A smelly start to a serious story about flatulence

If you’re on the nose, there may be reason to head to your GP.

Smelly start to a serious story

The other night I did something bad in bed.

It was only a little one, silent and stealth-like in its arrival, but my word it smelt and was bad enough to wake my partner.

She didn’t take it well. She abused me, got out of bed, came back with the air-freshener from the bathroom and sprayed the bedroom.

The next morning I found myself with not much to do, so I went to my laptop and googled flatulence, well actually I googled “how to stop farts from smelling”.

To my amazement, there were pages and pages of information, most of it serious and not just childlike blogs from pubescent boys.

Did you know, for example, that in 12th century England, there was  a court jester who became known as Roland the Farter. He performed an act that culminated in one jump, one whistle and one fart, and King Henry II liked it so much he gave Roland a manor in Suffolk along with 12 hectares of land.

Japan in the 17th century had professional farters, while Paris in the 19 century had a young man named Joseph Pujol who conducted regular 90-minute shows at Moulin Rouge where he was able to pass wind in time to music. His favourite was his rendition of Au Claire de Lune.

What price front row seats?

Now, while all this may have some mirth, there is a serious side, because farts, especially bad ones, can be linked to bad health.

For example, gluten intolerance, or Coeliac Disease in its more severe form, can cause smelly wind and can lead to fatigue, bloating, diarrhoea and weight loss.

Constipation can cause you to break wind, as can a build-up of bacteria in the colon, but the worst outcome is when polyps or tumours form in the digestive tract, causing partial bowel obstruction and resulting in gas build-up. That can result in colon cancer.

So we’re not laughing now, least of all those of us who have had to swallow that terrible salty/lemony liquid to clear the colon before a colonoscopy.

In most cases, however, smelly wind simply relates to diet, and we all have foods that we know can set us off. Who hasn’t laughed at the scene from the movie Blazing Saddles with the cowboys sitting around a fire eating beans and farting like crazy?

Why beans? Well, they are high in soluble fibre and when they break down they produce large amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases, all of which cause flatulence.

Wind that smells like rotten egg gas may, of course, originate from a diet of eggs, but it is more likely to come from eating too many fibre-rich foods that are high in sulphur – a natural compound but not one that smells nice. Many vegetables fall into that category.

So there you have it. Flatulence may not mean anything more than your dinner was too rich. But if it’s an ongoing problem, you might want to write a list of things you have eaten recently, including medications, and go to your GP.

And for my partner, I offer this message. It comes from French author Muriel Barbery: “A man who farts in bed is a man who enjoys life.”

Have you had a problem with wind? Or with your partner?

Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and should not be considered as not advice. For advice about your health, consult your medical practitioner.

