Every culture laughs at farts

An expert explains what can happen if you keep farts in for too long

Everyone has gone through certain tricky situations. This certainly includes holding on to a fart for an uncomfortably long time. Who knows, maybe a few of you are shoving a fart right now.

Regardless of whether you are on a date, are out with "classy" people, are in a meeting at work, there are countless scenarios in which you would rather accept a stomach ache than embarrass yourself. A question may have sprung into your head: Is it actually unhealthy to refrain from farts?

Clare Collins works in Australia as Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the School of Health Sciences at Newcastle University. According to her own statement, she first seriously dealt with suppressing farts after a caller had spoken to her about it during a radio interview. Collins did research and found her findings so interesting that she had to share them with the world. The result: an article with the sonorous headline "Health Check: what happens when you hold in a fart?"

In the article, Collins covers everything you ever wanted to know about the phenomenon that turns your bum into a horn. For example, the average volume of gas that the body produces in 24 hours is 705 milliliters. We fart more on the plane because the lower air pressure causes the gas to expand. And a high-fiber diet means that we fart less, but much more cracking. But what exactly happens when the bowel winds disappear? We contacted Collins to find out.


Also at VICE: You Don't Know Shit


VICE: Myth after myth about withheld farts. Which of them is the furthest off?
Clare Collins: That you can hold back flatulence 100 percent. And oh yes, really everyone has to fart, there are no exceptions.

What advice would you give to people who don't want to fart on a date?
Don't eat anything an hour or two before the date. In the 60 minutes after ingesting food, you are more likely than usual to experience intestinal winds. In addition, you shouldn't run to the date, because this moves the gases in the intestinal tract.

When can you no longer hold back farts?
I can not say exactly. Many factors play a role here. How much gas is it? How strong are the sphincter and butt muscles?

"Some of the gases are absorbed by the body and then escape through the airways."

Is there a health risk if you squeeze bowel winds?
It has not yet been established whether or not this leads to diverticulitis. This is a condition in which small bumps form on the intestinal wall from the pressure. These can ignite.

Why I would also not recommend making an art out of swallowing: Some of the gases are absorbed by the body and then get outside through the airways. And who wants bad breath?

Wait, are we basically just exhaling some of the farts that are being held back? How exactly does it work?
The gases enter the bloodstream through the intestinal wall. When the blood travels towards the lungs to dump the CO2, it throws the gases out of the intestine with it. And so we then breathe it out.

Does a fart smell bad if it comes out above instead of below?
In any case.

Is it important to research this topic scientifically?
In my opinion, it helps a lot to do some basic research. For example, our research has shown what volume of gas is normal and what role these gases play in our health.

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