The People's Perspective on Medicine

Wife Seeks Solution For Hubby’s Smelly Gas

Q. Someone wrote to you regarding her husband’s problem with gas. She found something that worked like a charm, but I can’t find the article now. My husband has the smelly kind of gas, not painful or noisy. It is more the silent but deadly variety. Since he doesn’t have a good sense of smell, he can’t realize how offensive it is.

He has it all day and all night, and sometimes I just can’t stand it. I keep a small can of perfumed spray in my night stand to use when it gets too bad. I surely would appreciate learning what worked so well for the couple with a similar problem.

A. We heard about this remedy from a doctor’s wife who was distressed by her husband’s flatulence. A Hungarian masseuse suggested that he take one tablespoon of flax seed powder with juice twice a day and 2 capsules of fennel seed two or three times a day. They found that this formula worked very well for him.

Flax and fennel doesn’t work for everyone, though. Another reader says:

” I tried the flax and fennel seed remedy for gas with no results. If anything it got worse. Any other ideas?”

Taking Beano with meals or activated charcoal capsules after meals is often helpful. Another reader swears by peppermint tea.

Perhaps the most interesting solution for smelly gas is good old-fashioned Pepto Bismol:

Q. I had colon surgery last year and as a result I suffered from embarrassing smelly flatulence. Fortunately, I found a product called Devrom ( It has changed my life!

A. Stinky gas can be extremely embarrassing. Devrom contains bismuth subgallate. A similar compound, bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), is effective against odorous flatulence (Current Treatment Options in Gastroenterology, Aug. 2001). It is possible to overdose on bismuth, so don’t get carried away. Too much bismuth could harm the nervous system or kidneys. Pepto-Bismol can interact with several medications.

Flatologists (experts on gas) often recommend keeping a diary of what is eaten and gas that is passed. This helps identify foods most likely to cause flatulence so your husband can avoid them. Some of the worst offenders are beans (obviously), onions, but also cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower. Even people who are only mildly lactose intolerant may need to avoid milk and dairy based foods. Here are some links to more information about flatulence.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Some people have found that separating carbs and protein solves the problem, meaning that you pick one or the other to eat at each meal, but not both in the same meal. It takes some studying and label-reading if you aren’t a person who can readily identify carbs or proteins, but it is worth it to pay attention.
It requires revamping your thinking: If you’re having eggs for breakfast, don’t do the toast at that meal. If you’re having roast beef, don’t do potatoes at the same meal. Many authors call it food-combining, but I call it food-separating. Some years ago I embarked on Suzanne Somers’ program to lose weight and a delightful side effect of separating was the end of smelly gas. I also lost the weight and kept it off.

A possible cause of gas in folks who are lactose intolerant can be soy products. I substituted soy milk for regular milk after I found that I was lactose intolerant. The resultant SBDs (Silent But Deadlies) was horrible. After removing the soy milk from my diet, the problem went away.

What helps alot against the bad smell of gas is chlorophyll. Works great

When we stopped eating meat – THAT problem disappeared!

I have had this problem for many years–in my 70s now. It’s terrible! Afraid to go anywhere and be around people. I am mostly vegan; use almond milk, very little cheese, lots of vegetables and beans all my life. But nothing works to stop the gas and smell, and no specific foods seem to cause it; it’s just always there, day and night! The Flat-D charcoal pads do help, though. You can buy on the internet.

I found when I quit eating sugar and most products using lots of sugar my gas went away.

Is anyone else with this problem taking magnesium supplements? Is there any solution for the resulting smelly situation?

I don’t have any gas at all and there’s usually no smell in my bathroom. I attribute this entirely to my diet and the nutritional supplements I take which include digestive enzymes with meals and probiotics before going to sleep at night (on an empty stomach to minimize HCL.) I am on the Dr. Joel Fuhrman diet which is primarily vegetarian, I call it “the thinking man’s introduction to being a vegetarian.” The food is bulky and fibrous and moves easily through the colon.

I defecate first thing every morning and usually after every meal (presumably to make more room, my brain triggers that response because it’s not intentional, I just get the urge.) I’ve noticed that the plant food I eat is not smelly until after I’ve eaten meat or fish. So I’m suggesting an entire change in diet to change the flora in your colon. Also no sugar added to your food – read labels carefully – and no gluten in your food (no wheat products in the ingredients). I suspect that this is a problem that is related directly to diet, enzymes and colon bacteria. A vegetarian diet, especially as explained by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, is much healthier overall than the SAD diet (standard American diet) we all grew up with. Time for a big change! Make your wife happy!

