This is almost a crappy thing to write about but in the interests of your health, if not your air quality, do read on. A study compiled by a team of researchers in Denmark found humans do fart more on airplanes and concludes we shouldn't hold back.
A Danish gastroenterologist, Jacob Rosenberg became interested in passing wind, or at least the phenomena of passing wind on airplanes, after he experienced first-hand a flight in which there was a generous amount of malodorous conduct on the part of passengers, including himself.
Study on flying and farts
That lead Rosenberg to become interested in studying farting and flying and whether humans do have more flatulence on flights, which has been thought to be the case. Not seeking to be a butt of jokes but wishing to learn more, he enlisted 4 others of his profession, from Denmark and the U.K., and they began assembling and examining scientific material on flatulence.
Their study, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, is not exactly a ripper, it's only 3,000 words, but the information they built up and released, and their conclusions, are of note. Firstly, the answer is yes, humans fart more up in the air than on the ground. This is because, they say, higher altitude causes the gut to create more sulfuric acid, which in turn causes us to emit proportionally more farts on a flight than the 10 a day we normally let go.
Flatulence and letting go
An aspect of the work they produced is their insistence that we don't hold back. We may be conditioned to be circumspect about where and how we let out our gas go but Rosenberg smells a problem there, saying that to refrain on a flight could impact your health.
"That (holding back) holds significant drawbacks for the individual, such as discomfort and even pain, bloating, dyspepsia and pyrosis (heartburn), just to name but a few resulting abdominal symptoms," the study said. "Moreover, problems resulting from the required concentration to maintain such control may even result in subsequent stress symptoms."
The researchers do note, however, that there is a dilemma for those working in the cockpit. "On the one hand, if the pilot restrains a fart, all the drawbacks previously mentioned, including impaired concentration, may affect his abilities to control the plane," the study said. "On the other hand, if he lets go of the fart, his co-pilot may be affected by its odour, which again reduces safety onboard the flight."
Farts Wars: Gas and the sexes
Rosenberg and co. researched other aspects of flatulence and let out another interesting alleged fact: they say the material and studies they examined indicate gas produced by the female of the species is of a stronger odour than the gas of a male. While there may be a great many married women who would argue that point, those women can at least argue that what men may lack in content, they more than make up for in quantity.
That would certainly be the contention of this reporter's wife.