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I've been instructed not to speak on the matter. However, Wikipedia will speak on my behalf.

Flatulence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

(Redirected from Farts)

 

 

 

Flatulence is the presence of a mixture of gases known as flatus that are produced by symbiotic bacteria and yeasts living in the gastrointestinal tract of mammals. Flatulence is released under pressure through the anus with a characteristic sound and offensive odor. Releasing flatulence is colloquially known as farting; the back-formation to flatulate is also in common usage.

 

Amount and constituents

 

The average human releases 0.5 to 1.5 litres (1 to 3 U.S. pints) of flatus in 12 to 25 episodes throughout the day. The primary constituents of flatulence are the non-odorous gases nitrogen (ingested), oxygen (ingested), methane (produced by anaerobic microbes), carbon dioxide (produced by aerobic microbes or ingested), and hydrogen (produced by some microbes and consumed by others). Odors result from trace amounts of other components (often sulphur containing, see below) and nitroglycerin.

 

Nitrogen is the primary gas released. Methane and hydrogen, lesser components, are flammable, and so flatulence is susceptible to catching fire. Gas released mostly has a foul odor which mainly results from low molecular weight fatty acids such as butyric acid (rancid butter smell) and reduced sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) and carbonyl sulfide that are the result of protein breakdown. The incidence of odoriferous compounds in flatus increases from herbivores, such as cattle, to omnivores to carnivorous species, such as cats.

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Causes

 

Intestinal gas is composed of 90% exogenous sources (air that is ingested through the nose and mouth) and 10% endogenous sources (gas is produced within the digestive tract). The endogenous gases are produced as a by-product of digesting certain types of food. Flatulence producing foods are typically high in complex carbohydrates (especially oligosaccharides such as inulin) and include beans, milk, onions, yams (sweet potatoes), citrus rinds, cheese, chestnuts, cashews, broccoli, cabbage, Jerusalem artichokes, oat, yeast in breads, etc.

 

In beans, endogenous gases seem to arise from oligosaccharides, carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion: these pass through the upper intestine largely unchanged, and when they reach the lower intestine, bacteria feed on them, producing copious amounts of gas (McGee 1984 pp.257–8).

 

In the case of those with lactose intolerance, intestinal bacteria feeding on lactose can give rise to excessive gas production when milk or lactose-containing substances have been consumed.

 

Interest in the causes of flatulence was spurred by high-altitude flight and the space program; the low atmospheric pressure, confined conditions, and stresses peculiar to those endeavours were cause for concern (McGee, 1984 pp.257–8).

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Mechanism of action

 

The noises commonly associated with flatulence are caused by the vibration of the anal opening. The sound varies depending on the tightness of the sphincter muscle and velocity of the gas being propelled, as well as other factors such as moisture and body fat.

 

Flatus is brought to the anus in the same peristalsis method as feces, causing a similar feeling of urgency and discomfort. Nerve endings in the rectum learn to distinguish between flatus and feces, although loose stool can confuse these nerves, and sometimes slips out.

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Remedies

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Dietary

 

Certain spices counteract the production of intestinal gas, most notably cumin, caraway and the closely related ajwain, turmeric, asafoetida (hing) and konbu (a Japanese culinary seaweed closely related to kelp).

 

Many people report that by reducing intake of most refined carbohydrates (such as rice, pasta, potatoes and bread), the amount of flatulence may decrease significantly. The water-soluble oligosaccharides in beans that contribute to production of intestinal gas can be reduced through a regime of brief boiling followed by a long period of soaking, but at a cost of also leaching out other water-soluble nutrients. Some legumes also stand up to prolonged cooking, which can help break down the oligosaccharides into simple sugars. Fermentation also breaks down oligosaccharides, which is why fermented bean products such as miso and tofu are less likely to produce as much intestinal gas.

 

Probiotics (yogurt, kefir, acidophilus, bifidus, etc.) and prebiotics (such as FOS) may also reduce flatulence if they are used to restore balance to the normal intestinal flora; used in excess, however, they may create an imbalance which increases flatulence.

