Having gas is inconvenient for anyone, but period farts are a totally different experience. Unless you’ve suffered the burning hellfires of gas that can happen after a seriously spicy bean burrito, there’s just no comparison.
Period farts happen to many people, and if you’re dealing with them, we feel you. Seriously, we get them too. Before you swear off social interaction during your period, let’s look at what’s happeninginside your body and how you make period farts less noxious.
What Causes Gas?
Gas is a normal part of digestion. The average person passes gas about 14 times per day. Surprisingly, gas isn’t usually smelly on its own. Foods we eat, changes in our gut bacteria, and hormones can affect how our gas smells.
There are two main reasons why we get gas:
Swallowing air. We naturally swallow air when we eat and drink, and that air usually comes right back out in the form of a burp. However, if it doesn’t, it will pass in the form of gas.
Carbonated drinks like soda and sparkling water can also cause gas bubbles to form in the same way.
Normal digestive processes. Digestion starts in the mouth and doesn’t finish until you pass stool. There’s a lot that happens in between, and fermentation of nutrients is a step that causes gas.
Most of your food is digested and absorbed in your small intestine. Food your body doesn’t need passes into the large intestine to be removed as waste. When the food sits in your large intestine, gut flora (bacteria) break down sugars, fibers, and starches, creating gas.
The bacteria absorb some of the gas that is created, but any that isn’t comes out as gas.
Gas is normal, but why do you get even gassier before your period? And why (for the love of all things) is period gas so toxic?
Period Farts Are Special
If you think the gas you get before and during your period is different, you’re right. Period farts are more frequent, more uncomfortable, and definitely ranker than normal gas. The culprit? You guessed it: your hormones.
Estrogen and Progesterone
Hormones change everything, and we’re all dealing with the changes, so don’t worry; you’re not alone. Over 70 percent of us experience gastrointestinal discomfort before and during our periods, including the fury of burning hot period gas.
Estrogen and progesterone levels are highest before your period, which creates a perfect storm situation for period gas. These two hormones work to help your period start, but they also slow down digestion, which can give waste extra time to hang out in your intestines.
The longer your stool sits in your intestines, the more time your gut bacteria has to ferment it, creating smellier, more painful gas.
Prostaglandins aren’t hormones, but your hormones trigger their release. Prostaglandins are fatty acids that cause your uterus to contract. This contraction helps move the lining of your uterus, along with the unfertilized egg you aren’t using this month, out of your body, which causes your period.
Prostaglandins are also what give you period cramps, a not-so-fun side effect of uterine contractions. The fun doesn’t stop there, though. Prostaglandins also cause intestinal contractions, which can cause diarrhea. It goes without saying that diarrhea produces some pretty terrible gas on its own.
Why So Stinky?
Surprisingly, farts are about 99 percent odorless gas and 1 percent bog of eternal stench. Your gas is mostly made of nitrogen, hydrogen, methane, and oxygen. Only about 1 percent of your gas is made up of sulfuric gas, which makes them smell bad.
The more sulfur you have in your diet, the more smelly your gas will be. Unfortunately, there’s really no way to avoid sulfuric foods. Turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, practically all vegetables, and whole grains all contain healthy amounts of sulfur.
Still, we all know that period farts tend to smell even worse than regular farts. There’s a reason.
Nothing gets you through an episode of This is Us better than a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and when you’re dealing with serious emotional angst before your period, sugary snacks are your go-to. The problem is, the starches and sugars in those snacks create gas in your large intestine—Smelly, rancid gas.
Progesterone is the hormone responsible for producing unavoidable cravings, and it’s most abundant just after ovulation and right before your period.
How To Manage
Period farts may be unavoidable, but there are ways you can deal with them and feel better. For starters, remember you’re not the only one. Practically everyone who has a period deals with gastrointestinal discomfort, at least occasionally. The takeaway: your gas isn’t any smellier than anyone else’s.
To get relief, here are five tips to help you get rid of period gas.
1. Make Conscious Craving Choices
Donuts and ice cream feel good to soothe your emotional soul, but they aren’t doing your digestive tract any favors. Before you binge hard, try drinking a glass of water to counterbalance the need to fill up on sugary snacks.
We’re not saying you have to swear off your favorite comfort foods, but try to make conscious choices. Instead of grabbing the whole pint of ice cream, scoop out a serving. Split half of a donut with a friend. Opt for berries or fruit in a smoothie instead of a milkshake.
In terms of gas, small choices go a long way in keeping you free of terrible toots.
2. Go Easy on Fiber
Fiber naturally creates gas, but it’s super important for your colon and digestive health. When you’re super gassy, avoid eating massive amounts of fiber, creating more gas and making you more crampy.
A chili cookoff before your period? Take a raincheck. Switch your carbonated drinks for less bubbly options, too, as carbonation can create unwanted gas also.
3. Get Some Exercise
Exercise helps you feel better when dealing with PMS, and it can also help get your bowels moving if you’re constipated. Even a simple ten-minute walk can help wake up the muscles in your digestive system and get you back on track.
4. Try a Probiotic
If you really suffer from period gas, cramping, and bloating, a probiotic may be the solution you need. Probiotics are natural, healthy bacteria that help keep your gut balanced and healthy. Probiotics can help keep your digestive system working properly, even though hormone changes you experience before and during your period.
5. Practice Self Care
Some days, period farts may just be completely unavoidable. These are great days to practice a little self-care to take your mind off of your belly (and booty). Rael has you covered with everything you need to pamper yourself pre-period.
- Sheet masks. They won’t cure gas, but vegging out with a sheet mask may just be the perfect activity to help you relax and ease away stress and worry. The double benefit is that our sheet masks are made with K-beauty technology, include super hydrating ingredients, and are helpful for your skin.
Period underwear. Feeling so bloated and crampy, you just want to stay in pajamas all day? We definitely vote “yes” for those activities. Rael’s period panties keep you protected whether you’re chilling out at home or headed to work or school.
With five layers of absorbent protection and a waterproof backing, you never have to worry about leaks. You can stay completely comfortable wearing our period panties, too. They’re made just like your normal, everyday underwear, with a sleek, seamless design and extra give for hurting tummies.
Heating patches. Rael’s heating patches are a must-have for anyone who has a period. Whether you’re experiencing period cramps or digestive cramps, our heating patches are designed to give you gentle, dependable relief holistically.
Made to adhere to the outside of your underwear, our blend of herbs delivers warmth just where you need it when you need it.
Even if you can’t take an entire day to stay home and practice self-care, a little fifteen minutes of alone time can change your entire day and help you relax, which could help relax your digestive system and feel better.
Period farts are awful and somewhat unavoidable. Thankfully, you’re not alone, and there are ways to take care of yourself when you get them. Rael is your solution for products that keep you comfortable during all phases of your monthly cycle.
A little gas? Nothing you can’t handle. Practice normalizing it by giving yourself a little grace and making a few diet and lifestyle changes to feel better.
Sources:3 Ways Your Hormones Affect Your Gut, and What That Means for Your Period