What Happens If... You Hold In A Fart?

Holding in a fart, sometimes, feels an absolute necessity.

Not all (read: most) social settings are appropriate for you to let one free or for you to run to the nearest toilet to do the right thing.

Farts are, of course, a natural part of digestion so it’s not safe to just never let them out.

But, are there are any real health consequences to just clenching your cheeks together and hoping for the best?

US health information website, Healthline, explains that if you keep one in, some of the gas from the fart will then be “reabsorbed” into your circulatory system.

Then it goes into your lungs – and yes, it’s about to get grosser – and into the pulmonary circulation system, before being expelled via...exhalation.

But: this is not a mouth fart.

It’s just gas which would have contributed to the fart coming out via a... different route. It will not taste of anything.

Farts are made up of swallowed air and gas released by bacteria in your colon, from undigested carbohydrates. In fact, 75% comes from this bacteria which hasn’t been able to break down some of your meals.

“It smells bad due to the breakdown of various foods into certain gases, primarily sulphur containing gases.

“These aren’t reabsorbed by your body,” Healthline explained.

The rest of the fart usually contains hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane, gases which don’t smell.

And while you might think it’s therefore OK to just hold in a ripe one because it will just get diverted to your mouth (grim), it might also cause you to bloat, or  trigger a lot of burping.

It’s also likely to be uncomfortable especially if there’s a build-up of a lot of gas. Think cramping, think pain.

Then there’s the risk it could cause diverticulitis, a digestive condition where pouches form in your digestive tract which can then become inflamed and infected.

So, it’s pretty important to let out a fart when one comes knocking – as Dr Karan Rajan pointed out in this viral TikTok two years ago...

He said people fart 14 times a day on average, with the average daily fart volume being enough to “fill a medium sized balloon”.

Elsewhere on his page, the viral doctor also said the first trump of the day is usually the largest, and that most farts travel at around 7mph.

The more you know, hey?