We don’t know if this diet will work to reduce smelly gas for everyone, but it is certainly worth a try.

Thank you for having all of these suggestions available for consideration of a gas problem many people experience. Since I consume very little dairy products, either my flatulence has no odor or my sense if smell has diminished, but the frequency has not diminished. I am concerned that the Kefir and Greek yogurt I am taking is not doing the trick. I will try some of these new suggestions.

My sister-in-law is a nurse. She shared some kefir grains with me and said they would fix any problems in the gut. I use the cultured milk to make smoothies, and drain off the whey sometimes to culture cabbage for delicious sauerkraut. One thing we noticed is that bathroom odors and flatulence are no longer a problem.

My husband’s gas decreased when I added probiotics to the vitamins I give him in the mornings. His gas is also less when he avoids milk and milk products, but he won’t do that! He “likes” having a glass of milk with his cereal in the mornings…. and won’t touch lactaid. Separate bedrooms is no longer good enough: we are about to have separate houses (and separate lives!)

Probiotics help for flatulence because good bacteria compete against the bad bacteria in the gut and so restore the balance. probiotics are available in health food shops and pharmacies but can be quite expensive. Fermented vegetables such as unpasteurised sauerkraut are a cheap alternative. Sauerkraut is easy to make at home. Eat half a cup a day, raw not cooked. It contains several strains of lactobacillus, which are beneficial to the gut.

My husband also has horrendously smelling gas. It isn’t just bad, it is sickening. I cannot tolerate it. Makes me sick to my stomach. Just a few months ago, I had to go to the restroom right after my friend had when we were out to lunch, and I smelled the same kind of smell. They are both taking Metformin for blood sugar. I am 99.9% positive that is what is causing the smell because he never had it until he started taking it and I hadn’t made the connection before my discovery about my friend. Could your husband by chance be taking it too?

Problem? My wife has horrendous farts. The sulphur concentration would lead you to believe there’s a new tectonic seam being born under your very own bedroom. I was once woken up by her fart and in my attempt to flee, I leapt from the bed and hit the wall without touching the floor!! After one or two farts, I honestly start feeling ill – it’s REALLY putrid.
Current Solution? A bottle of toilet refresher (spray) on the nightstand. I started out with Hugo Boss, but pure economics drove me to the cheaper option.
Solution? I was thinking of hooking up a MASSIVE ceiling fan (think jet engine power and you’re getting close) linked to a sensor device close to my wife’s… fart… area. Theory being, the sulphur sensor detects the bad odour and ‘boom’ all the air in the room is replaced with clean air. Sure all the bed linen and half the contents of the room might leap to the ceiling, but the bad smells would be gone too. :)
Issues with my solution? I haven’t yet found a non-commercially priced sulphur detection device or a fan that meets my needs / budget and pretty much need a complete reconstruction of the house.
Seriously? She’s lactose and gluten intolerant, but not disciplined enough to stay away from the baddies. The difficulty in telling your partner they stink and their diet needs to change sounds difficult on either side if the fence by the look of it.
Might Try? I’ll look into the charcoal briefs. Sounds like its worth a try.

240, listen to your body! It is trying to tell you something. Try what I recommended above-check for allergies and then take care of recolonizing your gut. Primal Defense by Gardens for Life worked for me.

My husband thinks its my fault and says I shouldn’t cook for him, then when I leave the room he says I’m not a good wife and that I should open a window. It’s winter time for god sakes!!

Charcoal tablets/capsules are definitely a god send for gas / wind. Charcoal is a natural deodouriser so helps tremendously. Peppermint capsules are also good for wind and can also act as a deodouriser.

Sugar free chewing gum causes me gas – – really foul smelling gas.
There is something in the artificial sweetener that causes it.
Consider this as the possible cause.

Bonnie, if one’s gut is not happy throwing beans into it won’t be good. First address the gut problem. I mention in my post above the way to do it. Then if one eats beans one must soak the beans first before cooking. Soaked beans produce little gas, especially in a healthy gut.

On Saturday’s August 11 radio program a caller mentioned using “forbidden” or black rice and garbanzo beans for gas, I believe it was. I can’t find anything on your website about this. Would appreciate any info you could give. Thanks. Bonnie
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: The idea is that a high-fiber diet could help support the re-establishment of healthy gut flora.

