Fart Facts

FACTS ON FARTS

  1. Where does fart gas come from
  2. What is fart gas made of
  3. What makes farts stink
  4. Why do farts make noise
  5. How much gas does a normal person pass per day
  6. How does a fart travel to the anus
  7. How long does it take fart gas to travel to someone elses nose
  8. Is it true that some people never fart
  9. Do even movie stars fart
  10. Do men fart more than women
  11. At what time of day is a gentleman most likely to fart
  12. Why are beans so notorious for making people fart
  13. What things other than diet can make a person fart more than usual
  14. Is a fart really just a burp that comes out the wrong end
  15. Is it harmful to hold in farts
  16. How long would it be possible to not fart
  17. Where do farts go when you hold them in
  18. Is it really possible to ignite farts
  19. Why is it possible to burn farts
  20. Is it possible to light a match with a fart
  21. Is it possible for a talented person to earn a living through flatulence
  22. Why do dog and cat farts smell so bad
  23. Do fish fart
  24. Do turtles fart
  25. What kind of animal has the highest worldwide output of flatulence
  26. Is there any kind of animal that doesn't fart
  27. Is it possible to leave a brown spot on your pants because of a fart, and if so, what causes it
  28. How can we tell when its only gas needing to come out, rather than something more serious
  29. Why do chicks always deny farting
  30. Is is possible that by inhaling other people' farts all day long, my own farts will smell more
  31. Is it possible to get stoned after inhaling two or three farts in a row
  32. Is it possible for a fart to kill you
  33. Can excessive farting cause impotence
  34. Is it possible to inhale via ones anal opening
  35. What causes the burning sensation that sometimes accompanies a fart
  36. If you fart in the bathtub, is the water polluted and should you refill the tub
  37. Is it true that a woman can fart out of her, shall we say, frontal opening, and if so, where does the gas come from
  38. Can a man fart out of his genital opening
  39. Is it weird to enjoy farting
  40. What color is a fart
  41. Do other people smell a fart better than the farter
  42. Why is it that when you scratch your rear through two layers of clothing your fingers still stink
  43. Where does the word fart come from
  44. When it is cold outside and you fart, can you see it like you can see your breath

Where does fart gas come from?

    The gas in our intestines comes from several sources: air we swallow, gas seeping into our intestines from our blood, gas produced by chemical reactions in our guts, and gas produced by bacteria living in our guts.
 

What is fart gas made of?

    The composition of fart gas is highly variable.
    Most of the air we swallow, especially the oxygen component, is absorbed by the body before the gas gets into the intestines. By the time the air reaches the large intestine, most of what is left is nitrogen. Chemical reactions between stomach acid and intestinal fluids may produce carbon dioxide, which is also a component of air and a product of bacterial action. Bacteria also produce hydrogen and methane.
    But the relative proportions of these gases that emerge from our anal opening depend on several factors: what we ate, how much air we swallowed, what kinds of bacteria we have in our intestines, and how long we hold in the fart.
    The longer a fart is held in, the larger the proportion of boring, inert nitrogen it contains, because the other gases tend to be absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the intestine.
    A nervous person who swallows a lot of air and who moves stuff through his digestive system rapidly may have a lot of oxygen in his farts, because his body didn't have time to absorb the oxygen.
    Encyclopaedia Britannica offers the intriguing statement that some people's farts contain no methane. The reason for this is apparently unknown. Some researchers suspect a genetic influence, whereas others think the anomaly is due to environmental factors. However, all methane in any farts comes from bacterial action and not from human cells.
 

 What makes farts stink?

    The odor of farts comes from small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas and skatole in the mixture. These compounds contain sulfur. The more sulfur-rich your diet, the more sulfides and skatole will be produced by the bacteria in your guts, and the more your farts will stink. Foods such as cauliflower, eggs and meat are notorious for producing smelly farts, whereas beans produce large amounts of not particularly stinky farts.
 

 Why do farts make noise?

    The sounds are produced by vibrations of the anal opening. Sounds depend on the velocity of expulsion of the gas and the tightness of the sphincter muscles of the anus.
 

 How much gas does a normal person pass per day?

