Experts in gut health say that if your farts smell like rotten eggs, it's because you're exhaling sulfuric gas.

Everyone has to pass gas, and the average person farts anywhere from 5 to 15 times daily. Even if you can get away with relatively odorless flatulence most of the time, it's not uncommon for a particularly noxious fart to escape every once in a while.

In public places like an elevator or subway, letting out a rotten-egg smelling fart can be embarrassing, but that might not be your only problem.  

Your noxious flatulence could be due to nothing more than the egg and steak breakfast burrito you ate, or it could be an indicator of a more serious problem. Methods for determining this are detailed below.  

Foods high in sulfur

Dr. Kenneth Josovitz, a gastroenterologist at Gastro Health, says that the "rotten egg" odor can be caused by foods high in sulfur, including dairy, eggs, meat, and some vegetables like cauliflower.

Hydrogen sulfide, a compound found in the foods, is to blame for this. Sulfur gas, reminiscent of rotten eggs, is produced when bacteria in your gut digest these foods.  

This is a natural byproduct of digestion and not an indication of a food intolerance.  

Examples of sulfur-rich foods are:

  • Eggs
  • Carcass and fowl
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Sprouts of Brussels

If you want to avoid embarrassing gas on a date, for example, you should avoid eating those foods. Substitute low-sulfur foods like spinach, zucchini, bell peppers, grains, and fish for high-sulfur foods. Beano or another over-the-counter alpha-galactosidase gas reducer should be taken prior to eating sulfur-rich foods when avoidance is not possible. This will aid digestion of sulfur-containing foods and reduce gas production.  

High Fiber Content

Because of its slowing effect on the digestive process, soluble fiber has been compared to a traffic jam. Josovitz explains that if food stays in your digestive system for a longer period of time, your gut bacteria will have more time to digest it, resulting in a greater amount of gas production.

Dietitian Trista K. Best from Balance One suggests that sulfuric compounds may be present in this gas because "foods that are high in fiber are often simultaneously high in sulfur."  

Soluble fiber is found in foods like:

  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grain
  • Fruits

Due to their higher fiber intake, vegans and vegetarians may be more prone to noxious flatulence, as suggested by Best.  

What to do: First, don't skip fiber-rich foods. Best warns that "completely removing these foods from your diet can be difficult and unwise." Avoiding these foods may be hazardous to your health because they are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the market. "

Do something to prevent farting while processing fiber. Drink plenty of water and steer clear of gum chewing, which can lead to ingesting air and further gas formation. You could try a gas reliever like Beano, which contains alpha-galactosidase. When taken before eating, this medication facilitates the digestion of fiber, reducing gas production.

3. An unbalanced microbiome in the gut

The bacteria in your body are there for a reason, but sometimes they can get out of hand. Intestinal dysbiosis refers to an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract. Potential causes of dysbiosis in the digestive tract include:

  • Dietary habits that should be improved
  • Nicotine use in any form
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Use of Antibiotics
  • Propensity determined by one's genes
  • The availability of medical care and nutritious food

Take note that taking antibiotics, which can kill off the good bacteria in your gut, is a major cause of gut dysbiosis. Only take antibiotics if absolutely necessary.  

A higher concentration of hydrogen sulfide-producing bacteria in the gut has been linked to dysbiosis. Increased amounts of rotten-egg farts may result.  

In addition to these, Best says you're also likely to experience the following signs of gut dysbiosis:

  • Inflammation
  • Brain fog
  • Irritability
  • Hurting belly
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

In order to treat gut dysbiosis, one must first determine its root cause through discussion with one's physician. Gut dysbiosis is something that can be fought with the help of probiotics, which introduce healthy bacteria to the gut.  

Prebiotics, which are food for the good bacteria in the intestines, Furthermore, antibiotics may be required to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria in the case of a gastrointestinal infection.  

Fourthly, sensitivities to certain foods

An inability of the digestive tract to process a particular food, as in the case of lactose intolerance,  

Josovitz argues that instead, those foods ferment in the gut. The by-product of that process is gas, which may or may not have a rotten-egg odor.  

It can take up to 48 hours after eating an intolerable food for the noxious burps to become noticeable if you suffer from food intolerance. It's also possible to experience the following symptoms:

  • Ache in the guts
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching 

What you should do is consult a physician about identifying your food intolerances. If you want to figure out what you're eating that's giving you gas, keeping a food diary can be helpful. If that doesn't help, an elimination diet can help you figure out which foods are causing your gas. If you know this, you can avoid eating these things in the future. Last but not least, discuss the possibility of an allergy test with your doctor; this could help you identify the foods to which you are allergic, though it would not necessarily reveal any food intolerances.  

5. Stools that don't move

When you don't defecate at least three times per week (a condition known as constipation), waste and stool accumulate in your intestines and, as they break down, release noxious fumes, according to Josovitz.  

The most common constipation symptoms are:

  • Bowel movements that hurt
  • Consistently defecating no more than three times a week
  • Pain in the belly
  • Bloating
  • Experiencing severe discomfort

To remedy the issue, increase your water intake and fiber intake to relieve constipation. Constipation that doesn't go away despite using over-the-counter or prescribed laxatives? It might be time to see a doctor.  

Why and when you should see a doctor

In spite of the fact that flatulence is completely natural, anyone who regularly experiences particularly pungent farts should probably visit a physician.  

Constantly smelling like rotten eggs, as Best puts it, "is not normal." To rule out more serious causes, it may be necessary to see a doctor if, after reviewing your diet, you still have no reason to believe your gas is related to the foods you eat. "

The following symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor's office:

  • Lack of motivation to eat
  • Constipation accompanied by blood
  • Heartburn
  • Intestinal distress, nausea, and/or vomiting

Josovitz says that rotten-egg smelling farts can be a symptom of serious conditions, but only in very rare cases.

  • Disease of the intestines that causes inflammation
  • Cancer of the colon
  • Pancreatitis, or pancreatic inflammation, that lasts a long time

X-rays, blood tests, and stool samples may all play a role in the diagnosis made by your doctor. Dietary changes to exclude the foods that cause you discomfort are a common part of treating gas.  

Secrets Revealed

Odorous gas is often not serious, but it can be embarrassing.  

According to Josovitz, "stinky farts are a normal byproduct of digestion, and usually are not worrisome."  

If you're experiencing unpleasant flatulence, changing your diet to exclude sulfur-rich foods like cabbage and Brussels sprouts is often all that's required to eliminate the problem. If it isn't, a food diary can help you figure out what you might be eating wrong.  

If that doesn't help, though, and your farts still stink, you should see a doctor.  

Best recommends seeing a doctor after ruling out less serious dietary causes of foul odors in the digestive tract.  

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