Is It Bad to Hold in Farts? How to Prevent Farts?

Is It Bad to Hold in Farts How to Prevent Farts

Farting is the process in which excess gas in the digestive system comes out from your bottom. Medically, it is called flatulence (1). 

The gas may build up in the body due to various reasons such as your food choices, eating habits, digestive disorders, use of certain drugs, etc. While it is advised not to hold in a fart, people wonder what harm holding in can do. What Happens If You Hold in Farts?

Farting in public may cause embarrassment- blame it on sound or smell; it can make anyone feel uncomfortable. But, since holding in a fart is not considered a good idea, how to deal with it?

Farting is a natural process of gas leaving the body. Normally, a person may fart from five to twenty-three times a day, depending upon what he ate or drank and how his body digest it.   

If you also wonder how to deal with farts and what harm holding in can do, keep reading until the end.

Why Is It Bad to Hold in Farts?

Bad to Hold in Farts

The excess gas that builds up in the digestive system comes out either from the mouth through burping or from the bottom as a fart. While burping is not considered embarrassing, farting is due to its area of exit.

Besides, people who smoke more, stay stressed or constipated, or have certain medical conditions may experience more gas in their belly, causing bloating. In such conditions, farting is considered a healthy way to release the excess gas and feel relaxed. 

Even though there is little research done regarding adverse effects of holding in farts, people may experience the following (2)-

According to a study, holding in farts may cause diverticulitis (3). In it, the sacs along the digestive tract get inflamed and swollen. When left untreated, diverticulitis gets severe and causes infection. 

Can Holding in a Fart Kill You?

No, holding in a fart is not life-threatening. In fact, people have been doing it for so long to escape embarrassment. However, you may feel pain and discomfort temporarily. 

What Happens When You Hold in a Fart?

Normally, when the excess gas tries to escape your body from the bottom, it moves from the intestine, reaches the rectum, and passes out through the anus. 

But when you hold it by tightening the muscles around the anus (anal sphincter muscles), it goes back and moves around the digestive system. As a result, you may feel bloating and pain accompanied by discomfort. 

While some of the gas is reabsorbed by the blood system and comes out from the body with exhales, the rest stays near the rectum, causing pressure to be released. 

Can I Prevent Farts from Forming?

Yes, you can definitely take certain measures to prevent excess gas from forming. The digestive system will produce gas as a response to digesting food. At the same time, some air enters the mouth while chewing and swallowing. 

Avoiding Gas Causing Food

While you cannot prevent them, avoiding foods that cause gas can help significantly. Below is a list of gas-causing foods that could be the culprit behind excess gas formation in your body. You can try to avoid one at a time to see if there is some relief. 

  • dairy products
  • beans and legumes
  • crucifers like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage
  • carbonated drinks and beer
  • lettuce
  • sugar-free foods (which contain sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol)
  • onions
  • mushrooms

Eating Balanced Diet

A fiber-rich diet is the best for a healthy digestive system. So, instead of consuming fatty and spicy food, start taking high-fiber foods like whole grains, nuts, raw vegetables, and fruits. 

You can also try cutting high-protein foods from the diet to see if they are the cause behind being gassy. 

Lifestyle Changes 

Making certain lifestyle changes can help reduce fat formation. These are-

  • Chew more than swallowing instantly 
  • Drink slowly as that air doesn’t enter the mouth with each sip
  • Keep the digestive system less stressed by eating small meals at a time
  • Exercise regularly to upkeep your metabolism  
  • Avoid smoking and drinking in excess 

If excess gas builds up due to some underlying medical condition like IBS, treat it with medication to improve the condition. 

Is It Possible to Hold a Fart Safely?

To keep it straight, holding in a fart is not a good idea, and there is no safe way to do so. However, you can hold your anal sphincter muscles for a while until you find a place to fart without anyone acknowledging it. 

Usually, the doctors do not recommend holding in the gas as it can cause more harm than help. 

Health Risks Associated with Farting 

Holding in a fart once in a while won’t cause any trouble; however, it is advised not to make a habit. 

As already mentioned, farting around 5 to 23 times a day is not a problem, but if it’s more foul-smelling, it could be because of any underlying issue. If you have tried all the preventive measures with no luck, visit a doctor to know the cause behind it. 

It is essential to seek medical help if you experience the following symptoms for many days- 

  • Severe bloating and abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Diarrhea or constipation 
  • Blood in stool
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly 


Now that you know the answer to can holding in a fart kill you is NO, it is still advised not to do so or make it a habit. It is the best when you release the fart as it comes. However, if there is an urgency, you can hold it once in a while. But be prepared to feel slight pain and discomfort. 

If farts are coming excessively in a day, try to change your food habits and make some lifestyle changes to see if it helps. In severe cases, seeking medical help will be beneficial.

Image Source : freepik

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