advertisement
29 January 2009

Breaking wind

The topic of endless schoolboy jokes, it can be intensely embarrassing when you break wind involuntarily.

0

The topic of endless schoolboy jokes, it can be intensely embarrassing when it happens involuntarily. It caused Nasa some concerns in the 60s, when engineers speculated that the build-up of astronaut gases might cause an explosion in one of the spacecraft. Their research revealed that the average bloke emits about 200ml of gas a day, but that some produce up to two litres.

The gas is produced mainly by bicarbonate in your saliva combining with acids during digestion to produce carbon dioxide gas. The digestion process also produces nitrogen, methane and hydrogen gas, and small amounts of sulphur gas which have a smell out of all proportion to their presence in the gut. Bacteria in the lower bowel thrive on carbohydrate-rich foods, which ferment to produce pungent farts.

To reduce your risk of being a biological hazard:

  • Wash all pulses such as beans, peas and lentils thoroughly before cooking them;
  • Avoid chewing gum and drinking carbonated drinks, and don’t gulp down hot beverages;
  • Get regular exercise;
  • Take a charcoal tablet before each meal. Charcoal absorbs the smell and passes through your system without being absorbed;
  • Carry a box of matches. Lighting one every time your trousers cough neutralises the smell. We don’t advise this in a spacecraft, but it’s fine at home.

(William Smook, Health24, updated January 2009)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

ManYour body
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Are you sure? »

Aid your digestion What are digestive disorders?

Are you really constipated?

Many people think that if they do not have two or more bowel movements every single day of their lives they are constipated. This is patently not true, writes DietDoc.

True of False? »

SEE: How anaphylactic shock affects your body

Stop believing these 10 allergy myths

Do you still believe that hay fever is caused by hay? Or that food allergies are really common? No, and no again. We bust 10 myths about allergies.