Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Balance

Font Size

Grossology: The Science of the Disgusting

Kids and adults learn how and why the body does those yucky things it does - like pooping, farting, belching, and making snot.

Farts & Gas

A fart is actually a mixture of gases in your large intestine. As bacteria accumulate around undigested food in your gut, they release gas, which builds in your intestine, explains Branzei.

Burping and belching are produced during the digestive process. As the stomach acids digest food, gas is created. When too much builds up, pressure builds, and gas seeks a means of escape. It often carries a food-related aroma like onions.

Some foods produce more gas than others: wheat products, dairy products, cabbage, apples, radishes, broccoli, onions, cauliflower, and (of course) beans. These are high-fiber, sugary foods that the body has trouble digesting.

Gas is rarely a serious problem, unless it's caused by acid reflux disease, says Horesh. "For people who are lactose intolerant - who can't digest dairy products - there is only short-term discomfort. For them, the worst thing that can happen is a nutritional deficiency if they always avoid dairy. But they're not damaging the intestines by eating dairy."

Sweat & Body Odor

"Smelly sweat comes from sweat glands located mostly in the armpits but also in the crotch, anus, and a little on the scalp," Branzei writes. Sweating is the body's air conditioning system. When sweat is released, it coats the skin to remove heat from the body. When sweat evaporates, you cool down. Salts and urea are left behind. That's why sweat tastes salty and feels sticky.

Until age 12 or so, sweat glands aren't active. That's why adults are so stinky and kids aren't, she explains. The sweat itself is actually not a problem; it's pretty much odorless. In fact, your palms have more than 2,000 sweat glands -- much more than any body part -- but they don't attract bacteria that cause bad smell.

Some foods like onions, garlic, curry -- and even some medications -- can give your sweat an extra scent, explains Horesh. Some physical changes can cause excess sweat, as happens with infections, menopause, anxiety, and overactive thyroid. "And the more you sweat, of course, the greater chance that bacteria on your skin will make you smell," she says.

Also, a diabetes-related problem called diabetic ketoacidosis can cause a sweet, slightly fruity -scented breath or skin smell, Horesh says.

Factoid: During the Middle Ages, bathing was not in style. Not having to bathe was a sign of wealth. They certainly did sweat and stink, however -- and covered it up with perfumes, oils, and spices.

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
Take your medication
Hand appearing to hold the sun
Hungover man
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Woman worn out on couch
Happy and sad faces
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
laughing family