    On average, a person produces about half a liter of fart gas per day, distributed over an average of about fourteen daily farts.
    Whereas it may be difficult for you to determine your daily flatus volume, you can certainly keep track of your daily numerical fart count. You might try this as a science fair project: Keep a journal of everything you eat and a count of your farts. You might make a note of the potency of their odor as well. See if you can discover a relationship between what you eat, how much you fart, and how much they smell.
 

How does a fart travel to the anus?

   

    One may wonder why fart gas travels downward toward the anus when gas has a lower density than liquids and solids, and should therefore travel upwards.
    The intestine squeezes its contents toward the anus in a series of contractions, a process called peristalsis. The process is stimulated by eating, which is why we often need to poop and fart right after a meal.  Peristalsis creates a zone of high pressure, forcing all intestinal contents, gas included, to move towards a region of lower pressure, which is toward the anus. Gas is more mobile than other components, and small bubbles coalesce to from larger bubbles en route to the exit. When peristalsis is not active, gas bubbles may begin to percolate upwards again, but they won't get very far due to the complicated and convoluted shape of the intestine. Furthermore, the anus is neither up nor down when a person is lying down.

How long does it take fart gas to travel to someone else's nose?

   

    Fart travel time depends on atmospheric conditions such as humidity and wind speed, as well as the distance between the fart transmitter and the fart receiver. Farts also disperse as they leave the source, and their potency diminishes with dilution. Generally, if the fart is not detected within a few seconds, it will be too dilute for perception and will be lost into the atmosphere forever.
    Exceptional conditions exist when the fart is released into a small enclosed area such as an elevator, a small room, or a car. These conditions limit the amount of dilution possible, and the fart may remain in a smellable concentration for a long period of time, until it condenses on the walls.

Is it true that some people never fart?

    No, not if they're alive. People even fart shortly after death.
 

 Do even movie stars fart?

   

    Yes, of course. So do grandmothers, priests, kings, presidents, opera singers, beauty queens, and nuns. Even Yoda farts.

Do men fart more than women?

   

    No, women fart just as much as men. It's just that most men take more pride in it than most women. There is a large variation among individuals in the amount of fart gas produced per day, but the variation does not correlate with gender.
    I have read that men fart more often than women. If this is true, then women must be saving it up and expelling more gas per fart than men do.

At what time of day is a gentleman most likely to fart?

  

    A gentleman is mostly likely to fart first thing in the morning, while in the bathroom. This is known as "morning thunder," and if the gentleman gets good resonance, it can be heard throughout the household.

Why are beans so notorious for making people fart?

    Beans contain sugars that we humans cannot digest. When these sugars reach our intestines, the bacteria go wild, have a big feast, and make lots of gas!
    Other notorious fart-producing foods include corn, bell peppers, cabbage, milk, and raisins.
    A friend of mine had a dog who was exceptionally fond of apples and turnips. The dog would eat these things and then get prodigious gas. A dog's digestive system is not equipped to handle such vegetable matter, so the dog's bacteria worked overtime to produce remarkable flatulence.
 

What things other than diet can make a person fart more than usual?

    People who swallow a lot of air fart more than people who don't. This can be cured somewhat by chewing with your mouth closed. Nervous people with fast moving bowels will fart more because less air is absorbed out of the intestines. Some disease conditions can cause excess flatulence. And going up in an airplane or other low-pressure environment can cause the gas inside you to expand and emerge as flatulence.
 

Is a fart really just a burp that comes out the wrong end?

    No, a burp emerges from the stomach and has a different chemical composition from a fart. Farts have less atmospheric gas content and more bacterial gas content than burps.
 

Is it harmful to hold in farts?

    There are differences in opinion on this one. Certainly, people have believed for centuries that retaining flatulence is bad for the health. Emperor Claudius even passed a law legalizing farting at banquets out of concern for peoples' health.  There was a widespread belief that a person could be poisoned or catch a disease by retaining farts.
    Doctors I have spoken to recently have told me that there is no particular harm in holding in farts. Farts will not poison you; they are a natural component of your intestinal contents. The worst thing that can happen is that you may get a stomach ache from the gas pressure. But one doctor suggested that pathological distention of the bowel could result if a person holds in farts too much.

How long would it be possible to not fart?

