Does holding your farts in harm you?
In this recent publication by Ara Sahakian and his colleagues at the Gastroenterology division of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in LA, they reviewed a variety of publications related to flatulence and determined that in fact the gases produced by our gut might damage the gastrointestinal tract.
Even though methane (CH4) only makes up 7.2% of the 400-1,200mL of gases we emit per day, their literature review suggested it was likely to cause the most harm, along with hydrogen sulphide (H2S). Both these gases are present in greater amounts in patients’ breath tests (yup - gas escapes through your mouth too!) who have gastrointestinal diseases, including colon cancer.
The authors were cautious to state that, “Evidence is now accumulating to suggest that methanogenic organisms and their gaseous by-products may actively participate in control of intestinal motor function,” though they emphasized, “Clearly, further investigation in this area is required.”
Certainly something to consider next time you’re going to reinforce the negative cultural reactions often exhibited towards flatulence. I’m sure we can all agree though: Never on the Elevator.
Photo credit: DailyHaha.com