 

Medicinal charcoal tablets have also been reported as effective in reducing both odor and quantity of flatus when taken immediately prior to food that is likely to cause flatulence later.

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Pharmacological

 

Digestive enzyme supplements can significantly reduce the amount of flatulence when that flatulence is caused by some components of foods not being digested by the body and feeding the microbes in the small and large intestines. The enzymes alpha-galactosidase (brands Beano, Bean-zyme), lactase (brand Lactaid), amylase, lipase, protease, cellulase, glucomylase, invertase, malt diastase, pectinase, and bromelain are available, either individually or in combination blends, in commercial products.

 

While not affecting the production of the gases themselves, agents which lower surface tension can reduce the disagreeable sensations associated with flatulence, by aiding the dissolving of the gases into other liquid and solid fecal matter.

 

Often it is helpful to ingest small quantities of acidic liquids with meals, such as lemon juice or vinegar, to stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid, which in turn increases enzyme production. This facilitates digestion and may limit gas production.

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Cosmetic

 

Activated charcoal underwear and pads can be somewhat effective at reducing the odors of flatulence, but these products do not muffle the sound. Additional security can be obtained with common deodorizers and perfumes. Care should be taken to select a perfume that combats the odor, with floral and citrus notes, instead of musk, which would complement the offending odor. [1]

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Health effects

 

As a normal body function, the action of flatulence is an important signal of normal bowel activity and hence is often documented by nursing staff following surgical or other treatment of patients.

 

There is no particular harm to come from holding in flatus. Flatulence is not poisonous; it is a natural component of various intestinal contents. However, discomfort may develop from the build-up of gas pressure. In theory, pathological distension of the bowel, leading to constipation, could result if a person holds in flatus.

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In animals

 

All animals flatulate, including most invertebrates. Even animals like birds, worms, fish and reptiles flatulate.[2]

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Environmental impact

 

Livestock are a significant contributing factor to the greenhouse effect, accounting for around 20% of global methane emissions[3]. Less than 10% of the total greenhouse gas emissions from livestock is produced by animal flatulence; the remainder is produced by animal eructation. Livestock in New Zealand account for 60% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions[4]. Livestock in Australia contribute approximately 14% of that country's greenhouse gas emissions.

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Social context

 

In many cultures, excessive human flatulence is regarded as embarrassing and impolite, even to the point of being a taboo subject; and hence a natural subject for toilet humour.

 

People will often strain to hold in a fart when in polite company, or position themselves to conceal the noise and smell of a fart using the techniques mentioned above.

 

Flatulence can be considered humorous to some people, either due to the scent or the sounds produced. Some find humor in lighting farts, which is possible due to the presence of flammables, such as hydrogen and methane, though the process is very dangerous and can result in injury to the rectum and anus.

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Literature and the arts

 

Flatulence had a role in literature since the mists of time, as In Rabelais' Gargantua's cycle reads several times the word pet (fart).

 

In the translated version of Penguin's "1001 Arabian Nights Tales," a story titled "The Historic Fart" tells of a man that flees his country from sheer embarrassment of farting at his wedding.

 

In Dante's Divine Comedy, the last line of Inferno Chapter XXI reads: ed elli avea del cul fatto trombetta ("and he used his buttocks as a trumpet"), in the last example the use of this natural body function underlined a demoniac condition.

 

In Chaucer's "Miller's Tale" (one of the Canterbury Tales), the character Nicholas hangs his buttocks out a window and farts in the face of his rival Absolom. Absolom then sears Nicholas's bum with a red-hot poker ("Nicholas quickly raised the window and thrust his ass far out...At this Nicholas let fly a fart with a noise as great as a clap of thunder, so that Absolom was almost overcome by the force of it. But he was ready with his hot iron and smote Nicholas in the middle of his ass."). (Lines 690–707)

 

In James Joyce's Ulysses, the main character Leopold Bloom breaks wind in the "Sirens" chapter of the book. [5]

 

In Emile Zola's La Terre (the 15th volume of the series Les Rougon-Macquart), the eldest Fouan son (called Jesus Christ because of his long hair and beard) can fart at will and keeps winning free drinks by betting on his skill.

