Flatulence (Farting) In Teens: Causes And Foods To Reduce

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Passage of gas from the digestive tract is referred to as flatulence. Though it is normal in adults, flatulence (farting) in teens can leave them embarrassed and even amused. However, studies say that farting is a usual phenomenon. In fact, the average number of times an individual passes wind is five to 15 times in a day (1).

Read this post to know about the foods, medications, and other factors that cause excessive farting in teens and how to deal with it.

What Causes Farting?

Flatuelence in teens is caused by digestive issues

Image: iStock

The digestion of food can cause the formation of gases within the digestive tract. Also, a small amount of air is swallowed with food, water, or saliva. These gases are relieved from the digestive system through belching (burping) or flatulence (farting).

The following are the various reasons for flatulence in people, including teens (2) (3) (4).

Reasons For Farting In Teenagers
Swallowing excess air
  • Fast eating
  • Not chewing food properly
  • Smoking
  • Chewing gum
  • Habits of sucking fingers or top of the pen
Foods and drinks
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Beans
  • Pulses
  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Onions
  • Apples
  • Lentils
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Processed foods
  • Unrefined fiber foods, such as bran
  • Slimming products, sugar-free sweets, and sugar-free gums due to sweetener sorbitol
  • Fruit juices due to fructose sugar
Medications
  • Antifungal medications
  • Statins
  • Laxatives
  • NSAIDs (ibuprofen)
  • Champix (varenicline) used to stop smoking
Health condition

Certain foods with short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPS), such as garlic and onion, are inadequately digested by the small intestine (5). These carbohydrates are then digested by colonic bacteria in the large intestine, which may increase gas production.

Carbonated beverages are often associated with gas, but they are more likely to cause burping than flatulence.

Quick fact
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, or coffee creamers may also cause flatulence in teenagers (8).

If your teen has flatulence due to medications, discuss with a pediatrician, who may prescribe alternative medicines.

What Makes Farts Smell?

The passed gas could sometimes have a bad smell due to the presence of sulfur compounds. Foods high in sulfur, such as broccoli, cabbage, onion, and garlic, may lead to smelly flatulence. Bacteria in the digestive tract also produce gases during digestion. These gases could have sulfur compounds (6). The type of food eaten and the bacterial composition in the digestive tract can influence the smelliness of flatulence.

The sulfur compounds account for only 1% of gas, and the remaining is made of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. It is normal for gas to smell and is seldom a cause for concern.

Did you know?
Farting may occur due to health conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, small bowel bacterial overgrowth, and diverticulosis, which cause excess gas production (8).

When To See A Doctor

Certain symptoms warrant prompt medical care

Image: Shutterstock

Consult a general practitioner if your teen complains of increased farting and is frequently passing smelly gas. Visit a doctor if the teen has recurring episodes of any of the following signs or symptoms along with flatulence (6).

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Blood in feces
  • High fever
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle aches

These issues may indicate digestive or other health problems, and a doctor may order tests for an exact diagnosis.

Point to consider
Medical guidance is vital if a teen experiences sudden, unexplained weight loss, anemia, or the urge to pass stool even after having a bowel movement (8).

How To Avoid Excessive Farting?

The following changes in your teenager’s diet and lifestyle could help reduce excessive gas formation.

  • Eat small portions of frequent meals
Small, frequent meals can allevaite flatuelnce in teens

Image: Shutterstock

  • Chew food and drink slowly
  • Avoid sugar-free chewing gums, candies, etc.
  • Have regular physical activity
Regular exercise can reduce excessive flatulence

Image: iStock

You may also consider child-safe over-the-counter medications for flatulence. However, dietary or lifestyle factors can usually provide relief without medications. If farting persists and you are concerned, then see a doctor.

What Foods Reduce Farting In Teens?

Fiber-rich diet can help combat flatulence

Image: Shutterstock

A healthy balanced diet with adequate fiber could help reduce excessive farting. Although fiber-rich foods may cause bloating in some teens, it is essential to eat about five portions of vegetables and fruits in a day.

Some foods with easy-digesting carbohydrates tend to produce less gas than others. The inclusion of these foods may help provide the teen relief from excessive flatulence (7).

  • Rice
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Sugar-free yogurt
  • Citrus fruits
  • Gluten-free foods
  • Leafy vegetables, such as spinach and lettuce
  • Vegetables, such as tomatoes and zucchini
Point to consider
Digestive enzymes, such as lactase supplements, may help digest carbohydrates and allow individuals to eat foods that usually cause gas (7).

It is not necessary that the same set of foods lead to flatulence commonly or provide relief. For instance, yogurt could ease gas in some teens but could worsen it in those with lactose intolerance. Therefore, you may ask your teen to note down the foods they have eaten on days when flatulence is more than normal. Next time, they may avoid or reduce the intake of such foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many times a day does the average teenager fart?

You may pass gas more than you think. It is normal to pass gas 14 to 23 times a day. Flatulence may occur throughout the day and often without notice. However, excessive flatulence with pain sensation requires medical attention (8).

2. Is farting normal for girls?

Flatulence can occur regardless of gender. It can be more related to your diet and overall digestive health. Some studies found that men pass gas more often than women (9).

3. Do I fart in my sleep?

It is normal for people to fart in their sleep and be unaware of it. The anal sphincter muscle can be more relaxed during sleep and spontaneously relaxed multiple times resulting in passing gas (10).

4. Is it healthy to fart?

Farting is healthy since the digestive process can make gas. Usually, gas from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is released through burping or farting in healthy individuals. However, excessive farting, frequently passing smelly gas, or other associated digestive symptoms may indicate underlying health conditions requiring medical care (8).

Flatulence (farting) in teens isn’t uncommon. Swallowing of air while ingestion of food and water is a cause of flatulence in teens. If certain foods contain sulfur, the passed gas may have an unpleasant odor. If flatulence is a recurring issue in a teenager, consult your medical advisor. Report any accompanying symptoms such as diarrhea, bloody stools, or bowel incontinence to diagnose the cause properly. Alternatively, avoid foods that increase gas, chew food slowly, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Infographic: What Is The Treatment For Excessive Flatulence In Teens?

Occasional excessive intestinal gasses can be treated at home with home remedies and OTC medications. Persistent gasses require medical care and prescription medications, especially if unrelated to dietary factors. Go through the infographic to learn some common treatments for excessive flatulence in teens.

treatment for excessive flatulence in teens [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • The air swallowed with food or gases emerging from the digestive system could be released in the form of farts in teens.
  • Certain foods and microbial composition of the digestive system might influence foul-smelling flatulence.
  • Although flatulence is a common phenomenon, you need to seek medical attention if your teen experiences increased foul-smelling farts accompanied by other conditions such as blood in feces or diarrhea.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Farting (flatulence); NHS UK
2. Flatulence; NHS Scotland
3. Lawrence K Leung, Francis M Patafio, and Walter W Rosser, Gastrointestinal adverse effects of varenicline at maintenance dose: a meta-analysis; NCBI
4. Parasites – Giardia; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
5. Gas – flatulence; U.S. National Library of Medicine
6. F L Suarez, J Springfield, M D Levitt; Identification of gases responsible for the odour of human flatus and evaluation of a device purported to reduce this odour; PubMed; NCBI
7. Tips on Controlling Gas; The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD)
8. Why Am I So Gassy? 6 Tips To Find Relief; Cleveland Clinic
9. IPB University Lecturer Says Men Fart More Often Than Women; IPB University
10. Farting During Sleep: Causes and Tips for Reducing It; Sleep Foundation

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