“Your colon will not explode if you don’t pass the gas,” says Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, a gastroenterology professor at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, which reassures me more than it should. It will just be more embarrassing when it finally happens. “The longer you hold it in, the more uncomfortable you may be, and the pressure builds up. And that pressure just causes more bloating and discomfort and pain.”
For most of the people I talked to, the stench was the biggest concern. Most often, Ganjhu says, that comes from two things: the foods you eat (think trendy cruciferous vegetables, like brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale; and nitrogen-rich fare, like red meat) and how much poop you have hanging out in your bowels. “It’s important not to get constipated,” she says, “and just have regular bowel movements to try to empty everything out, both the air and the stool, to help with the odor.”
I just assumed that, at some point, I’d feel comfortable enough in our relationship to accept that he was going to see the real me—farts and all. But, a little over a year in, that day has yet to come.
“There are certain times when we’ve outlawed farting,” Simon says. “One: eating. No farts around eating. And closed spaces, like the elevator. Honestly, she's worse about that than I am. And my last place is the bedroom. No farts in the bed, particularly because it leads down to dutch ovens*.”