Why you should not hold your farts

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Retaining intestinal gas can cause serious digestive disorders, warns an expert in nutrition and dietetics from Newcastle University.

Have you ever held your farts by fear of being embarrassed? Most likely yes. However, this simple act may not be as inoffensive as it seems. Clare Collins, an expert in nutrition and dietetics at Newcastle University in England, warns against the “boomerang effect” of this habit, in an article published in The Conversation: reabsorbing ones intestinal gas creates a buildup of gas that in the long run can create distention of the intestine and result in an uncontrollable gas.

“Holding your gas too long creates intestinal gas buildup that will eventually escape through an uncontrollable fart,” says Professor Collins.

The expert also speculates that reabsorbing these flatulence can cause diverticulosis, a condition that affects the colon or large intestine. A conjecture that remains to be demonstrated scientifically, recognizes the dietician.

The gases are derived from digestion process. When foods are broken down in the small intestine, rests are evacuated through the colon. The undigested pieces are decomposed by fermentation in contact with bacteria. It is this process that is the source of intestinal gas. Some are reabsorbed by the intestinal wall into the bloodstream to be exhaled by the lungs while others are evacuate through the anus, and create flatulence.

On average, one person releases 0.5 to 2 L of gas a day, 12 to 25 times. Poorly tolerated foods or dietary imbalances can cause bloating and flatulence in people with sensitive intestines.

Andrei Santov

Andrei, a sociologist by profession, born in Russia but currently located in UK, covers mostly European and Russia-related news for The Talking Democrat.