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A person stands at the edge of a field that appears serene from above but the viewer can see that below lies undetectable and unexpected potential explosions.

Why Farting is a Minefield with IBS

Can we take a second to talk about gas? How painful, annoying and embarrassing it can be for people with IBS. Because not a day goes past without me thinking about it, experiencing it and sometimes, just sometimes, denying it came from me. There, I said it.

According to the NHS, the average person farts between 5 and 15 times a day, and it’s caused when you swallow air or eat foods which your body finds difficult to digest.

Don’t know what you’re going to get when you pass gas

For me, farting is a minefield because I never know what I’m going to get.

It could be that bizarre feeling of a rush of air zipping through your body, ready to expel itself immediately, without any warning. It could be announced with a loud stomach gurgle, usually when you’re in an important meeting and it’s just gone quiet. How about that desperate moment when you can tell you need to pass wind but you can’t because of fear of what will happen next. After all, with IBS-D you never know if it will just be gas or a little added extra that you never ordered. Better to be safe and exit to the nearest toilet, than be sorry.

I spend my life wondering and worrying if it will be a silent one, a puff of air, that no one will ever know about. Or whether it’ll be a ripper with a funky smell that lingers. One of those ones that once you catch a whiff, the smell never leaves your nostrils.

If you’re out in a busy, loud place, you assess the risk of letting one go and it going unnoticed. I should note that if you’re in an office, it’s not worth taking the risk. That’s not how you want to make a name for yourself.

Bloating is the type of gas I hate the most

More frequently than not I get that painful, hard stomach bloat where you can feel the pressure building. Your top button has popped itself open. Queen are singing Under Pressure in the background. But the problem is, the bloat could be there all day before deciding it’s ready to start deflating. And that’s the type of gas I hate the most.

When the flatulence disappears suddenly

How about that age-old problem of knowing you’re safe to fart but all of a sudden your body’s come down with a case of stage fright and you can’t. Meaning if you’re in the loo, you have to sit there patiently and wait. Squeezing and tensing one minute and trying to stretch it out the next.

Anyone ever tried that classic bum shuffle to see if you can somehow squeeze it back in again? No, me neither.

Farting is a minefield. And it’s only one of the symptoms.

How do you deal with unwanted gas?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Brandi
    5 months ago

    Everything written about gas is so true ,the urgency, so uncomfortable ,IBS is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

  • jayghazala90
    6 months ago

    I hate when I’m somewhere like at work or grocery shopping.. no local bathroom to run to my biggest fear

  • lewis1212
    6 months ago

    I am so happy that finally someone shares my thoughts. My biggest problem with IBS is GAS GAS GAS meaning that the gas is STUCK and hurts soooo much i wait all day till the fart finally gets released and that give me some relief for a while. till the tank fill up again…. and the process repeats. I wish there would be some magic pill or cure how to “push” out the gas. I tried all kinds of pills otc prescribed and have yet to find. So the problem is not the fart, it is the “NOT-FART” that i so badly want to “come out”

    i am just sharing my pain , and hope with G-ds help, that someone comes up with some cure…

    thanks for listening…

  • Jo Coates author
    6 months ago

    Oh I hear you loud and clear. It’s that swelling stomach, the cramps and the fact that you need to fart to let the trapped air out but you can’t!

  • Shirlo
    6 months ago

    This is what I have found in my situation concerning passing gas. I fill a glass of water, about 6 to 8 oz and dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in it. I use Arm and Hammer baking soda. Stir and drink up. The gas dissipates from my system in the form of burping and it prevents passing wind most of the time. It works for me.

  • Jo Coates author
    6 months ago

    I have never tried this before!

  • Holly5757
    6 months ago

    Gas, bloating and nausea are my main IBS symptoms. They say you pass gas around 15 times a day……they lie! I feel like I could every 10 minutes. But of course I don’t because well, it’s just rude and stinky. So I then get to deal with the bloating that comes with holding it in. Bad thing is I have it no matter what I eat. Some food makes it worse for sure but it is always there.

  • Jo Coates author
    6 months ago

    I hear ya. I spend most of my time bloated so can totally relate. Can you escape to the bathroom when you feel gassy?

  • ldonne
    6 months ago

    Hi @jo-coates,
    I can completely relate to you with the hard stomach bloat. Impossible to keep your pant zipper and button done up. I experience that, not as often as I used to.
    I know there are several gas pills you can buy over the counter. You take them before a meal and it’s suppose to help. Not sure if they can be taken through out the day. I myself have tried a chewable one. I think I’m sensitive to peppermint or anything with -ol.

  • Jo Coates author
    6 months ago

    Hi @ldonne. Welcome to the hard-bloat club! Whoop whoop! I’ll always wear a top that covers my jean waistband for that reason alone. Especially after eating! Thanks for the tip. I swear by peppermint tea to help ease the bloat and soothe my tum. We’re all in this together.

  • Lana
    6 months ago

    Hello Jo Coates,
    I have spent 17 years trying to figure out, but can’t really deal with it. It’s like being cursed. I just read an article here “how to be positive” with our condition, but I’m sorry, can’t really be positive. The only thing that can change our lives is making the rest of the world nonjudgmental -> mission impossible.

  • Jo Coates author
    6 months ago

    Hi Lana,
    I know exactly what you mean. It feel ever-present and often it’s tough to look for the positives. I hope that the more we talk about it openly, the less taboo it’ll become. When I’m feeling low because of it, I take gentle walks, watch TV series, have a bubble bath, anything that relaxes me and my tum.

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