Flatulence and flatus are medical terms for what is commonly known as farting. While people do not tend to discuss farting openly, it is something that everyone does. Even if it’s often considered embarrassing, farting is a normal and natural occurrence. It’s the by-product of a digestive system at work. In fact, farting is healthy and good for your body. Your body produces gas as part of breaking down and processing food. You also swallow air when eating, chewing, or swallowing.
All of this gas and air builds up in your digestive system. Some of it is absorbed naturally, but the remaining gas needs to be released in some way — either as a fart or a burp. If you didn’t pass gas, you could experience uncomfortable, even painful, issues like bloating. Some intestinal gas comes from the air that people swallow when they are eating, chewing gum, drinking through a straw, or smoking.
Oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide are the primary external gases found inside the body. They make up what is called exogenous air. Intestinal gas is produced within the body when bacteria in the colon break down food. This is called endogenous gas. Endogenous gas consists mainly of hydrogen and, for some people, methane. It can also contain small amounts of other gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, which make farts smell bad.
However, bad smells only apply to about one percent of the gas that people expel, most of which is almost odor-free. Undigested carbohydrates are a common cause of gas, as the stomach and the small intestine cannot break these foods down. Instead, these carbohydrates move into the large intestine, where bacteria begin to break them down, releasing intestinal gas in the process.
Amazing facts about farting
- Shows you’re having a balanced diet:
A diet that includes lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and grains is considered balanced and healthy. But it will produce gas. Certain types of carbohydrates can’t always be broken down in your digestive tract. Instead, they’ll ferment for a bit in the large intestine before being removed during a bowel movement. That fermentation produces gas.
If you ate only a diet of simple carbohydrates, you might not produce as much gas. However, that would be unhealthy for other reasons. A balanced diet is healthier for your body, and specifically for your gut, even if it does produce flatulence.
- Smelling fart may cure cancer:
As gross as it sounds, maybe we should all start smelling farts a little bit more. A recent study that just came out this past weekend says that smelling farts (in small doses) can be good for our health. A fart is made of hydrogen sulfide gas, and scientists say that smelling small whiffs of it here and there can reduce the risk of cancer, strokes, heart attacks, arthritis, and dementia. Start smelling.
- Reduces colon health:
From time to time, you may want to hold in gas to suppress flatulence when you’re in a room with others. But holding in gas too frequently can actually irritate the colon. It may also irritate hemorrhoids. Releasing gas is always healthier than holding it in. Don’t be afraid to let those farts fly.
- Identifies food allergies:
When you eat a food to which you have an allergy or intolerance, your body will produce symptoms to let you know the digestive tract is upset. These symptoms may include diarrhea, nausea, bloating, and gas.
If you routinely experience excess gas after eating certain foods, your body may be trying to tell you the food is upsetting. Talk with a doctor about your symptoms. They may order tests or help you develop an elimination diet to find out which food or foods is causing the excess gas and other symptoms.
- Shows your gut’s healthy:
Extra toots could be the price of a healthier gut microbiome. Good gut health and a thriving colony of bacteria produce more gas. That’s because these bacteria can eat and break down food in your stomach and intestines more easily. While that may produce excess gas, it’s a good sign one that tells you all is well in your digestive tract.
- Reducing bloated stomach:
Too much gas in your digestive tract can cause bloating, or a feeling of swelling and fullness. It can be uncomfortable, but it’s rarely dangerous. Relieving gas as the urge arises can help reduce bloating and any symptoms along with it.
- Holding it in has no side effects:
It was previously believed that holding in farts is bad for your health. Not so! Studies have found that it’s okay to hold in a fart, it’s just pretty uncomfortable. Doing so causes unnecessary stomach cramps and pain. Keeping the gas inside won’t make it smell worse either. So, if you have to fart, let it out! Unless you’re around your crush and you can’t. Then hold it until you’re on your own and can let go.
- Highly flammable:
It’s a common gag joke that farts are flammable, but they really actually are! The methane and hydrogen that is in a bacteria-produced fart makes them very flammable. It’s very dangerous, so please don’t stick lighters near your butt.
- Farting while sleeping is super common:
Because, when you’re knocked out, how could you ever hope to hold that in? You can’t! Therefore, you potentially risk a newly-snagged sexual conquest overhearing your unconscious butt trumpet. That is, if you don’t hear them first because, sleep farting is very normal.
Remember that what’s normal for one person isn’t necessarily normal for another. If you notice any worrying changes, such as painful bloating, increased wind (while following your usual diet) or abnormal-smelling gas, talk to your doctor. At this stage, you need to rule out any underlying digestive conditions, such as IBS, lactose intolerance and coeliac disease, before making drastic and potentially futile changes to your already healthy diet. Of course, it’s vital to seek help when gas starts to interfere with your quality of life.