I would estimate that one out of every 4 women I see complains of having too much gas. Over the last 5 years I have had 2 men bring up gas issues, and they only did it because their wives told them it was a problem. I find this an amusing phenomenon. Most women are embarrassed by flatulence or farting, where men are proud of the gas they pass.

I have some family members (you know who you are!) who deny that they have ever farted. Of course, that is a physiologic impossibility. If we did not pass gas we would ultimately explode. Which brings me to the question, why do we pass gas?

Two thirds of the gas in our gut comes from swallowed air. Every time we swallow we also ingest 2-3 cc’s of air. When we eat an apple we gulp down 20 cc’s of air. Drinking 10 cc’s of water adds 17cc’s of air to the belly.

The rest of the gas comes from bacteria that swallow cells that are dying and being replaced in the large intestine. They also help digest starches and fiber that makes their way to the colon. These substances are broken down into chemicals that smell and can help protect us from cancer and provide energy to the colon cells for metabolism. These bacteria make up most of the solid part of our stool.

The particular odor and volume of gas depends on what we eat and how much air we swallow. The major smell makers are sulphur containing compounds and methane. The average numbers of farts range from 7-17 a day. If we eat a lot of fiber it could be as high as 30 a day. Gum chewing, sugar substitutes, fruit juices, carbonated beverages, and ill fitting dentures can all increase the amount of gas we pass.

There has been research (believe it or not) on a small number of subjects that looked at men and women to see who had the higher volume and worse smelling flatulence. It looks like women have stinkier gas but a smaller volume. Men had a higher volume so, that in the end (pardon the pun) it was a wash. If you want to decrease the amount of gas in your system this is what you can do:
• If you smoke, quit or cut down.
• If you wear dentures, see your dentist and make sure your dentures fit correctly.
• Don’t chew gum or suck on hard candies.
• Avoid carbonated drinks, such as soda and beer.
• Drink less fruit juice, especially apple juice and pear juice.
• Avoid or eat less of the foods that cause you to have gas.
• Eat more slowly
• Beano and GasX may also be helpful
If you are one of those women who are having problems with gas, you might want to see your doctor to make sure you do not have an underlying problem. If you have a healthy gut then you might want to man up and embrace your bodily functions. You do not need to light them on fire (like some men do), butt realize this, you are not alone because everybody farts!