Fart Facts: 13 Fascinating Truths About Passing Gas

Why do we fart? Why do farts smell? Passing gas may be embarrassing for most of us, but it might make you feel better to know that it's one of the most common bodily functions of all time. Everyone does it, from Halle Berry to the Queen of England. In fact, the word "fart" is one of the oldest words in the English language!

Like breathing and eating, we all fart. Sure, you politely hold it in on first dates or when you’re in church, but every one of us has let ‘em rip from time to time and when we were kids we all laughed when we heard someone do it or even mentioned the word. We’re so fascinated by farts that we have come up with expression after expression to describe them: “cut the cheese,” “burp out the wrong end,” “rectal turbulence” are just a few of the many ways to eloquently describe the gas high-tailing out of your butt. If we’re so fascinated by farts, then, shouldn’t we ought to know more about them?

Well, good thing you’re here. We’ve got some info you need to know. Read on to discover more fascinating facts about about cutting the cheese.

1What Is A Fart, Exactly?

Farts are caused by trapped air, which can come from many sources. Some of it is air that we have swallowed while chewing or drinking. Some air is caused by gas seeping into our intestines from our blood, and some gas is produced by chemical reactions in our intestines or bacteria living in our guts.

A typical fart is composed of about 59 percent nitrogen, 21 percent hydrogen, 9 percent carbon dioxide, 7 percent methane and 4 percent oxygen. Only about one percent of a fart contains hydrogen sulfide gas and mercaptans, which contain sulfur, and the sulfur is what makes farts stink.

Farts make a sound when they escape due to the vibrations of the rectum. The loudness may vary depending on how much pressure is behind the gas, as well as the tightness of the sphincter muscles.

2Why Do Farts Smell Bad?

The more sulfur-rich your diet is, the more terrible your farts will smell. Some foods contain more sulfur than others, which is why eating things like beans, cabbage, cheese, soda, and eggs can cause gas that will peel the paint off the walls!

3People Pass Gas About 14 Times Per Day

The average person produces about half a liter of farts every single day, and even though many women won't admit it, women do fart just as often as men. In fact, a study has proven that when men and women eat the exact same food, woman tend to have even more concentrated gas than men.

If a person were to fart continuously for 6 years and 9 months, they would produce gas with the equivalent energy of an atomic bomb.

4Farts Have Been Clocked At A Speed Of 10 Feet Per Second.

Though farts come out with varying velocities, we don't typically smell them for about 10-15 seconds after letting them rip. This is because it takes that long for the odor to reach your nostrils.

5Holding Farts In Could Be Bad For Your Health

Doctors disagree on whether or not holding in a fart is bad for your health. Some experts think that farts are a natural part of your digestive system, so holding them in won't harm you. Others think that at best, holding them in can cause gas, bloating, and other uncomfortable symptoms, and at worst, repressing gas can cause hemorrhoids or a distended bowel.

6For Some Cultures, Farting Is No Big Deal

While most cultures feel that farts should be suppressed in polite company, there are some cultures that not only don't mind letting them fly in public, but they actually enjoy it. An Indian tribe in South America called the Yanomami fart as a greeting, and in China you can actually get a job as a professional fart-smeller!

In ancient Rome, Emperor Claudius, fearing that holding farts in was bad for the health, passed a law stating that it was acceptable to break wind at banquets.

7Farts Are Flammable

As stated above, the methane and hydrogen in bacteria-produced farts make your gas highly flammable. This is why some people think it's a fun party trick to hold a lighter up to their bums and let one fly; doing so produces a big burst of flame, but is obviously very dangerous.

In rare cases, a build-up of flammable gasses in the intestines have caused explosions during intestinal surgeries!

8Termites Produce The Most Farts Of Any Other Animal

It's hard to believe that the tiny termite is responsible for a great deal of our global warming problem on the planet. Termites fart more than any other animal, which produces methane gas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, "Global emissions of methane due to termites are estimated to be between 2 and 22 Tg per year, making them the second largest natural source of methane emissions. Methane is produced in termites as part of their normal digestive process, and the amount generated varies among different species."

9If You Hold Them In, They'll Just Come Out When You Sleep

Even if you clenched your butt and held them in all day, the gas will escape once you relax. What's more relaxing than sleep?

10People Even Fart After Death

Here's proof that you can't escape passing wind, even after you're dead! Up to three hours after the body dies, gasses continue to escape from both ends of the digestive tract, resulting in burping or farting noises. This phenomenon is due to muscles contracting and expanding before rigor mortis sets in.

11Why Can You Hear Some Farts But Not Others?

We all know that some farts are silent but deadly, but have you ever wondered why sometimes your farts make no noise while other times they’re loud enough to wake the dead? Well, it depends on how much gas you’ve got bottled in, the force with which it comes flying out and how tight the sphincter is. Huh, huh. We said sphincter.

12Fart: An Educated History Of The Funny Word

Why, exactly, is it called a fart? Some reports suggest it dates back to the 14th century Middle English words of “ferten” and “farten” or “feorten,” which means to break wind, while others say it dates back to old Germanic languages for a word specifying breaking wind. Whatever you think, this is definitely a fantastic piece of knowledge you can share at your next cocktail party.

13In Case You Wanna Fart For A Living

There’s a professional farter. Naturally, he goes by the name Mr. Methane. According to his website, “Mr Methane is a Performing Flatulist, or Petomane, he performs the Art of Controlled Anal Voicing employing the same technique as 19th Century French man Joseph Pujol aka Le Petomane. He has performed his Fart Artistry at the worlds top comedy festivals in Montreal, Melbourne and Edinburgh as well as many public and private shows for exclusive clients.” And if you don’t like his act, well, you know you can say he stinks.