A person stands at the edge of a field that appears serene from above but the viewer can see that below lies undetectable and unexpected potential explosions.

Why Farting is a Minefield with IBS

Can we take a second to talk about gas? How painful, annoying and embarrassing it can be for people with IBS. Because not a day goes past without me thinking about it, experiencing it and sometimes, just sometimes, denying it came from me. There, I said it.

According to the NHS, the average person farts between 5 and 15 times a day, and it’s caused when you swallow air or eat foods which your body finds difficult to digest.

Don't know what you're going to get when you pass gas

For me, farting is a minefield because I never know what I’m going to get.

It could be that bizarre feeling of a rush of air zipping through your body, ready to expel itself immediately, without any warning. It could be announced with a loud stomach gurgle, usually when you’re in an important meeting and it’s just gone quiet. How about that desperate moment when you can tell you need to pass wind but you can’t because of fear of what will happen next. After all, with IBS-D you never know if it will just be gas or a little added extra that you never ordered. Better to be safe and exit to the nearest toilet, than be sorry.

I spend my life wondering and worrying if it will be a silent one, a puff of air, that no one will ever know about. Or whether it’ll be a ripper with a funky smell that lingers. One of those ones that once you catch a whiff, the smell never leaves your nostrils.

If you’re out in a busy, loud place, you assess the risk of letting one go and it going unnoticed. I should note that if you’re in an office, it’s not worth taking the risk. That’s not how you want to make a name for yourself.

Bloating is the type of gas I hate the most

More frequently than not I get that painful, hard stomach bloat where you can feel the pressure building. Your top button has popped itself open. Queen are singing Under Pressure in the background. But the problem is, the bloat could be there all day before deciding it’s ready to start deflating. And that’s the type of gas I hate the most.

When the flatulence disappears suddenly

How about that age-old problem of knowing you’re safe to fart but all of a sudden your body’s come down with a case of stage fright and you can’t. Meaning if you’re in the loo, you have to sit there patiently and wait. Squeezing and tensing one minute and trying to stretch it out the next.

Anyone ever tried that classic bum shuffle to see if you can somehow squeeze it back in again? No, me neither.

Farting is a minefield. And it’s only one of the symptoms.

How do you deal with unwanted gas?

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