Have you ever been in a situation where passing wind is going to be hugely embarrassing and you’ve had to hold in a fart?
Let’s face it – we all have.
But the gas can’t stay trapped forever, and it could even be damaging for your digestive health to prevent it from escaping.
The totally natural – but potentially humiliating – release is caused by gases created when your food and drink are digested, or when you swallow air.
And if the gas isn’t given its usual way out it can be reabsorbed by the body, some of it can escape through the mouth, or after time it can escape as an uncontrollable fart.
Clare Collins, a professor in 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 hold them in:
Flatus, farts and breaking wind refer to intestinal gases that enter the rectum due to the body’s usual gastrointestinal processes of digestion and metabolism and then leave via the anus.
As your body digests food in the small intestine, components that can’t be broken down move further along the gastrointestinal tract and eventually into the large intestine called the colon.
Intestinal bacteria break down some of the contents by fermentation.