Sadly, we live in a society where you can’t just sit around farting all day. And indeed, the real world leaves precious little space for flatulence.
Many of us have to get up and leave the comfort of our homes in the morning; heading out to work or weekend social gatherings. There is rarely an appropriate occasion to really let one rip.
In quiet meeting rooms and trendy bars up and down the country, people are right now desperately holding in the gas; silently scolding their own bottoms with an internal hiss of ‘not now, not now’.
Unfortunately for these resolute fart-dodgers, clenching their bum cheeks together like two doors against a hurricane isn’t always the best way to go. In fact, this may only blow the problem elsewhere…
I hate to break it to you, but farts are frighteningly determined, inconsiderate pests and will escape from your body by hook or by crook.
And if they can’t use their preferable back door exit, they could even come out through your mouth. Now, just try and imagine that scenario during a romantic moment…
Nutrition and dietetics professor/’Fart expert’ Clare Collins from the University of Newcastle, New South Wales wrote an essay for The Conversation where she explained how a held-in fart can become reabsorbed in the blood stream before being breathed out through your mouth.
Professor Collins gave the following mortifying warning:
Trying to hold it in leads to a build up of pressure and major discomfort.
A build up of intestinal gas can trigger abdominal distension, with some gas reabsorbed into the circulation and exhaled in your breath. Holding on too long means the build up of intestinal gas will eventually escape via an uncontrollable fart.
The research is not clear on whether the rise in pressure in your rectum increases your chance of developing a condition called diverticulitis, where small pouches develop in the gut lining and become inflamed – or whether it doesn’t matter at all.
TLDR do people explode when they hold in a fart or not?
— Pirate Monkey Provocatéur (@jonkudelka) September 10, 2018
Luckily, the good professor also had a little bit of advice on alternatives to squeezing your sphincter shut and praying for the best:
The next time you feel a large volume of intestinal gas getting ready to do what it does, try to move to a more convenient location.
Whether you make it there or not, the best thing for your digestive health is to just let it go.
Professor Collins explained how diet can be a contributing factor when it comes to the level and extremity of trumping:
The smelliest farts are due to sulphur containing gases. This was confirmed in a study of 16 healthy adults who were fed pinto beans and lactulose, a non-absorbable carbohydrate that gets fermented in the colon. The odour intensity of flatus samples was evaluated by two judges (pity them).
The good news was that in a follow-up experiment, the researchers identified that a charcoal-lined cushion was able to help quash the smell of the sulphur gases.
At what age do I not have to hold in farts on dates anymore? Asking for a friend.
— Nick (@GoozeMan12) September 4, 2018
I like to hold in my farts at work and then when I get home I let them rip. My wife loves it.
No she doesn’t.
— Moon (@Dunoonhound) September 10, 2018
The human body is genuinely so weird and silly. How have we not yet evolved beyond making funny trumpeting noises with our behinds? And why at the age of 27 am I sat here giggling about it?!
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.