Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why do farts smell?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do farts smell?


Why do farts smell bad? I'm a 24 year old woman and I've never understood this. If a fart smells extra bad, does it meean that your digestive system is in trouble, or malfunctioning?


Farting, known in the medical world as flatulence, while potentially embarrassing, is a completely normal bodily process that unfortunately can cause quite a stink. The average person releases gas 15 times a day. Although it may seem like it, men do not fart more often then women. Farting is the way the body releases excess gas that builds up within the intestines throughout the day. The gases that are released include oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen sulfide. The gas that contributes the most to the smell is the hydrogen sulfide. When bacteria or microbes that naturally live in your gut break down the sulfur rich compounds it releases odorous gases. Therefore, if you eat a diet rich in sulfurous foods such as meat, beans, cabbage and eggs, your farts will have a more intense smell. To decrease the smelliness of your farts, try cutting down on foods high in sulfur. An extra smelly fart is not a sign of digestive distress, rather just a function of your diet. If you are experiencing stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, or other symptoms or just worried that your farts are abnormal or excessive, make an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss your symptoms and appropriate evaluation and treatment.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.