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    COMMENTS

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    29th Mar 2018
    11:02am
    Medications can do that as well. Doc put me on a new pill and I had to ask him about
    extra farting. He laughed saying that is the side effect of the pill I am prescribed but with a bit of luck I shall be off them in a week or two.
    Lookfar
    29th Mar 2018
    11:32am
    Charcoal tablets are the traditional answer, and now they find it works on stopping cows from farting methane, and makes the cows healthy and more productive as well as healing the soil. see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JPoItRWYSQ&feature=youtu.be
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    1:57pm
    If you eat food you fart. My mother was a real terror , most women blame the dog, but with mum there was no hiding it.
    motaleon
    29th Mar 2018
    2:45pm
    Anyway Tib, it's a poor arse that never rejoices.
    Couldabeen
    29th Mar 2018
    2:02pm
    "a build up of bacteria in the colon", as they say FFS! The colon IS a colony of billions of bacteria. Around 30% of the bulk of our faeces is directly the offerings and result of those bacteria. The bacteria that convert previously indigestible food remnants into digestible material.
    Back to flatulence. There are three core creators of the gas that we pass. Firstly in the air that we swallow as we chew and swallow or meal. Most of that we will burp back up, but some will continue on and when "passed" will simply carry the absorbed odors of the fellow travelers. Then there's the CO2 present as an essential ingredient in bubbly/fizzy drinks. Again, much is burped back up or travels again as per swallowed air.
    Then there is our own creation. Made almost exclusively within the large intestine by our own unique colonies of bacteria. In a healthy person this originated as we were pushed through the birth canal. As infants, our initial colony is almost identical to that of our mother. Which probably explains why mothers find the odour from the soiled nappy of their own baby less objectional than that of other infants. The brain probably recognises that it is our own bacteria responsible for our farts and recognises it as such and isn't so amenable to that from other people.
    Flatulence is good, flatulence is healthy. Any significant changes in volume and odour that cannot be directly attributed to variation in diet or recognised health issues should be considered.
    As couples who have lived in intimate contact with each other for several decades have shared bodily fluids on many occasions and eat similar diets, their respective flatulence will be found less objectionable than that from a casual passing ship in the night.
    HarrysOpinion
    29th Mar 2018
    2:57pm
    Oh, so the poor bugger can cop the bacteria if he doesn't wear protection?
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    2:04pm
    By the way I learnt early if your father asks you to pull his finger.....don't.
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    2:10pm
    Here's a good one. If you fart in bed ask your partner .... Do you smell smoke. Ha ha
    JAID
    29th Mar 2018
    2:34pm
    I wonder is it possible to set off smoke alarms.
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    4:01pm
    If I do I could have a serious problem. :)
    casey
    29th Mar 2018
    2:22pm
    Does anybody else quickly pull the covers over their partners head, or lift their knees and gently waft it out.
    JAID
    29th Mar 2018
    2:34pm
    Yes, Muriel Barbery's comment must be the best offering. Beats separation which wouldn't be far away if jumping from the bed to lavish sprays upon the situation were more than just a once-off over-reaction. Women fart too. Perhaps chewing food better and somehow managing quieter farts simply provide better camouflage.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    3:24pm
    Sure women fart too but not as often: they do not keep their trap shut long enough to build up the pressure.
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    4:06pm
    Jim ha ha.
    HarrysOpinion
    29th Mar 2018
    2:52pm
    Why is it that when it comes to a story about smelly flatulence that a photo appears of a woman holding her nose to the man laying beside her in bed?
    Women fart too and huge smelly ones. Phew!!!!
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    4:04pm
    You will never see an article where the women isn't perfect. It's the dog don't you know.
    Adrianus
    30th Mar 2018
    3:23pm
    Because she was startled by the fart, she was fartled! I was fartled once in an elevator in Hong Kong, by a rather loud one not a nice experience and the woman who did it was glowing red, guilty as hell.
    disillusioned
    29th Mar 2018
    2:54pm
    Professional farters? Trust the very polite Japanese to "save face" by thinking up that one. Maybe next time the writer needs to fart, he can call on a Japanese professional farter to do the job for him - outside the bedroom door of course! Then bow and apologise for it to the writer's partner, allowing the writer to not only "save face" but also to spare him a dose of air freshener between the sheets!
    Adrianus
    30th Mar 2018
    9:09am
    The woman in the above photo is quite rightly annoyed because to fart on someone is considered an insult. It reminds me of something Labor’s Doug Cameron said in the senate,
    "You empty-headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction."
    zeus
    30th Mar 2018
    8:00pm
    Happiness comes from within, that's why it feels so good to fart....A bit like in the song from Frozen, " when at work...Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know...but at home...Let it go! Let it go! Can't hold it anymore...!????
    musicveg
    31st Mar 2018
    2:52pm
    Sometimes it is just the combination of food you eat. For example fruit digests quicker and if you have it with starches or meat, it will ferment everything else. Look up food combinations for better digestion. I only eat fruit on an empty stomach.
    Lookfar
    31st Mar 2018
    8:57pm
    Thanks Musicveg, finally a begining of the serious side, hopefully the teenagers have assuaged their nervousness of bodily functions and we can look at serious analysis.
    I look at every symptom as a communication from my body to me, - I live in my body, it is the interface with the material world, I ignore it at my peril, I could lose my physical interface, ie my body could die - it makes no difference whether you believe you are only your body, or there is something more, if you believe you are only your body and you ignore your symptoms and you die, your'e gone, if you believe you are some sort of spirit or soul, (the which I suspect) you have lost contact, connection broken, etc. body gone.
    Maybe you have a second chance in a future body, but you have blown it in this body, and may in the next, - if you learn't nothing, so it behooves us to listen to our bodies, in many ways it is wiser than us, but also we must consider that if we are wasting our lives away, then we may have nothing to stimulate our bodies to stay alive except a basic vegetative aspect.


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