If you know someone who farts a lot, don’t be too quick to criticise them. They might just be depressed.
Scientists from the Rome Foundation Research Institute in the US and Danone Nutricia Research in France have published new research on gastro-intestinal problems and came to the conclusion that poor quality of life, stress, anxiety, and depression appear to be major contributors to peoples’ problems with excessive bloating and flatulence.
To get a measure of how widespread these problems are, the researchers asked some 6,000 people from around the world to fill in a form detailing their stomach gas symptoms over a 24-hour period.
More than four out of five of the replying respondents (81.3%) said farting was their most common stomach problem.
The responses from test subjects in the US and US were quite alike, perhaps reflecting our similar diets, although Brits reported about 6% more flatulence and stomach rumbling.
In Mexico, home of the burrito, trapped wind and bloating soared particularly highly.
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Younger people seem to be particularly badly afflicted. Survey respondents aged 18 to 34 and 35 to 49 had the highest level of stomach gas issues.
On a scale specially devised for the survey, the youngest age group scored 24, dropping to 22.6 for the 35 to 49-year-olds.
Respondents aged 65 and over only scored 8.6, indicating that they either farted a lot less or at least didn’t notice.
In a press release to accompany the research, lead author Professor Olafur Palsson from the University of North Carolina said:“I think the most remarkable and surprising finding in our study is that almost all adults in the general population experience some daily gas-related symptoms.
“This is important given the data also clearly reveals that these symptoms affect people’s general wellbeing. Having a high amount of these common intestinal symptoms is associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress, as well as impaired general quality of life”.
He added that there was no clear explanation for the differences in the responses from test subjects in different countries: “Cultural, linguistic, diet or public health factors might affect population levels of gas-related symptoms".
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