A Brief History of Flatulence
In the medical literature, flatulence is known as "flatus expelled through the anus" and it has come to light that the Sumerians flatulence joke dated to 1900 BC in Mesopotamia was the oldest recorded joke according to Wikipedia.
The word flatulence, also known as farting, comes from the Latin word "flatus" that means an act of blowing and it is perfectly natural. As for the word "fart" it was assimilated from an Old English word "feortan" which means "break the wind".
Farts or which is also known as flatus or intestinal gas are actually made of gas and it is a wonder why it is a taboo to talk about this function of digestion. Do you know it is illegal to pass gas in Rome? It seems that almost all the cultures flatulence is known distasteful but yet it has been the source for jokes and fun for centuries.
Face it! The Yanomami tribe of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela uses flatulence as a form of greeting. An healthy individual has to pass gasses about 12 to 25 times in a day and those with some digestive problems can fart as much as 50 times!
Stinky Guide to Fascinating Farts
Flatulence is part of body function which is not gracefully accepted by the society and does not get respect. It's a common concept that when an individual is the first person to recognize a fart is the culprit. According to Jim Dawson an author and flatulence expert, farting is normally not mentioned because it relates human beings to animal origins.
- A single flatulence ignited a revolt against King Apries of Egypt in 569 B.C., according to Greek Historian Herodotus.
- The death of 10,000 people in 44 A.D. in Jerusalem is due to a fart according to an Author, Josephus who wrote his bestseller, The Jewish War.
- The first Fantasy Novel written by Francois Rabelais' known as Gargantua and Pantagruel in 1532, a giant farted and it was so powerful that the earth trembled and endangered more than 53,000 little people. And the fans of this book realize that it corresponds with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.
- Henry Ludlow, a British Member of Parliament farted during a debate on Scots naturalization in 1607 and it became a folklore inspiring many poems such The Censure of the Parliament Fart.
- Benjamin Franklin in 1781, while being an U.S. Ambassador to France wrote an essay known as "Fart Proudly". It was never published but was distributed to friends and it became hysterical.
- A Frenchman, Joseph Pujol discovered that he can inhale air through his rectum and expel it. He took the stage name fartomaniac (Le Petomane) and entertained many people by using his fart to blow out candles, playing flute, smoking cigarettes, etc
- Adolf Hitler was suffering from flatulence and by taking strychinee and atropine, he poisoned himself. According to biographer John Toland, being a vegetarian made Hitler to suffer uncontrollable farting.
- A 1971 film known as Cold Turkey dealt with flatulence acted by Dick Van Dkye, Bob Newhart, and Edward Everett Horton. A scene in the movie called The Blazing Saddles campfire made an impact among the audience.
- Bernard Clemmens of London made an official Guinness Book of World Records longest fart of 2 minutes and 42 seconds.
- Stephanie Matto, an American reality TV (90 day Fiance) star sells her flatulences in jars and was earning $50,000 per week. The Tik Tok star who is labeled as "fartpreneur" starts selling in November 2021 and was hospitalized on the 5th of January 2022 for passing too much of wind and when she complained of chest and stomach discomfort.
Formation of Flatulence
As part of digestion, our body produces intestinal gas which is released through anus and mouth as flatulence and burp. The breakdown of food in the colon produces this gas which is known as endogenous gas which consists mainly of hydrogen or in its molecule form of methane.
Fart is smelly because of other small amounts of gasses such as hydrogen sulfide. Most of the flatulence is free of odor and only around 1% smells. Usually undigested carbohydrates release intestinal gas in the process. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) states that not everyone will have the same food tolerance for flatulence. Different people are affected differently.
Foods that Causes Flatulence
A complex sugar that exists in beans, whole grains, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage known as Raffinose is difficult to be digested and it causes a lot of gas to be formed. Foods and drinks which are high in sulfur such as garlic, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, wine and beer can lead to frequent and pungent flatulence. Sugar-free processed foods that use sugar alcohols for sweetness also cause flatulence.
Individuals with certain conditions will have frequent flatulence occurrences. It is a fact that about 70% of adults globally do not have enough enzymes to process dairy products and their lactose intolerance causes discomfort, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Those with celiac disease are unable to break down gluten that causes bloating and flatulence.
Apart from that there is a chronic condition known as Irritable bowel syndrome or known as IBS that affects around 10 to 15 percent of Americans that causes them to have abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and chronic flatulence.
By consuming fermentable foods that contain oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols which is also known as the low-FODMAP diet, many gastrointestinal conditions patients are able to reduce their symptoms and flatulence.
One of the simplest home remedies to reduce chronic gas from the intestine is to add fenugreek powder in warm water and drink it in the morning. Check more about fenugreek at The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/fenugreek).
Concoction for Flatulence: take 1 tablespoon of lime juice, a pinch of dry ginger powder, a pinch of black pepper, a pinch of powdered Indian long pepper, a pinch of asafoetida, and a pinch of mineral salt and mix it in warm water to reduce flatulence.