What Makes Up A Fart?

what makes up a fart can be an embarrassing problem

Nitrogen is the primary gas released. Methane and hydrogen, lesser components, are flammable, and so flatulence is susceptible to catching fire. Not all humans produce flatus that contains methane. For example, in one study of the feces of nine adults, only five of the samples contained bacteria capable of producing methane. Similar results are found in samples of gas obtained from within the rectum.

The gas released during a flatus event frequently has a foul odor which mainly results from low molecular weight fatty acids such as butyric acid (rancid butter smell) and reduced sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) and carbonyl sulfide that are the result of protein breakdown. The incidence of odoriferous compounds in flatus increases from herbivores, such as cattle, to omnivores to carnivorous species, such as cats. Flatulence odor can also occur when there is a number of bacteria and/or feces in the anus while being expelled. A small amount of solid or liquid fecal matter in fine particulate aerosol form may also be expelled, and included, along with flatulence.

The Undeniable Sound of Farting
The noises commonly associated with flatulence are caused by the vibration of the anus. The sound varies depending on the tightness of the sphincter muscle and velocity of the gas being propelled, as well as other factors such as water and body fat. The pitch of the flatulence outburst can also be affected by the anal embouchure.

Among humans, sometimes farting happens accidentally, such as incidentally to coughing or sneezing; on other occasions, intentional farting occurs through the tensing and releasing of the anal sphincter.

Flatus (flatulence) is air or gas in the intestine that is released through the rectum. This gas consists mainly of the odourless gas carbon dioxide. Small amounts of other gases are present, such as methane and hydrogen sulphide. The unpleasant smell of intestinal gas is a result of the hydrogen sulphide or other compounds. These other compounds are mostly amines, which are produced when proteins are broken down in the colon. The amines can be particularly offensive.

What makes the stinky odor?
The gas released during a flatus event frequently has a foul odor which mainly results from low molecular weight fatty acids such as butyric acid (rancid butter smell) and reduced sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) and carbonyl sulfide that are the result of protein breakdown.

The incidence of odoriferous compounds in flatus increases from herbivores, such as cattle, through omnivores to carnivorous species, such as cats or dogs. The more sulfur-rich your diet, the more sulfides and mercaptans 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.Flatulence odor can also be caused by the presence of large numbers of bacteria and/or the presence of feces in the anus.

Social considerations
As a normal body function, the action of flatulence is an important signal of normal bowel activity and hence is often documented by nursing staff following surgical or other treatment of patients. However, symptoms of excessive flatulence can indicate the presence of irritable bowel syndrome or some other organic disease. In particular, the sudden occurrence of excessive flatulence together with the onset of new symptoms provide reason for seeking further medical examination.

Flatulence is not poisonous; it is a natural component of various intestinal contents. However, discomfort may develop from the build-up of gas pressure. In theory, pathological distension of the bowel, leading to constipation, could result if a person holds in flatus.

Not all flatus is released from the body via the anus. When the partial pressure of any gas component of the intestinal lumen is higher than its partial pressure in the blood, that component enters into the bloodstream of the intestinal wall by the process of diffusion. As the blood passes through the lungs this gas can diffuse back out of the blood and be exhaled.

If a person holds in flatus during daytime, it will often be released during sleep when the body is relaxed. Some flatus can become trapped within the feces during its compaction and will exit the body, still contained within the fecal matter, during the process of defecation.

Filed under: General Issues

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