If it hadn’t happened to me I wouldn’t have believed it, but recently several women of my acquaintance have told me that they or their family members experienced bouts of extreme stomach cramps, severe bloating and uncontroable gas. The common culprit in all these cases turned out to be “Fiber One Bars”!
Doing some research I discovered a whole web site by going to “Fiber One Farts” which has some hilarious stories but it is not so funny when it is happening to ones’s self and the cause isn’t known.
I also had symptoms of bladder irritation along with the other problems and was about to call the doctor until I figured it out for myself. The common belief is that the chicory root in the bars is the irritant. There should be a warning on the boxes of these bars. SMM

Devrom works really well for me. I did some research and found that it is considered a much safer bismuth salt than Pepto Bismol. All bismuth salts are not alike.
It’s recommended to not use Pepto Bismol, bismuth subsalicylate, for more than a week, but Devrom, bismuth subgallate, can be used long-term, maximum 8 tablets a day.
I dug and dug and found only one small research study, in Germany, that found 4 patients who were harmed by bismuth subgallate when given it in quite large doses.
Because Devrom may work by killing some bacteria in the gut, I take my probiotics several hours apart from the Devrom, just in case.
It’s so important to do your research, and then find what works for you.

I’ve recently become a pretty much… vegan. So, no milk products (and no animal products) and am experiencing noisy, no smell 40s. I attribute it to the hummos and carrots that I eat. Does anyone have suggestions for non-smelly, non milk related gas? I’m feeling GREAT otherwise, lost weight and reduced my hunger and stomach upset, am happy all the way around… but this is an awful side effect.

My wife and I solved the problem (along with any snoring, tossing and turning, etc. disturbing the other’s sleep)– separate bedrooms. Great for a good night’s sleep.

Some of the comments above about allergies is probably the first route to go. There is a test now available that is quick and easy to check for allergies. Our Dr is now using it. It is called Food Safe. My hubby’s test came up with some surprises. Gluten for one and most beans for another. He altered his diet and has lost about 20 lbs and feels much better.
The next step would be to build up one’s gut. If the gut bacteria are happy and productive then you do not have gas. Once the allergies are taken care of then one should take some probiotics to recolonize the gut.
The other remedies probably would be good in the meantime but will not solve the problem. Health starts in the gut and if you have gas, then the body is trying to tell you it is not happy.

I was plagued by stinky gas and yogurt was suggested, but it couldn’t win against the established colonies of bad gas producing bugs. When I went for a colonoscopy I was of course, due to the “prep”, clean as a whistle. The first thing I did afterward was to drink an entire quart of active kefir with some added acidophilus caps. The new guys finally got a chance and I was free of gas for years after!

Try CHLOROPHYLL capsules or liquid. You can purchase them at your local Health Food store.
Chlorophyll is a natural internal deodorizer to the body. Research it out, you will be surprised at all other benefits.

Another possibility to check out is Celiac disease or gluten intolerance. This disease can greatly undermine the ability of the digestive tract to process food and the flatulence produced is one of the side effects in some people.

I also agree with the lactose intolerance! I am a 59 year old man with the same problem after eating dairy products. I take lactaid just before eating my meal. I also drink at least one glass of water after eating, this helps me pass go to the bathroom and cleans me out…. good luck!

No mention of lactose intolerance by either the question or the response. Lactose intolerance causes foul-smelling gas emissions when ever dairy products have been consumed unless lactase has been taken with the dairy product.

My son also found that dairy products cause him to have bad smelling gas. He still likes to eat pizza sometimes and has found that eating “Lactaid” tablets along with the meal helps with the gas. Other foods like broccoli and greens increase the gas. So, it is wise to try a food elimination diet to pinpoint the offensive foods.

Along with dairy, monitor carbohydrate consumption.
Each should be journaled separately. IE, just look at the dairy without any dietary changes; then drop dairy or reduce; then look at carb consumption, etc.
I have found that dairy and carbs are the culprit with me.

It seems to me that a person who is “240” (too-farty) might sleep in a half sleeping bag cinched around the waist. If it is made from some impermeable material, and the waist band is reasonably tight, the nighttime gas attacks could be contained until morning. If sleeping in an impermeable bag is unacceptable, then some odor-neutralizing substance might be incorporated into a “breathable” porous bag that would reduce or eliminate the odor as the gas passes through its fibers.

If your husband eats dairy products the first thing to check is lactose intolerance. After eating dairy I have horrible smelling gas within an hour. This is easy to check just have him avoid dairy for a day or two. Sounds simple but a lot of people refuse to consider this possibility. Good luck.

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