Internal farts


Maybe it’s age, a propensity towards flatulence, or a combination of both, but lately it’s with unerring frequency that I experience something I have dubbed the ‘colon fart’. And while a straw poll suggests this isn’t the most common of physical ailments, those brave enough to share their own experiences of the phenomenon suggest I am not entirely alone in having them. But that doesn’t make them any less pleasant; not due to the entirely benign effect they have on me, but because of the assumptions they elicit in others.

Let me explain.

Imagine you are sat on a train, or stood at a bus stop, or hanging around in a waiting room. It’s quiet. If you’re on the train, it’s at a station. If you’re at the bus stop, the traffic has lulled. And if you’re in the waiting room, you’re in England (people who strike up conversations with strangers in this country are either mad, pervy or foreign – it’s just not done).

Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, you feel a build up of windy-pops in your lower gut – a bottom burp is imminent! In the privacy of your own home or car this would be quickly released with (one would hope) a satisfying parp and the sweet noxious smell of success. But alas, civilians are present. Most of us have an in-built predisposition to protect our fellow man, and so you instinctively want to spare them the trauma of inhaling your internal smells. It’s only polite. And of course (especially if you’re English) you want to protect yourself from the shameful embarrassment of letting rip in public. Thankfully, due to years of finely honed sphincter control, this is not a problem: you simply clench in the appropriate manner, and let that little bubble of toxic air ascend back up your rectum for safe and considered dispersion at a later time. Civilians protected; embarrassment spared!

Unless, inexplicably and uncontrollably, it turns into a colon fart; a painless yet agonising physiological process by which the rearrangement of pressures within your lower digestive tract creates a resonant cacophony of intestinal noise that, for all intents and purposes, sounds like you just farted, even though you altruistically held it in.

Everyone looks around to see the perpetrator of this most heinous of social crimes. What the hell are you supposed to do? Loudly explain to the gathered masses that while that may well have sounded like you  just passed wind, it was in fact an internal rearrangement of gases, and that if they consult their olfactory senses they’ll notice that no odour has been unleashed upon them? Of course not. You just sit there and absorb the glaring condemnation.

Actually, during one particularly excruciating episode of colon farting, some other bastard sat nearby took the opportunity to use my resonating rectum to disguise his own ‘silent but deadly’. And I knew exactly who it was, his face unable to hide the delight of slipping his awful stench into the room and letting me take the blame! I doubt bouncing up and down on my seat and yelling “It wasn’t me, it was him!” would have remedied the situation.

Curse my ebullient bowels.


  1. My mother is the most heinous of crop dusters. We were in a dept store once and two good looking all American college boys were standing near the ladies dept have a little convo. My mom was looking at sweaters nearby. I saw her suddenly scuttle off to the shoe section. All American boy 1 says, “DUDE! You could warn a brother!! Foul man!!” To which his buddy replied and vociferously maintained his innocence in the deed. I look back at my mom in the shoe section and she is laughing her ass off. Farting is always funny as long as you are the giver and not the taker. I can’t write this on my blog. She would kill me.

  2. Anon :)

    I would like to say that I feel your pain but as yet, probably thanks to youth being on my side 😉 this internal noise issue hasn’t become a problem for me. I would like to share with you though a flatulence related parental incident that occurred when i was in my delicate teenage years. My brother, my mum and I were all standing in Ikea on a Saturday (you can picture the scene and the mood – we were in the ‘mall’ – i.e. the end bit where you’ve passed all the cool rooms and are now met with the reality of having to put the bloody stuff together). My mum started giggling which is never a good sign. She then let off a short, sharp and unexpectedly loud trump (that word does actually do it justice). Quickly my brother and I tried to disassociate ourselves from this social disaster, unaware of the fact that this was to be just the start…. My mum, now laughing uncontrollably (probably fuelled by shame and disbelief) ran after us in the hope that she could, at the very least, allow us to soak up 2/3 of her humiliation. We ran faster. What we didn’t expect though was that after having two kids and a couple of decades of zip-all pelvic floor exercises, she proceeded to release another violent fart with every jogging step she took. This debacle continued through home furnishings and into the indoor plant section and took approximately 20 seconds to complete – which may not sound a lot on paper but is actually an eternity. it was only as we’d gone through the checkout and out of the glares of the horrified shoppers that she later declared to us that she’d also wet herself. Roll on old age.

  3. You describe it beautifully and truthfully! Though not funny in the moment…this was priceless!

  4. Miranda

    I hate this condition. I have it too and I already have an anxiety problem, so that doesn’t help any.

  5. Charles Adam

    I am inward farting as we speak. Something of a curse, I’d agree. Mine don’t always sound like internal rippers, often they’re just these strangulated, high-pitched squeals that cause acute embarrassment. Like the neck of a balloon being throttled as it’s deflating. Once I remember this really terrible inward fart I did that reached right up my spine and lasted for about 25 seconds. I was in the library. Wanted to die.

  6. Luis Fernández del Castillo Kasten

    This was hilarious lol

  7. Todo

    I have the name problem!to prevent it from happening i have to give you a few tips: don’t chew gun at all,try to go to the toilet before an event,dont eat foods that make you gussy,eat rice,dont go to work when you are ill and i personally take a pill of buscopan .i hope it helps(ps don’t drink coffe or sweets with stevia is also very important)

  8. Elizabeth

    Cut out bread, rice and all those carb filled foods. I can guarantee that this worked for me and I really think it’s worth a shot for anyone who experiences this, as I know how difficult and embarrassing this problem is especially if you have to be around people and in quiet settings very often. Along with cutting out breads and rice, I also try my best to follow this site’s specific diet to help me choose what foods to eat and not eat. This diet shows you which foods are less fermentable (okay to eat) and which are more fermentable (the ones to avoid). Really hope this helps! I’ve never personally tried going gluten free instead of cutting out rice and breads completely, because i always have school and I know that this method works for me and I don’t want to risk it. But if you can I think it’s also worth a shot.
    Scroll down to the link that says “SIBO specific food guide”

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