What happens to your body when you hold in a fart

Gas. Everyone has it, everyone passes it, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. That doesn’t mean, though, that passing gas is always convenient. There are plenty of places that passing gas could be embarrassing, like in the middle of a crowded elevator or in a business meeting. Farting can be loud, smelly, and if you’re really unlucky, messy. We’ve all held in a fart at one point or another, but is it actually healthy to do so? What really happens to your body when you resist the urge to fart? 

While holding in a fart won’t cause you any serious damage, it can still lead to some discomfort. “If you get an excessive build-up of intestinal gas it can lead to bloating, which can be really uncomfortable, and often embarrassing too if your stomach is making strange gurgling noises,” Gill Hart, scientific director of food intolerance testing company YorkTest Laboratories, told Metro.

You might think that a noisy, upset stomach is less embarrassing than cutting the cheese in a room full of people, but there are other risks associated with keeping your gas contained. Holding in a fart might save you from embarrassment, but only temporarily. As we’ve just learned, keeping that gas bottled up inside can lead up to a build up of intestinal gas. Some of that gas is reabsorbed into your body and then comes out in your breath. Holding in that fart can also build up pressure which can eventually grow so intense that you release an uncontrollable fart that can end up being way louder than a carefully released fart. 

If you’re only holding on to that fart for a moment so that you can quickly excuse yourself to a more private location, you’ll probably be okay. The longer you hold it, though, the grosser it’s bound to be, so it’s better to just let it rip.

If you do end up passing gas in public and people notice, just laugh it off and take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Farting is one of the most natural things there is, after all, with most healthy people (yep, even celebs and presidents) farting between 14 and 23 times each day (via Verywell Health). 

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