   

    As I understand it, a captive fart can escape as soon as the person relaxes. This means that a lot of people who assiduously refrain from farting during the day do so at great length as soon as they fall asleep. Having been on a great many overnight field trips, long bus trips, and trans-Pacific flights, I can personally vouch for the fact that lots of people do fart voluminously as they doze off.  So the answer to the question would be, you can refrain from farting as long as you can stay awake!

Where do farts go when you hold them in?

    How often have you held in a fart, intending to release it at the first appropriate opportunity, only to find that the fart has disappeared when you are ready for it?
    I asked several doctors where the fart goes. Does it leak out slowly without the person knowing it? Is it absorbed into the bloodstream? What happens to it?
    The doctors agree that the fart is neither released nor absorbed. It simply migrates back upward into the intestine and comes out later.
    It is reassuring to know that such farts aren't really lost, just delayed.

Is it really possible to ignite farts?

    The answer to that is yes! However, you should be aware that people get injured igniting flatulence. Not only can the flame back up into your colon, but your clothing or other surroundings may catch on fire. A survey done by Fartcloud indicates that about a quarter of the people who ignited their farts got burned doing it. Ignition of flatulence is a hazardous practice.
    There have also been cases in which intestinal gases with a higher than normal oxygen content have exploded during surgery when electric cautery was used by the surgeon.

Why is it possible to burn farts?

    Farts burn because they contain methane and hydrogen, both of which are flammable gases.
    Farts tend to burn with a blue or yellow flame.

Is it possible to light a match with a fart?

   

    No, even strike-anywhere matches have their limits, unless the fart has the consistency of sandpaper!  Any fart that rough I would hesitate to call a fart. Also, farts have the same temperature as the body from which they emerge, and aren't hot enough to initiate combustion.

Is it possible for a talented person to earn a living through flatulence?

    Few people earn their living directly via flatulence. But a friend of mine says that he saw a carnival act in which the performer whistled tunes with his farts, blew out candles on the opposite side of the stage, and sent flames all the way across the stage. A famous performer who earned his living this way was Le Petomane, who performed in France at the beginning of the 20th Century. However, my friend isn't old enough to have seen Le Petomane, so maybe he had a chance to see Mr. Methane. Mr. Methane  lays claim to the distinction of being the world's only performing flatulist.
    However, people may also earn a living through the prevention of flatulence , through the practice of medicine specializing in the treatment of flatulence and other gastrointestinal problems, by writing books about flatulence , and through the production and sales of various fart gags such as whoopee cushions and farts in a can.
    Fartypants sells a fart filter and a number of other fart-related products.
    Maybe, if you're lucky, you'll be able to find a copy of Le Petomane's biography by searching at alibris by clicking on the link below. Last time I checked, they had two copies available!

Why do dog and cat farts smell so bad?

    A carnivore's protein-rich diet produces relatively small amounts of intensely stinky gas because proteins contain lots of sulfur. A dog's or cat's farts are rarely audible, but the odor is overwhelming.  I have asked biologists why dogs and cats generally fart silently, and their theories include: the amount of gas produced is small, but potent, the horizontal orientation of their gastrointestinal system puts less pressure on the anal opening, so the gas is expelled more slowly, their anal sphincters don't close as tightly as humans' because it takes less force to hold in the contents of the colon -- again because of the horizontal orientation of the gastrointestinal system -- and a loose anus makes less sound, and, my favorite dogs and cats don't feel embarrassed about farting, so their sphincters are more relaxed, leading to less noisy flatulence.
    Mike F. points out that many dog foods are soy-based, so on top of all the above factors, add beans and stand back!
    Large herbivorous animals such as cows, horses and elephants, on the other hand, produce vast quantities of relatively non-stinky fart gas. The farts of these animals are noisy and can go on for astoundingly long periods of time. Cows in particular are productive, in part because they swallow huge amounts of air. They need oxygen in their guts for the various protozoa employed there as digestive aids.
 

Do fish fart?

