When we talk about someone with an inflated ego, we often joke that they think their farts smell like roses - or don’t smell at all.
But there’s actually a kernel of truth, and some stinky science, behind the unusual ways we react to our gas, compared to someone else’s.
Bear in mind: I'm not a doctor, just a man with some interesting fart facts that I had to share with all of you. If you're experiencing painful or unusual gas, take your questions to a medical professional.
To understand the difference between your farts and someone else's, you need to learn a little about the science behind farts first.
Most of the smell in a fart comes from the gasses produced by microbes in your gut. As these microscopic organisms digest the food in your stomach, they release gas which is passed out of your body when you break wind.
Because of this, different people (with different combinations of gut bacteria) will produce different smells.
So why do other people’s farts smell worse than our own? Essentially, your brain gets used to your smells (from your sweat, armpits, gas, etc.) and learns to ignore them. So unless you pass gas with a concerning and unusual smell, your mind will just disregard the scent.
On the other hand, farts that are unfamiliar (as in, from other people) trigger a stronger response from our sniffers. That’s because nasty, unfamiliar scents (including farts, but also things like rotten food) are considered a sign of danger to our noses, signs we’ve been trained through countless generations of evolution to avoid.
Studies have backed up this friendly smell theory, as people consistently rank their farts as the most bearable, followed by farts from friends and then strangers.
But the combination of gasses in your bowels can also make a big difference in a fart’s smell, with hydrogen sulfide normally listed as the grossest smell of all. (It’s the scent that some people compare to rotten eggs.)
Healthy foods like broccoli and peas produce this gas, so following a healthy diet can actually cause a stink.
Other gasses normally found in farts include methanethiol, which is described as smelling like "decomposing vegetables," and the sickly sweet-smelling dimethyl sulfide.
Gastroenterologist Michael Levitt, who has been publishing research on gas since the 1970s, reports that women’s farts smell worse on average, because they contain higher amounts of hydrogen sulfide thanks to healthier diets.
But of course, there are stomach-settling supplements (good ‘ol Beano) that can limit the amount of toots you let out in a day if your smell is noticeably bad.
Other culprits for smelly toots include beans and wine, which are both rich in sulfur. Foods like red meat, that cause constipation and buildup in your colon, can also affect the aroma of your gas.
Dealing with your stinky farts head on is a smart idea, because holding them in can actually add to your troubles. When farts are held in, the gas can absorb into the intestinal walls, causing bloating, pain, and constipation.
While serious reactions are rare, farts are just better out than in overall. Because, of course, farting is a fact of life that we should just get used to. The average person farts dozens of times a day, usually without even noticing.
[H/T: Washington Post]