficiency anemia and rectal bleeding. If your symptoms have moved from smelly gas, diarrhea, and constipation to these more severe symptoms, it is time to seek medical attention. 

Lactose Sensitivity

One of the more common reasons for smelly farts is the lack of the lactose enzyme, causing millions of people to be lactose intolerant when consuming dairy products. The natural sugar found in these dairy products is lactose, and properly breaking this down is critical for your body. Cheese, milk, and ice cream are the culprits behind that strong and stinky fart smell due to the inability to digest them properly. If you notice these smelly farts develop after eating dairy products, you are probably suffering from this problem during digestion. Those suffering from this lactose sensitivity not only experience smelly farts but have some unpleasant abdominal pain during the digestion process. The gasses that develop in the intestines while breaking them down have not been absorbed earlier. 

Colon Cancer

Unfortunately, there could be a serious and more severe reason for smelly farts. One of the first indicators that something is seriously wrong is the onset of strong fart smells after eating. This is especially true for those who may not have experienced this in the past, and it is a new symptom. This cancer develops in the colon or large intestine, which is the final stage of your digestive system. 

Polyps develop in the colon from a group of cells. Over time, they can become malignant and become cancerous. Removing these polyps before they become cancer is the goal, but sometimes they turn before being removed. If your doctor finds cancerous polyps, they can be treated with surgery for removal and standard cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

A new trend of smelly farts and severe abdominal cramps could mean more than sensitivity to food or even Celiac disease. In these cases, you will also have severe weight loss and constant pain and gas in your body that never seems to be relieved.  

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

If you have noticed an increase in your gas odor, schedule a consultation today with Carolina Digestive Health at one of our locations near you. Our team of medical professionals consists of several Gastroenterologists, Associate Providers, and Specialized Gastroenterology Registered Nurses who can help you get the answers and treatment you need.