    According to our ichthyologist at the University of Guam, fish flatulence per se has not been studied, although people have investigated fish digestion. They find that although most fish have alkaline intestinal environments like our own, coral-eating fish have acidic intestinal contents. The acid serves to dissolve coral skeletal material. Coral has the same composition as Tums . One product of the reaction between acid and calcium carbonate is carbon dioxide gas. Therefore, it is logical to assume that coral-eating fish fart a lot.
    The other fish probably fart also, for the same reasons that we do.
    However, Mike Pulte, a great fish enthusiast, said that he has never seen a fish do it.
    I asked our ichthyologist if it were possible that fish gas would go into the swim bladder instead of out the anal opening. He said that modern fish have an air bladder that is independent of the gastrointestinal tract. The gas comes from enzymatic activity and not from the intestine. Older models of fish have their swim bladder connected to the gastrointestinal tract, but it is attached high up, closer to the mouth than to the other end, and these fish come to the surface and gulp air to fill the bladder. Therefore, we can assume that intestinal gas leaves the fish through the anal opening.
    We also pondered the possibility of fish making noise via flatulence, but apparently most fish noises are made  through belching rather than farting.
    Lisa P., an aquarium enthusiast, reports that she has seen her fish fart: "I have four aquariums and many fish, and I have personally witnessed fish farting! My goldfish used to do it all the time! You'd see a little bubble come out of his anus and stay there, trapped in the mucus of a long string of poop. And my opaline gourami does it too. Neither of these are coral-eating fish. I have only owned two coral-eating fish so far, but I have never seen either of them fart. It seems most likely to me that much of this gas comes from air swallowed during eating. Also, goldfish have a very simple digestive system and their food is absorbed inefficiently, so possibly the bacteria have more to feed on?"
 

Do turtles fart?

    Yes, turtles do fart, and their farts smell incredibly bad, as do the farts of snakes. In fact, it is my opinion, based on personal experience with reptiles and not on any formal research, that many reptiles use farts as a weapon.
    Reptile farts smell so bad that sometimes you can tell that one is nearby in the woods, even on a windy day, before you can see the animal. One day I was hiking through the woods in Arkansas with a friend and I told my friend, "I smell a snake fart." A second later, the snake crawled across the path. Astounding but true!

What kind of animal has the highest worldwide output of flatulence?

    Believe it or not, the animal that wins this honor is the humble termite. Because of their diet and digestive processes , they produce as much methane as human industry. Termite farts are believed to be a major contributor towards global warming.
 

Is there any kind of animal that doesn't fart?

   

    If we define a fart to be an anal escape of intestinal gas, then it follows that animals that lack intestines or an anus cannot fart.  Most animals possess intestines and an anus, but there are some that don't. These include:
     Sponges: These organisms lack true tissues and organs. They have just a few types of cells organized into a bag with holes in it. Water flows into some holes and out other holes. Sponges are so different from other animals that some biologists think we shouldn't even call them animals.
    Cnidaria: This phylum includes the jellyfish, corals, sea anemones and hydra. Their tissues are organized into a bag with a mouth surrounded by stinging tentacles. Food enters the mouth and is digested inside the bag, after which the leftovers are expelled via the same opening. In effect, the same hole serves as both a mouth and an anus. Any gas expelled by a cnidarian would be more appropriately termed a belch rather than a fart, since the animal lacks intestines and separate anus.
    Pogonophoran worms: These remarkable animals, who dwell on the sea floor near active volcanic regions associated with mid-ocean ridges, possess no mouth, no stomach, no intestines, and no anus. Apparently they retain their svelte, worm-shaped figures by giving up on eating completely! They survive by means of a mutualistic relationship with chemosynthetic bacteria that live in their flesh. Anyway, these animals cannot possibly fart.

    A second category of animals that probably don't fart are animals that live very deep underwater. At high pressures, gas remains in solution rather than forming bubbles. So there is a good chance that all those clams, echinoderms, fish and other animals living near the sealer don't fart because their farts stay in solution and never emerge as bubbles, even though the animals possess perfectly good intestines and anuses.

Is it possible to leave a brown spot on your pants because of a fart, and if so, what causes it?

