Boffins are measuring the level of ‘fart gas’ in people’s breath in order to understand what’s causing their tummy troubles.
One in two Brits have harmless microorganisms called methanogens living in their gut.
But sometimes these can overgrow, leading to excessive methane production and causing bloating, wind, abdominal discomfort and constipation.
Now a new test has been launched by scientists which monitors the level of methane in the breath and can therefore highlight any potential issues.
Gastrointestinal expert Dr Anthony Hobson said: “The intestines contain trillions of microorganisms which collectively make up the gut microbiome.
“The microbiome plays an important role in normal health, from digestion to vitamin production and even regulating the immune system. However, problems can arise when the microbiome becomes out of balance."
The expert added: “Millions of people suffer from bloating and constipation symptoms.
"What we’re trying to do is to educate them about methane – why it’s there and the problems it can cause."
Some methane, along with hydrogen and carbon dioxide, is produced by the microbiome and absorbed into the bloodstream and let out in the breath, while rest comes out as farts.
Dr Hobson, who founded Functional Gut Diagnostics in 2014, is bringing the Methane Breath CH4ECK test to the UK.
He added: “Thirty to 50 per cent of the population have methane producing organisms called methanogens in their gut, but in some people they can overgrow.
"We call this intestinal methanogen overgrowth (IMO). In addition to bloating, IMO is associated with belching, flatulence, nausea and constipation.
“This breath test detects methane gas produced by methanogens in the intestinal tract.
“This gas is absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to the lungs where it is exhaled, and it can then be collected in breath samples for analysis.
“The Methane Breath CH4ECK will tell you how much methane is being produced and if you have IMO.”
The procedure is carried out by blowing into a tube through a straw provided for three to five seconds.
The user then seals the tubes and sends them to a laboratory in Manchester, where they are analysed.
Results are returned within three working days alongside information explaining the findings and possible next steps.
Research by the Functional Gut Clinic found patients with positive methane breath tests often benefit from dietary changes, which can be discussed with a dietician or nutritionist.
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Antibiotics, prebiotics and probiotics may also be beneficial, but should all be discussed with a qualified medical practitioner.
Dr Hobson added: “While there is currently no ‘gold standard’ treatment for excess methane production, further research is ongoing and shows promising signs for sufferers going forward.”
Well you know what they say, better out that in.
The news comes after an NHS doctor recently explained what happens to your body when you hold in farts.
GP Dr Faraz said it is normal for an average person to pass gas 20 times a day and said holding the fart inside the body could cause "heartburn, bloating, and pain".
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