Does the temporary build-up of air cause any damage, short or long term, or health concerns? I've heard from relatives that excessive holding-in can damage the intestines, but I'm not sure if that's true. I think a thorough answer would describe why humans fart, if there is a reason, and the process of farting.
It can have negative effects on our internal organs. Stomach bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation can all be caused by holding in gas. When the gas mixes with our blood and then enters the lungs, it can even become the cause of halitosis (bad breath).
Holding it in, however, while polite and good politics, is bad for your health. That’s because the pressure of a flatus must go somewhere. If not expelled, the gas can blow up the intestinal wall, creating pockets called diverticula. When these pockets get infected, a painful and life-threatening condition called diverticulitis can result.
Because of fart phobia, diverticular disease is a major problem in our society. It is estimated that 30 million Americans suffer each year from this condition, including 40 percent of those aged 65 and 60 percent of those aged 80.
Modern medicine recognizes that pressure inside the colon causes the marble-sized diverticula to form. But the cause of the pressure is still regarded as unknown.