    Judging from what I see when I do the laundry, I'd say that the answer to the first question is definitely yes.
   As for the causes, we must remember that what we call "fart" and what we call "poop" are just end-members of a continuum. That is, we can have a pure fart, or a pure poop, or anything in-between, depending upon the admixture of the two.
   If a sample consists mostly of poop with only a small fart component, you get such things as jet-propelled bowel movements and spongy, floating fecal masses .
   If the sample consists mostly of fart with only a small poop component, you get what is known as "skid marks" or "fart art." These can also result from inadequate wiping, but the shape of the stain is different in the two cases.  Inadequate wiping leads to elongate marks parallel to one's crack, usually with well-defined edges, whereas fart art is generally more circular and has an air-brushed look.
   Fart art is most likely to occur if a person is suffering from diarrhea, the person is trying too hard to fart, and the person mistakenly perceives the pressure against his sphincter to be gas pressure rather than liquid pressure. Again, that last situation is most likely to occur if the person is afflicted with diarrhea.

How can we tell when it's only gas needing to come out, rather than something more serious?

    Our ability to distinguish between the need to fart and the need to poop is something that we learn gradually in the process of toilet training and early childhood. With the tactile nerve endings in the rectal area, we can actually feel different sensations depending upon what is waiting by the exit. Of course, sometimes we are fooled, especially if the substance at hand is extremely fluid in nature, and that is when we have the unfortunate accident of venting a squirt of diarrhea rather than an innocent fart.

Why do chicks always deny farting?

   

    I suppose I should start by saying that only some chicks deny farting. The rest of us acknowledge our gaseous accomplishments with pride.
    However, a great many sisters do deny farting. The reason is that they have been misled into thinking that farts are not ladylike. It is a great mistake to say that farting is not ladylike. The reason is that all people fart, including ladies. Anything that ladies do is by definition ladylike, and that includes the emission of anal gases.

Is is possible that, by inhaling other people's farts all day long, my own farts will smell more?

   

    No, inhaled farts would go into the lungs rather than into the digestive system, and would simply be exhaled again, although it might be possible that some of the fart components might be absorbed into the blood. If you wanted to benefit from other people's farts in the way you describe, you would have to swallow them somehow.
 

Is it possible to get stoned after inhaling two or three farts in a row?

   

    I am not aware of any intoxicating agents in flatulence. However, most farts contain very little oxygen, and you may experience dizziness if you are inhaling overly concentrated fart essence, simply from lack of oxygen. On the other hand, if you are inhaling farts in the open air and are breathing rapidly in order to inhale as much fart as possible, you may be hyperventilating, which also induces dizziness.

    Then there is the intrinsic hilarity factor: farts are so funny in both sound and odor that you might feel high just from the basic entertainment value of farts.

Is it possible for a fart to kill you?

    A great many of you have asked if farts can be fatal, or if you can die from smelling a particularly bad fart. My initial response to this question was "no," but I thought I'd better ask a doctor. So now it is official, the medical opinion I received is no, a fart can't kill you.
    However, if you really work hard at it, you can manage to kill yourself with just about anything. I recently read of a man who hooked up his nose to his anus with a system involving a gas mask, rubber tubing and a hollow wooden post. He died of suffocation. This story comes from the Darwin Awards, and I personally cannot attest to the overall veracity of their stories.
    The story of the bed-bound obese man who died from inhaling his own flatulence is an urban legend that has been in circulation for some time.

Can excessive farting cause impotence?

   

    That depends on the tolerance level of the person with whom one is trying to be potent!
    Fortunately for humans, farting doesn't cause tissue damage. Other animals aren't so lucky. Soldier termites can actually turn themselves into bombs by detonating themselves via the explosive release of gas and feces, a process called "autothysis."

Is it possible to inhale via one's anal opening?

   

    Yes, but it's a rare talent. The great early 20th Century French flatulist, Le Petomane, was able to do this, and in fact was able to suck up an entire bowlful of water into his colon and expel it again with considerable force.  By sucking in large quantities of air, he was able to perform lengthy shows on stage, and could imitate musical instruments, farm animals, and bird songs, whistle melodies, and play the ocarina. His productions were said to be virtually odorless, which is to be expected from air obtained directly from the outside.
    Here is a message I received recently regarding the skill of inhaling via the anus:

  "i would just like you to know that i am part of a trio, who can suck in air in our anal openings. we are somewhat air-bandits. we can let the longest farts you have ever heard. our record holder, chad, stands at 24 sec. the record for most farts in a row is derek, at 492. and i, robert, have earned such nicknames as: Mad Crapper, gurglemeister, and old wetful. We have  followed Le Petomane example, and have mastered the art of farting."

