Have you ever been in a situation in which the wind that passes you will be tremendously embarrassing and have had to endure a fart?
Let's face it, we all have it.
But the gas can not be trapped forever, and could even be harmful to your digestive health to prevent it from escaping.
The all-natural, but potentially humiliating, release is caused by gases created when food and beverages are digested, or when air is ingested.
And if the gas does not get its usual output, it can be reabsorbed by the body, part of it can escape through the mouth or, after a while, it can escape like an uncontrollable fart.
Clare Collins, professor of nutrition and dietetics at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, writes for The Conversation to explain what farts are and what happens if you have them in:
Holding a fart for a long time can cause the body to reabsorb gas, which means part of it can be exhaled through the mouth, or it can accumulate to the point where it escapes the rectum uncontrollably, explains nutrition expert Clare Collins.
Flatus, farts, and breaking wind refer to intestinal gas that enters the rectum due to the body's usual gastrointestinal processes of digestion and metabolism and then exits through the anus.
As your body digests food in the small intestine, the components that can not be broken down move further along the gastrointestinal tract and eventually into the large intestine called the colon.
The intestinal bacteria decompose some of the contents by fermentation.
This process produces gases and byproducts called fatty acids that are reabsorbed and used in metabolic pathways related to immunity and prevention of the development of the disease.
The gases can be reabsorbed through the intestinal wall into the circulation and eventually exhaled through the lungs or excreted through the rectum, like a fart.
Trying to maintain it leads to an accumulation of pressure and greater discomfort.
An accumulation of intestinal gas can trigger abdominal distension, with some gas reabsorbed in the circulation and exhaled in the breath.
Keeping too much time means that the buildup of intestinal gas will eventually escape through an uncontrollable fart.
The investigation does not clarify if the increase of the pressure in the rectum increases the probability of developing a condition called diverticulitis, in which small pockets develop in the intestinal lining and become inflamed, or if it does not matter.
How much farting is normal?
It can be a challenge for researchers to get people to register for experiments that measure farts.
But fortunately, 10 healthy adults volunteered to quantify the amount of gas that passed during a day.
In a 24-hour period, all the gases that were expelled were collected through a rectal catheter.
They ate normally, but to guarantee an increase in gas production they also had to eat 200 grams, or half a large can, of cooked beans.
The participants produced a median total volume of 705 ml of gas in 24 hours, but ranged from 476 ml to 1490 ml per person.
Researchers gave people who participated in a study half a can of baked beans to "increase gas production", and one study found that neither men nor women fart significantly more than men. others
Hydrogen gas was produced in the largest volume (361 ml for 24 hours), followed by carbon dioxide (68 ml / 24 h).
Only three adults produced methane, which ranged from 3 ml / 24 to 120 ml / 24 h. The remaining gases, which are mostly nitrogen, contributed approximately 213 ml / 24 h.
Men and women produced approximately the same amount of gas and averaged eight flatus episodes (single or a series of farts) for 24 hours.
The volume varied between 33 and 125 ml per fart, with greater amounts of intestinal gas released in the hour after meals.
The gas also occurred while they were asleep, but at half the rate compared to during the day (median 16 ml / h versus 34 ml / h).
More fiber produces more gas?
In a study on dietary fiber and flatus, the researchers investigated what happens with the production of intestinal gas when people are put on a diet high in fiber.
The researchers managed to get 10 healthy adult volunteers to eat their usual diet for seven days while consuming 30 grams of psyllium, a source of plant seed fiber, daily as a source of soluble fiber, or not.
In the psyllium week, they were asked to add 10 grams, approximately one heaping tablespoon, to each meal.
At the end of each week, the participants were taken to the laboratory and, in a carefully controlled experiment, an intra-rectal catheter was inserted to quantify how the gas moved through the intestine for a couple of hours.
They found that the diet high in psyllium fiber led to longer initial gas retention, but the volume stayed the same, meaning less larger farts.
Where do the gases come from?
The gas in the intestines comes from different sources. It can be by swallowing air.
Or the carbon dioxide produced when the stomach acid mixes with the bicarbonate in the small intestine.
Or gases can be produced by bacteria found in the large intestine.
While it is believed that these gases perform specific tasks that have an impact on health, producing excessive intestinal gas can cause swelling, pain, bowel sounds (which means rumbling noises), belching and many farts.
The most odorous farts are due to gases that contain sulfur.
This was confirmed in a study of 16 healthy adults who were fed pinto beans and lactulose, a non-absorbable carbohydrate that is fermented in the colon.
The smell intensity of flatus samples was evaluated by two judges.
The good news was that in a follow-up experiment, researchers identified that a carbon-lined cushion could help smother the odor of sulfur gases.
Finally, some bad news for jet-setters: pressurized cabins on airplanes mean that you are more likely to pass flat because the volume of gas expands to the lowest pressure in the cabin, compared to being in soil.
With the modern features of noise reduction, your fellow passengers are more likely than they used to hear you farting.
The next time you feel that a large volume of intestinal gas is preparing to do what it does, try moving to a more convenient location.
Whether you do it there or not, the best thing for your digestive health is to just let it go.