There's a few mixed opinions when it comes to gas. Many moms will tell you to hold it in until you get to a bathroom, while others will give you the old-age wisdom of "better out than in." But according to a dietetics and nutrition expert, you should probably just let it go. Why? If you don't, the fart could come out of your mouth instead.
University of Newcastle's Professor Clare Collins says that holding in trapped wind may cause abdominal distension, "with some gas reabsorbed into the circulation and exhaled in your breath." Writing for The Conversation, Collins explained why holding it in is futile.
"Holding on too long means the build up of intestinal gas will eventually escape via an uncontrollable fart."
Not only that, but holding in a fart could cause a condition called diverticulitis, which leads to small pouches developing in the gut lining and becoming inflamed.
"The next time you feel a large volume of intestinal gas getting ready to do what it does, try to move to a more convenient location. Whether you make it there or not, the best thing for your digestive health is to just let it go."
Collins explains that farting is completely natural and the average person produces around 700ml of gas over a day, though this can be as high as 1,500 ml depending on the person.
"Men and women produced about the same amount of gas," she explains. "And averaged eight flatus episodes (individual or a series of farts) over 24 hours."
Most gas comes from two sources. The first is swallowing air; "...from carbon dioxide produced when stomach acid mixes with bicarbonate in the small intestine." The second is bacteria, "gasses can be produced by bacteria that are located in the large intestine."
The moral of this story? Just let it go.
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