February 21, 2013

AIR TRAVEL JUST GETS MORE AND MORE APPEALING: Let your flatulence fly, scientists urge passengers.

Flying increases flatulence, according to an article published Friday in the peer-reviewed New Zealand Medical Journal, and passengers should release the gas — or risk painful medical consequences.

Lead author Dr. Jacob Rosenberg, professor of surgery at the University of Copenhagen, said he always wondered why he had more flatulence flying than when on the ground. Then, after a recent trip, he opened his bag and noticed a water bottle “almost smashed by the change in ambient pressure,” said Rosenberg. “And then I thought of the mechanisms of increased bowel air volume when flying.” . . .

There’s a clear medical rationale for releasing the gas. Holding back flatulence can lead to “discomfort and even pain, bloating, dyspepsia and pyrosis,” according to the article, titled “Flatulence on Airplanes: Just Let it Go,” which surveyed previously published research and studies. It also notes that holding back flatulence has been suggested as a major risk factor for diverticular disease, a condition where pouches develop in the wall of the colon.

Well, you wouldn’t want that.