July 16, 2023

Why Do Period Farts Smell So Bad?

If you've ever had a period, you know that it's not just embarrassing to fart in public, but also downright smelly. It turns out that there's a reason for that, and it has to do with those pesky hormones.

As your menstrual cycle begins, your hormones cause a bunch of stuff to go wonky in your digestive tract, including the release of gas-producing prostaglandins. These chemicals encourage the uterus to contract and shed its lining each month, but they can migrate to your gut too, where they're known to cause farting and diarrhea.

While normal farts consist of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane, changes in your gut bacteria can lead to more sulfur-based gases, which are what make your period farts smell so bad. That extra sulfur comes from hormonal changes, but food cravings can play a role as well. High progesterone levels can have you eating lots of chocolate, sugary sodas, and high-fat foods that change the anatomy of your poop and fuel the stinky smell of your period farts. Constipation can also add to the stench by allowing bacteria and toxins to build up in your colon.

But, even though it may stink, farting is a totally normal part of the human experience and doesn't usually indicate any serious health problems. Eating a diet full of fiber-rich foods, staying hydrated, and avoiding behaviors like chewing gum that can compound gas could help reduce your foul-smelling flatulence. If that doesn't help, try taking an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and discomfort. And, if your farts still smell like rotten eggs, talk to your doctor. They can prescribe a low-dose birth control pill that could reduce your periods and their accompanying gas.

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