What causes the burning sensation that sometimes accompanies a fart?

   

    This is generally caused by a recent meal of hot peppers or related spices. The oils associated with these foods remain intact and active all the way through one's gastrointestinal system.

If you fart in the bathtub, is the water polluted and should you refill the tub?

   

    As long as what comes out is only fart and no poop, your bath water should not be significantly polluted. Most of the gas just bubbles up and contaminates the air rather than the water.

Is it true that a woman can fart out of her, shall we say, frontal opening, and if so, where does the gas come from?

   

    Yes, it is true!  The gas that emerges is simply trapped air, for there is no gas production in the genitalia of a woman. The air can enter because the system is open to the outside. This highly specialized kind of fart is sometimes called a queef.

Can a man fart out of his genital opening?

   

    I have asked various men this question and they all deny it emphatically.

Is it possible to capture a fart in a jar and save it for later use?

   

    It should be theoretically possible to do this, but there would be lots of logistical problems. I would suggest using a plastic bag instead of a jar. You might try the following as a science fair experiment:
    Fart into several plastic bags and seal them carefully. Then fill several other plastic bags with ordinary air. Wait 24 hours. Then get volunteers to smell the contents of the bags to see if they can correctly identify which ones contain the farts. This should tell you if it is possible to store a fart in any useful way.

    Malachi and Megaera have come up with a way to capture a fart in a jar. They say to do it in the bathtub while bathing. Fill the jar with bath water and then hold it with the open end downward. Lean back in the bathtub so that your fart bubbles will emerge in front of you rather than behind you where you can't see them. Catch the bubbles in the jar, and put the lid on the jar while it's still underwater. This way, you capture a fairly pure fart uncontaminated by atmospheric air. To enjoy your captured fart to the fullest extent, make sure that your jar does not already smell like whatever was it it before, like pickles or peanut butter.

Is it weird to enjoy farting?

   

    It is not unusual to enjoy farting. I believe that enjoyment of farting is a healthy attitude, since everyone has to fart. If a person is farting to the extent that it creates problems and unhappiness, then a visit to a doctor is in order.

What color is a fart?

   

    Farts are, alas, colorless. All of the gases that make up farts have no inherent color. But just think of how interesting it would be if farts were bright orange like nitrogen dioxide gas! It would certainly take the mystery out of who farted.
    Never-the-less, a high-personality gas like fart gas suggests color to people. Some people envision farts as brown, others as green or yellow. I have always thought of farts as brown, presumably because poop is brown. When someone farts in our car, that person might say, "You better not breathe through your mouth for awhile, or your teeth will turn brown."
   I knew a toddler who used to draw pictures of farts as yellow rectangles full of holes, like a slice of Swiss cheese. She thought of farts as yellow, and said that she knew they were rectangular because she could feel the sharp corners scraping against her on the way out!

Do other people smell a fart better than the farter?

   

    The fart should smell just as much for the person who created it as it does for other people. However, the farter is somewhat protected by having the fart propelled away from his body in a direction opposite to his nose.  Farting upwind nullifies this advantage.

Why is it that when you scratch your rear through two layers of clothing your fingers still stink?

   

    As pointed out by Barb F., who contributed the term listed below, a fart can be regarded as "aerosolized poop," which means that microscopic fragments and droplets of poop are actually distributed throughout the gaseous matrix of the fart. When delivered from the anus with some force, the components of the fart can penetrate one's clothing and these tiny particles can be trapped in the fibers of the cloth. The particles are transferred to your fingers and then your nose when you scratch and sniff.

Where does the word "fart" come from?

   

    According to Eric Partridge in his excellent book of word origins , our word fart comes from the Old English word feortan, presumably of echoic origin, meaning that the word was chosen to sound like the object named.

When it is cold outside and you fart, can you see it like you can see your breath?

   

    Now, that's an interesting idea! My guess would be yes, since farts are nice and moist like our breath, but this is one question that I'm not in a position to answer. I live in the tropics, and it never gets cold here. So all of you who live in cold places, try it out and let me know. I'd guess that there are really two questions here: can you see the fart with no pants on, and can you see the fart even with pants on...

 

Fart Sounds