11 Bizarre Facts About Farting We Bet You Didn’t Know
You let about 14 rip a day—and you secretly like the smell of your own (or at least you don't mind it).
There are more than 100 ways to say you farted
Flatulence is the proper one; pass gas or break wind are pretty polite too. You might also “cut one” while your kids “toot.” And then there are the slang terms that even made us giggle: anal acoustics, cheek flapper, fog slicer, and strangle the stank monkey. However you choose to call your intestinal gas, it’s created when you swallow air and when bacteria in your large intestine breaks down certain undigested foods. Sometimes that extra air comes out as a burp; when it’s expelled south of the belly, the gas is called flatus. You might be surprised about the foods that cause gas.
You let about 14 rip a day
Before doth protest too much, that’s a completely normal number of farts for most people. Maybe you like to eat beans, Brussels sprouts, or bran—all notorious gas producers. More than 20 farts a day, however, could be a sign of another GI problem, such as a lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, or GERD. Here’s why holding in farts may be bad for your health.
Blame the stank on sulfur
Most of the gas you expel is an odorless mix of vapors—carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sometimes methane. But when bacteria in your large intestine acts on carbohydrates (like sugar, starches, and fiber) that aren’t absorbed in the small intestine or stomach, it also releases a small amount of sulfur compounds. That teeny bit emits a big stinky stank. No doubt as least one of those doozies will escape in the company of others. Here’s how to handle it when you fart in public.
Tatiana Ayazo /Rd.com
You can buy fart-filtering undies…
Yup, it’s a thing now. A company in the UK designed these boxers and briefs with an activated carbon back panel that supposedly absorbs all flatulence odors. A quick search on a big shopping site found another version: disposable carbon pads that you strategically stick on your underwear or pants to neutralize smells. As wacky as it sounds, there’s a little science, ahem, behind it: a study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found briefs made from carbon fiber are effective at absorbing rectal gases, and pads remove up to 77 percent of the odor.
Or download fart sounds and apps
Because of course there’s an app for that. Oddly, there are many, many apps that recreate the sounds of flatulence. Your own, however, depends on a few factors: the speed at which the gas is expelled from your body, and the tightness of your sphincter—or butthole—muscles.
Chewing gum makes you fart…
Consider this a double-whammy for intestinal gas: The mere act of chewing the gum causes you to swallow more air. Sometimes you’ll burp it out; other times it’ll work its way down into your intestines and out the other end. Plus, those minty sticks are artificially sweetened with sorbitol, xylitol, or other types of sugar alcohols that your body can’t absorb. As these indigestible sugars are broken down, gas is produced, bloating occurs, and farting ensues. Sugar-free cookies, candies, and ice cream are no better. Overdo it on sugar alcohols, and you can add diarrhea to the list of no-fun effects. GI docs avoid artificial sweeteners for this exact reason; here are seven more foods that can upset your stomach.
So does flying on airplanes
There’s a scientific name for this awful phenomenon: HAFE, or High Altitude Flatus Expulsion—a term use by researchers who found that mountain climbers fart more at higher altitudes. The same kind of thing may happen on a plane: Changes in cabin pressure can cause air in your intestines to expand, leaving you bloated and gassy. The worst part: About 50 percent of cabin air is recycled, so the stinker will likely linger. To be a good seat-mate, avoid these foods before your next flight.
There’s a professional farter…
His name is Mr. Methane, and no, we’re not making it up. He bills himself as the world’s only performing flatulist and farts to the tunes of well-known songs. He’s taken his act on TV, and even almost won a German talent show. You know you’re curious.
…and there’s a Guinness record for whoopee cushions
No, it’s not farting exactly—but it’s the next best thing. The most whoopee cushions sat on in one minute is 84 and was achieved by a British man in September 2015.
Some people are sexually aroused by farts
The term for it is eproctophilia, and feel free to file it under “to each his own.” In other somewhat surprising news, research suggests that dropping a bomb during sex many not kill the mood. A survey from the University of California San Francisco-East Bay found 43 percent of women reported that they’d experienced “flatal incontinence” within the previous three months, but it didn’t stop them from having sex. Either way, here’s how to get rid of flatulence naturally.
Go ahead: Admit that you like the smell of your own gas
You’re so not alone, and science can help explain why: Simply put, “the more familiar you are with something, whether it be a song, picture, or even a smell, the more likely you are to prefer it,” according to the YouTube series ASAPScience.
And the bacteria in your body that makes your breath, sweat, and fart that smells gross to others is unique, familiar, and not-at-all gross to us. Check out what your body odor reveals about your health.