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.

  • 5
    So I know this sounds like a silly question, but I'm serious about asking it. I mean, I'll confess, I think this question is imminent on health.SE, but I request that you don't down-vote because of content. Down-vote because the question is too broad or opinion based or runs against health.SE's standards. We're better than down-voting just because a question sounds immature.
    – Dave Liu
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 21:16
  • I agree. There's nothing silly or immature about the question.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


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.


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    Sorry, but I'm not accepting a popular "news blog" story from a site full of anime and cat videos as an authoritative source, and I'm sure as heck not accepting the rather radical opinions of a guy who sells an anti-gas product.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 18:36
  • I've done some editing, I hope it satisfies your complaint or suggestion?
    – Prince
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 18:53
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    Better than the cat video site, but I don't see anything that supports your contention that holding in gas can "blow up" the intestinal wall or create diverticula. And I don't know why you posted an article on halitosis. What does that have to do with flatulence?
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 22:53
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    First of all, I never posted that article on halitosis, and secondly, I've removed that website
    – Prince
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 9:32
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    @DaveLiu And three years later, he reawakens. ;-)
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 23:54

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