. Why do you get flatulence on a plane and how to avoid it?

. Why do you get flatulence on a plane and how to avoid it?
Health. Why do you get flatulence on a plane and how to avoid it?

Flatulence is defined in the dictionary of the Academy of Medicine as “ an accumulation of air in the stomach or intestines.”

She’s there “cause of painful sensations of bloating in the abdomen attributed by the subject to an excess of digestive gases, and sometimes accompanied by belching”.

The occurrence of these gases arises in particular from the fermentation of molecules from foods, called oligosaccharides.

The pressure that expands…

By plane, the production of these digestive gases seems greater. This feeling is certainly due to the prolonged sitting position but it is mainly explained by the air pressure in the cabin, which is much lower than on dry land.

The rapid reduction in pressure will thus lead to an expansion of gases within our intestine. They will somehow take up more space, hence this feeling of pressure: bloating which can therefore lead to flatulence…

In 2019, an Australian team looked into the of airline crew members, notably through a questionnaire focused on sleep and diet.

Among the responses, more than six out of ten people surveyed (62%) reported experiencing episodes of bloating and flatulence in flight on a regular basis, “often” or even “very often”.

Double problem

This problem of flatulence in planes, however, faces a double problem: health and social. Holding in farts exposes you to intestinal pain and potentially severe discomfort.

Which discomfort is transferred to your cabin neighbors, if you decide to release them! Without really deciding, science would rather lean towards releasing one’s farts: so as not to expose oneself to pain but also as reported in a study dated 1975, to avoid the potential occurrence of inflammation in the diverticula. , these small cavities that form on the surface of the colon.

What to do ?

Releasing the gas is also what a Danish team recommends in a 2013 work, with advice also given to airlines.

The authors encourage them to slip activated carbon into their seats, a substance apparently capable of neutralizing bad odors and thus improving the comfort of all passengers.

More safely, during plane meals as well as the day before the trip, to limit the risk of flatulence, avoid foods that promote it. It’s the case :

  • sodas and other carbonated drinks to avoid in favor of plain water;
  • legumes (lentils, etc.);
  • certain fruits such as apples or pears;
  • certain vegetables such as cabbage and other broccoli;
  • dishes rich in garlic and/or onion;
  • white bread and wheat flour.

Source: Dictionary of the National Academy of Medicine, site consulted on April 11, 2024 – Perrin SL, Dorrian J, Gupta C, Centofanti S, Coates A, Marx L, Beyne K, Banks S. Timing of Australian flight attendant food and beverage while crewing: a preliminary investigation. IndHealth. 2019 Aug 3;57(4):547-553. – Pommergaard HC, Burcharth J, Fischer A, Thomas WE, Rosenberg J. Flatulence on airplanes: just let it go. NZ Med J. 2013 Feb 15;126(1369):68-74. -BMJ. 2004 Oct 16; 329(7471): 925.



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