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11 Surprising Things That Give You Gas
written by Sam Greenspan

This list will not be talking about beans. It will not be talking about prunes. It will not be talking about greasy fast food, lactose intolerance, soy or gluten allergies or anything like that. We all know that stuff makes a person gassy.

No, today, I'm taking a big wide turn around the mainstream to fill you in on the other reasons why you're so damn flatulent.

Everybody farts. Even the Pope. (And, based on his age, I'd say -- especially the Pope.) According to the Internet, the average person pops out enough gas to fill a half gallon container every single day. (And if the Internet says it, it has to be true.)

And since we're all doing it... we should really be as well-informed as possible as to WHY. So here are 11 of the lesser-known causes of flatulence. Enjoy. (And to my friends, family and, especially, poor, victimized girlfriend -- yes, I will now begin to use these constantly as excuses. I needed some new material.)

  1. Surely you're farting.
    Flying in an airplane. This helps explain why you can take a shower moments before you get on an airplane but still smell like moist death when you get off.

    The gas inside of you can expand (and then need to escape) when you fly in an airplane, or when you're in any low-pressure environment. (Low-pressure environment? Like a Montessori school?)

  2. Poorly-fitting dentures. One of the big causes of gas is swallowing a bunch of air. Everyone swallows air, but, once you've swallowed too much, it needs to find a way to escape. And while some of it will choose Door Number One (your mouth, manifesting in the form of a burp)... plenty of it will take the dark, haunted passage south to Door Number 2.

    If you've got dentures that don't fit quite right, you end up ingesting a lot of extra trapped air when you swallow. And some of that can come out as gas.

  3. Anorexia. It's somewhat counter-intuitive -- after all, if you're not taking in any foods (let alone any gas-inducing foods like cheese, beans or steak), you shouldn't really have anything to fart out.

    But anorexia does many, many confusing things to your body -- besides rapidly sprouting hair like Michael J. Fox before the big game and suddenly being mistaken for a gymnast. It can also lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which doesn't just lead to lots of gas -- it leads to lots of smelly gas. (Starving and gassy. No wonder no one wants to be around Mischa Barton.)

    But, hey, I found a website that says you can lose up to 67 calories per bout of farting... so maybe it's part of the endgame.

  4. Apparently, this pose, the "plow pose," is particularly good at inducing air out of your lower region.
    Yoga. Yoga poses contort your body in such unusual ways that it can't help but let gas out. You can just blame your farts on the (downward) dog. (HI-YO!)

    Yoga also has another gaseous side effect: It's queef-inducing. Seriously. Google "yoga queef." You can read billions of articles on the subject.

  5. Chewing gum. Chewing gum makes you open your mouth and swallow (heh) more often than you normally would. That leads to you swallowing more air... and, just like with ill-fitting dentures, that leads to flatulence.

    There's a second contributor here, too: The body has some difficulty digesting the artificial sweetener in most gum... and when the body has trouble breaking down a food, that's usually some guaranteed gas. You know, every possible sign points to artificial sweeteners being absolute poison that have no place in your body... yet to get me to stop drinking Diet Coke, you'd have to it out of my cold, dead hand. I love socially-acceptable addictions.

  6. Constipation. Even when you're all blocked up, gas will always find a way through. In fact, because constipation fills up your pipes, that leaves less room for gas to hang out -- so constipation can yield even more farts than usual. And since they're passing through your traffic jam to get out, they're going to smell.

    The only exception here is the most severe form of constipation: obstipation. With that, you're so jammed up that there's even the gas trying to get out hears "You. Shall. Not. Pass." It's kind of like a painful, embarrassing, feces-related version of the Three Stooges trying to walk through a doorway.

  7. She's gonna have lots of gas.
    Marijuana. When you roll your marijuana and smoke it like a cigarette, you're also taking in a lot of air. And, like the air you take in from dentures or chewing gum, it's got to find some way to exit.

    And no, that doesn't mean that you're going to be producing weed farts... so, again, no, you shouldn't have someone sitting underneath you trying to inhale said farts in an attempt to find a new way to get high.

    Ya know, on second thought, if you know someone who wants to be the guinea pig and try that, they should go ahead and do it. They might even find your release of gas syncs up perfectly with "The Wizard of Oz".

  8. Sodomy. "You really jarred something loose back there, Tiger!"

  9. Whether or not you twist the boot to avoid the major air bubble, chugging is gonna get ya. Like rhythm.
    Chugging beer. Chugging beer actually gives you gas in three different ways: Taking in lots of excess air... carbonation... and ceding some bodily control to the alcohol. Much of it will come out through burping -- but not all of it.

    So, take note -- when you're on a date, if you're nervous, don't react by pounding the beer you ordered. Because it could lead to some of the world's worst farts: Date farts. Instead, just tell yourself to relax, find a funny subject to discuss and get so wrapped up in the conversation. (Or chug wine.)

  10. Cancer. Certain types of cancer involving your digestive and excretory systems -- like stomach and colon cancer -- are known to induce extra flatulence. Although, really, if you've got cancer, "extra farting" has to be near the absolute bottom of your "Shit I've Got To Worry About" list. Just ahead of "Will 'American Idol' go down in quality when Simon leaves?" and just below "Tell people on Facebook to stop tagging their LiveStrong bracelets with my name."

  11. Worrying that you're going to fart. Yep, it's quite a catch 22. If you're someplace where you're worried about farting -- like a date, an elevator, church, sitting on someone's lap, near a wolverine who doesn't react well to loud noises -- that anxiety can quicken your breathing, lead to air intake and lead to farting. It's a vicious cycle.

This list was originally published on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 10:30:00 AM under the category Personal.
It currently has View Comments.

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