Verbal Flatulence

Clare Collins, a professor of nutrition at the University of Newcastle in Australia, has recently been making headlines for an article she wrote in The Conversation in which she claimed that if you hold in a fart too long some of it will eventually come out your mouth:

Trying to hold it in leads to a build up of pressure and major discomfort. A build up of intestinal gas can trigger abdominal distension, with some gas reabsorbed into the circulation and exhaled in your breath. Holding on too long means the build up of intestinal gas will eventually escape via an uncontrollable fart.

To back up this claim she cites a 2010 article in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences, and this article does indeed say this:

Both H2 and CH4 are thought to be produced exclusively by anaerobic fermentation in the gut. These gases can then traverse the intestinal mucosa and be absorbed into the systemic circulation. Once in the circulation, the only known source of clearance of these two gases is via the lungs. One study found that the volume of H2 present in the bowel of ten normal subjects averaged 0.24 ml/min in the fasting state. This rate sharply increased upon instillation of lactulose, to a mean peak rate of 1.6 ml/min. It was found that 14% of total H2 produced was excreted via the lungs and that breath H2 excretion correlated well with total H2 production. Another much more physiological study of hydrogen production and excretion found that overall 58% of H2 is excreted in the breath.

However, it's hydrogen sulfide, H2S, that makes farts smell, and according to the article, this isn't excreted in your breath: "Once in circulation, H2S is excreted primarily by the kidneys as free or conjugated sulfate."
     Posted By: Alex - Sat Oct 06, 2018
     Category: Science | Flatulence

In the future, maybe you could capture the H2 and use it to power your car.
Posted by Joshua Zev Levin, Ph.D. on 10/06/18 at 10:39 AM
And this, of course, is why ladies don't fart in the first place.
Posted by Richard Bos on 10/06/18 at 11:13 AM
I think fart retention was covered in an episode of South Park.
Posted by Virtual on 10/06/18 at 01:08 PM
A sigh is but a spout of wind
coming from the heart.
But should it take the downward course
tis often called a fart.

To fart it is a pleasure
it gives the bowels ease.
It scents and warms the bedclothes
and suffocates the fleas.
Posted by BMN on 10/06/18 at 10:52 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.