It is easier to fart while standing up or lying down?

By Seriously Science | July 2, 2013 10:00 am

Photo: flickr/Loren Javier

We know you fart. And probably a lot more than you are willing to admit. And it stinks. And sometimes you just want to get it out so you can get on with your life (sans farts). These scientists are here to help you out by determining if you can expel your gas more efficiently by standing or lying down. How did they control for the amount of gas their subjects had, you ask? Why, by blowing their intestines up with gas and measuring how much they farted, of course!

Influence of body posture on intestinal transit of gas.

“BACKGROUND: Patients describe that body posture may affect their abdominal bloating, distension, and flatulence, but whether changes in position have objectively demonstrable effects, either beneficial or deleterious, has not been investigated. Aim: To determine the effect of body posture, upright versus supine, on intestinal transit of gas loads.

SUBJECTS: Eight healthy subjects without gastrointestinal symptoms.

METHODS: In each subject a gas mixture was continuously infused into the jejunum (12 ml/min) for three hours, and gas evacuation, clearance of a non- absorbable gaseous marker, perception, and abdominal girth were measured. Paired studies were randomly performed in each subject on separate days in the upright and supine positions.

RESULTS: In the upright position, intestinal gas retention was much smaller than when supine (13 (52) ml v 146 (75) ml retention at 60 minutes, respectively; p

CONCLUSION: Body posture has a significant influence on intestinal gas propulsion: transit is faster in the upright position than when supine.”

Bonus quote from the materials and methods from the full text:

Rectal gas collection:
To prevent potential effects of the anal sphincters on gas evacuation, gas was collected via an intrarectal catheter (Foley 20 F; Bard, Barcelona, Spain) with the balloon inflated with 5 ml of water. The rectal catheter was connected via a leak proof low resistance collection line to a barostat, and the volume of gas evacuated was continuously recorded on a paper polygraph (model 6006; Letica, Barcelona, Spain), as previously described. A sample of gas evacuated (flatus) during each 30 minute period was stored in metallised bags (Gas collection 750 ml; QuinTron, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA) for later analysis of SF6 concentration by infrared absorbance after determination of standard curves.”

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Which makes you gassier: pinto beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans?
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: High Altitude Flatus Expulsion (HAFE).
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Farts: an underappreciated threat to astronauts.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: diy medicine, ha ha poop
  • freegyan gyanlee

    unbelievable! did someone really investigate this question so rigorously?

  • http://www.thinkyhead.com/ Thinkyhead

    Prone with your butt in the air, that’s one they should have looked at.

  • polistra24

    Supine with knees up is almost as good as prone with butt up. Standing is the worst. No real mystery. In the normal situation (unlike this stupid experiment) gas is bubbling through a semi-solid. Bubbles want to rise.

  • Sroz

    Was this a junior high school science project?

  • Ted

    What about WFS (Walking Farting Syndrome)? Thank you for a good laugh.

  • GoodTimeFrog

    Always easiest when friend pulls one’s finger.

  • Enubus

    Very silly!

  • Vicki S. Youngblood

    I really hate the word “fart” just about as much as I hate clowns. I prefer the word “poot.” Actually I think this was an interesting experiment (at least mildly interesting) as I am a clinical laboratory technologist and have worked in microbiology off and on for years. You just never know what might cause a pandemic…maybe even a lowly “poot”!

  • Let It Rip

    It’s great knowing that there are people out there who want to know more about farting. We should be embracing the fact that we all fart, all the time.

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