We’ve all been there. You’re out at a play, at a fancy dinner party or in the confines of an elevator, and you feel an ominous gurgling in your lower abdomen — oh no, impending flatulence! So what do you do? You clench your butt cheeks together and hold on for dear life—tighter than they’ve ever squeezed before—until the pressure subsides and the demon gas bubble swiftly retreats back into the intestinal labyrinth from whence it came. You breathe a sigh of relief. That was close.
But what happens when you hold in a fart? It doesn’t just disappear, right?
The answer is going to make you never want to hold your farts in again.
What happens when you hold in a fart?
When we hold in a fart, one of two things happen. Either you hold your gas in for so long that it comes out in one uncontrollable, massive release, or it gets reabsorbed into your body.
Does that not sound so bad? Well, when your gas gets reabsorbed, it doesn’t just hang out in your intestines. No, it’s much worse. The excess gas needs to escape the body somehow, so it gets recirculated until it is able to exit the body via your breath.
Do you really want to be exhaling your farts? My guess is no! That’s why the best thing to do to avoid bloating, discomfort, mega farts, and fart breath is to politely let it pass when you feel the urge.
Farting is nothing to be ashamed of. We all do it. In fact, the average person passes gas anywhere between 14 to 23 times per day!
According to a recent study of 10 healthy volunteers, each person produced enough gas within a 24 hour period to fill anywhere between 16-50 fluid ounces. That’s one to three pints of pure farts per person! You definitely don’t want that hanging around in your intestines. (It’s important to note that the volunteers were fed seven ounces of baked beans to ensure peak gassiness.)
There’s no getting around it. You have to embrace your flatulence. Have you hoped that if you hold it in, then the gas will just pass without embarrassment at night, when you and everyone else is asleep? Unfortunately, you may not be that lucky.
In research, people tend to pass half as much gas during their sleeping hours as they do during the day. You’re more likely to experience immense buildup and bloating throughout the night, only to let a major one rip in the morning, which could potentially be more embarrassing (and smelly) than just passing small amounts of gas as it comes.
Your best course of action? Avoid the horrors of monster farts and recycled fart breath by simply passing your gas discretely and politely when you feel the urge. A little toot now and then never hurt anyone, right?