If you keep one inside too long, it can bubble up to your mouth instead (and no, we don’t mean a burp).
Anybody who has ever ridden in an elevator, carpooled, or stayed over at a new partner’s home for the night has tried to hold in a fart. This is a God honest truth. In some cases, it works: Other times, the pressure builds too much, and your butt lets forth with a sound like upset zoo animals forcibly deflating a zeppelin. So, what is happening down there?
According to gastroenterologist Dr. Satish S.C. Rao, your body is going to fight you all the way to let out that excess gas, and it’s a fight your gut is going to win. “The gas in your gut is a mix of nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane and trace gasses like hydrogen sulphide and some other volatile gasses,” he says. “Some of these, like hydrogen, methane and oxygen, can be absorbed by the gut, but nitrogen cannot be absorbed, and the body will find a method to eliminate it. Sooner or later, it’s going to come back at you– it’ll get stronger and stronger until the bowel intensely contracts to overcome the anal sphincter resistance.”
The really bad news? By keeping in the fart, all you’ve really done is make it more powerful.
As the volume of gas increases, the pressure builds, and what ultimately escapes is the initial fart’s louder, smellier big brother. “If there is a significant volume of gas, the anus will distend quickly in respond,” says Rao. “The anal sphincter will have very little holding ability– it’ll have some, but truly not a lot. Ultimately, it will make its escape.”
However, wait, it gets worse! Not all gas is expelled through the anus:
Some will come out of your mouth. While Rao fasts to explain that there are many more likely explanations for foul breath– consisting of issues with dental hygiene; fermentation brought on by bacteria in the mouth; problems with the sinus; and chronic infections in the lungs– there are 2 ways in which your gas can impact your breath.
The first of these is when gas is absorbed through the lining of the gut into the bloodstream. From there, it makes its way to the lungs, and is then exhaled.
The other way is much more gross, as it involves gas actually bubbling up from your intestines and coming out as a burp (unlike your normal burps, which are comprised of considerably less smelly gas from the stomach). “If you have eaten a carbohydrate-rich meal, this will be fermented in the small intestine [the area immediately linked to the stomach, which leads to the large intestine],” states Rao.
“You’ll burp this gas out.” That’s because, at this moment in the digestive process, the gas is still much closer to your mouth than your rectum– where gas from the large intestine is expelled– and so it takes the path of least resistance. “When you do this, this fermented gas is going to smell like fermented gas,” says Rao. Simply put: Fart-burps. We’re sorry to have actually ruin your day.
Passing gas, aka farting, also has some significant benefits to your health. Below are 7 benefits of farting:
- It Lowers Bloating
- It Benefits Your Colon Health
- It’s An Outstanding Early Warning System
- The Odor Benefits You
- It Can Help You Balance Your Diet
- It Indicates Healthy, Happy Gut Bacteria
- It’s A Huge Relief
Let’s face it; there is no better feeling than releasing a long-held fart. Sure, the actual act of farting might be awkward if you’re caught by the wrong person, but the relief of passing gas is worth it. Holding in gas can make you grumpy, uncomfortable, and snappish; of course, releasing improves your mood considerably!