 

The Walter the Farting Dog series of children's books by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray feature a dog with a flatulence problem as a central comedic element.

 

A few individuals, such as Le Pétomane, have brought flatulence onto the stage in one-man shows.

 

In the cinema, farting was traditionally featured in films intended for adult audiences such as Blazing Saddles, but is now an acceptable source of humour even in children's films such as The Lion King.

 

Farting is no longer summarily censored from television broadcasts in the United States. During the telecast of Super Bowl XXXVIII, a beer advertisement featured a horse passing gas.

 

In the TV series South Park The in-series TV show Terrance and Phillip features two Canadian boys of the show's namesake who rely mostly on farts for their humor.

 

The Adventures of Fartman is a forthcoming film from radio shock jock Howard Stern.

 

The Gas We Pass (ISBN 0916291529) is a popular children's book in the United States about flatulence.

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Curiosities

 

* Le Petomane "the Fartiste" was a well-liked French performer in the 19th Century who did flatulence impressions and held shows.

 

* Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford farted while swearing loyalty to Queen Elizabeth I, and consequently went into self-imposed exile for seven years. After his return, the Queen was reported to have reassured de Vere: "My Lord, I had quite forgotten the fart." (John Aubrey, Brief Lives)

 

* Emperor Claudius passed a law legalizing farting at banquets out of concern for people's health. There was a widespread misconception that a person could be poisoned by retaining farts.

 

* In August 2005, New Scientist magazine reported that inventors Michael Zanakis and Philip Femano had been awarded a US patent (U.S. Patent 6,055,910) for a "toy gas-fired missile and launcher assembly". The abstract of the patent makes it clear that this is, in fact, a fart-powered rocket:

 

"A ... missile is composed of a soft head and a tail extending therefrom formed by a piston. The piston is telescoped into the barrel of a launcher having a closed end on which is mounted an electrically activated igniter, the air space between the end of the piston and the closed end of the barrel defining a combustion chamber. Joined to the barrel, and communicating with the chamber therein, is a gas intake tube having a normally closed inlet valve. To operate the assembly, the operator places the inlet tube with its valve open adjacent [to] his anal region, from which a colonic gas is discharged. The piston is then withdrawn to a degree producing a negative pressure to inhale the gas into the combustion chamber to intermix with the air therein to create a combustible mixture. The igniter is then activated to explode the mixture in the chamber and fire the missile into space."

 

* British inventors have also patented fart-related ideas, such as UK Patent 2289222 for "A fart collecting device," includes a drawing of the invention deployed and ready for action, with helpful numbers to identify the various components. "It comprises a gas-tight collecting tube 10 for insertion into the rectum of the subject. The tube 10 is connected to a gas-tight collecting bag (not shown). The end of the tube inserted into the subject is apertured and covered with a gauze filter and a gas permeable bladder 28."

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I see it already...someone's going to post a Photo FR (in place of a Photo TR) of when they farted, location, and people's reactions.

 

Anyway, as we're telling fart stories, I have a decent/funny story worthy of sharing as it's theme park related. We were at DLR waiting in line for Indiana Jones and got maybe 30 feet into the cave thingy as there was quite a line. My sister's boyfriend cut loose near one of the air conditioner/blower things and send his fart blowing out of the cave as the people behind us had to suffer. Many complained of the smell.

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Today at school I wasn't feeling well . So I went and pounded down two and then I had music and there are practice rooms and today we had an exam so I wanted to help everyone by dropping a bomb in the soundproof practice room. BUT one of the stupid girls in my class decides to open up the door and spreads the stench through the whole music room and it lasted for about 5 mins. I was damn embarassed but hey after that I felt like gold for the rest of the day and it also gave me a good laugh.

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