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Why Do People Fart?

What would you say was your most embarrassing moment? I reckon that we all have one-if we think hard enough.

Fox News has some of the prettiest female presenters and anchors in the world. One was on air on this particular day. She was in the middle of some riveting news when she suddenly 

let out a loud and rude fart! The whole studio-and indeed her entire international audience-fell into silence and maybe shock for a few seconds…

I watched with sympathetic embarrassment as she tried to excuse herself with a sheepish grin and incoherent words. And then she farted again! The clearest words from her lips were: “Oh my!...”

I don’t know whether she got to keep her job.


We All Do It.

I think many of us have been caught in a fart at one time or another, and in some unexpected place. Well, farting, first of all, is normal and healthy, and sometimes even fun! But some people tend to break out farts more frequently than usual. I haven’t mentioned the smell too: Oh…my! We admitted a patient a while ago due to intestinal bleeding. He farted once, and everyone left the building!



In Medicine, flatulence refers to the act of passing gas (flatus) from the intestines through the mouth, called belching; and through the anus, commonly called farting, or “breaking wind”.


Physiology of Flatulence

Flatus is mainly produced by the normal bacteria in the intestines as they ferment the food particles there. A small percentage of intestinal gas also comes from the gas in certain foods. On rare occasions, people also swallow air while eating: this is called aerophagia.

A tiny fraction of this flatus gives it the characteristic less-than-desirable smell and is made of Hydrogen Sulphide among few other compounds.

In normal people, hence, flatulence is the body’s way of getting rid of waste in gaseous form-just that it often happens accidentally during laughter, coughing, sneezing…or during an orgasm!

That funny sound it makes is caused by the forceful passage of gas through a firm anus orifice (the anal sphincter) and also perhaps closely apposed buttocks.



When Farting Stops Being Funny…

Some people come to see the doctor because they just can’t stop farting or belching. This could be caused by:

Excess air swallowing from chewing gum; smoking; not chewing food thoroughly; taking hot and fizzy drinks, et cetera…;

Some foods, especially carbohydrates, pass undigested into the large intestines where bacteria act on them, producing gas. They include beans, broccoli, cabbage, raisins, apples and onions.

Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol in chewing gum and slimming products are also notorious.

Obesity and lack of exercise are also conditions that favour flatulence.

Some other health conditions that are marked by flatulence include: lactose intolerance; irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); gastroenteritis and diabetes;

Some people have had hormonal problems like thyroid disease and diabetes for years, and don’t even know it!

Drugs: Pain killers like ibuprofen; some antibiotics; laxatives and several other medications can bring flatulence along with them as a side effect.


Your To-Do List

You may want to cut down a bit on foods known to give you gas;

Fizzy drinks are really not a part of healthy nutrition. Slash those too!

Develop an exercise regimen: start low, go slow, and work it up over days till you have a regular 30 minutes-a-day of exercise. Try some brisk walking;


Hydration, hydration, HYDRATION! Drink water;

Discuss this problem with your doctor, who’ll help you get to the bottom of it early.


And that’s it, folks. Feel free to share your stories with us. And you can send in special topics you’d like us to write about.

Do enjoy yourselves.



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