There is probably nothing more embarrassing to talk about than the subject of gas.
Perhaps early memories of grade school come to mind, in which you were put into an awkward and uncomfortable position due to gas. Perhaps you feel anxiety about the building pressure of gas during a date, or during an important meeting with your boss.
It’s those kind of memories that stick with you for the rest of your life, and trust me-- we’ve all been there.
But why is it that we are so embarrassed by the subject of gas? It’s totally natural and everyone experiences it...so why all the fear and anxiety when the urge comes upon us?
Today we will be talking about the subject of gas, your body and you.
What is gas, and how did I get it into my body?
Let’s jump right in.
Natural gas occurs when air gets trapped or created within the body. That air has to go somewhere, so it travels and tries to work itself out of your system by escaping through either end of your digestive system--your mouth or your anus.
While you may be giggling by this point (har-har, Dr. Dhruv totally just said ‘anus’, how funny), the most important thing to note is that it is completely and totally natural to feel gas inside of you and to have the desire to release that gas.
Gas is created within you by either swallowing too much air, or by your food creating air and gases during its breakdown process.
For example, eating too fast is one way to give yourself extra gas. Eating quickly can create pockets of air that become trapped within your food as you chew it, and swallowing that mouthful brings that trapped air into your system. Past that, air and gas are created in your system as the food in your body breaks down and ferments.
Foods that are harder to break down tend to give off more gas than others because they are being fermented in your system longer-- a chemical process that produces gas due to the reaction of your gut bacteria breaking down the food.
Is gas a bad sign?
No, gas is not a sign that you are unhealthy.
Gas happens within all of us, and is actually healthy, as it is a sign that your gut bacteria is working to break down food just as it should.
The average person feels the need to release gas anywhere between 10 to 20 different times a day, and that’s both men and women. When it comes to gender, many would like to believe that women feel the need to release gas less often than men, but on average the urge to release gas is approximately about the same for both genders.
Why does some gas smell foul?
Some of the gases that are created within our bodies are that of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen and sometimes methane, and all are in fact necessary for our bodies to give off. It is when foods rich in sulfur mix in with our body's hydrogen that our gas can take on that rather pungent aroma.
Our entire digestive tract is lined with bacteria, as we have covered before here on the Freshly Blended Blog, and those bacteria all mix in with the food that passes through us and works to break it down.
Which foods create foul smelling gas?
Foods that already contain sulfur in some element are the biggest causes for aroma-bearing flatulence. These foods, when broken down and mixed with the bacteria in your body create hydrogen-sulfide. This gas is what is responsible for the foul smell.
Foods that tend to cause this reaction are (but are not limited to) eggs, cauliflower, kale, cabbage brussel sprouts, garlic, onions and also meats.
Dairy is also a group of foods that are often responsible for foul smelling flatulence, as many people do not possess the proper enzymes to break down dairy foods. This inability to break down the dairy causes it to remain in your system longer to ferment-- which creates more gas.
So, should you hold it or just let it out?
Feeling the urge to pass gas is completely natural, and everyone does it.
But, there are times in which you may not want to relieve yourself from the building pressure inside of you, and you decide to hold it in. It’s not at all uncommon for us to try and hold it in, as it can possibly lead to embarrassment.
A romantic date with your significant other, a boardroom meeting, or a long and crowded elevator ride... all can be possible places you may feel embarrassed to let out some of that trapped air.
No, there is nothing intrinsically dangerous that can happen for the average person who decides to hold it all in. Are you are making yourself unnecessarily uncomfortable, though? Yes.
Holding in that building pressure can lead to abdominal pain and possibly even some mild bloating, but understandably, there are times where you simply don't want to let it out.
Know that, however, your body will eventually let that excess air out at some point, like it or not. All it takes is for you to let your guard down for just a second --and all that air will come rushing out.
...so maybe it’s better for you to let it out as the urge comes in small doses, avoiding a large buildup.
Again, it’s all natural and completely normal to have gas. It’s when you have too much gas far too often that you should reach out to your primary physician for some specific advice.
To sum up: when you feel that you have gas, just let it out. Either excuse yourself and go off in private, or just let it out as it comes. You’ll cut down on unnecessary abdominal pain, and avoid that building sensation of discomfort that comes from holding it all in all day.
Doucleff, M. "Got Gas? It Could Mean You've Got Healthy Gut Microbes." NPR.org. N. p., 2014. Web. 16 Jan. 2018.
"Why Do We Fart?." University of Bergen. N. p., 2018. Web. 16 Jan. 2018.
Anthony, K.. "Smelly Farts: 6 Causes And Prevention Methods." Healthline. 2017..
Whelan, C.. "How To Get Rid Of Gas, Pains, And Bloating." Healthline. 2017.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with questions regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. This article is for general information only.