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Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Last Taboo

Yesterday I wrote that a fart by any other name would still smell as gross. That got me thinking about the last taboo: openly talking about farts and farting in a serious manner in mixed company.

Discussions about farts are either off-limits, or relegated to humor and comedy. But uncontrollable gas is a serious problem that effects millions of Americans who never crack open a can of beans.

Indeed, the list of conditions that can cause uncontrollable gas is long, and many of these conditions are serious. Some are obvious (such as IBS), while others might surprise you.

Over 30% of Americans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also known as “IBS” – and most sufferers are women. How ironic that an act usually associated with smart-aleck boys and immature men (farting) is, in the case of IBS, afflicting ladies.

Other conditions include HIV/AIDS, malabsorptive syndromes, pancreatitis, lactose intolerance, Crohn’s disease, Colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Celiac disease, and diabetes.

Many prescription and non-prescription medications, as well as dietary supplements, also cause uncontrollable gas. What sad about this is that people are often taking these medications and supplements to treat serious conditions. As a result, they endure the additional suffering and embarrassment of uncontrollable gas.

Gas-inducing meds include antibiotics (penicillin and its derivatives), antiviral medications, cholesterol-lowering drugs, protein supplements, narcotic pain medications, drugs that treat diarrhea (Imodium, Kaopectate, Lomotil), fiber and bulk-producing supplements (such as Fiberall, Metamucil, Citrucel, FiberCon), and iron supplements.

Farting isn't always funny. Especially when it affects you, and you can't control it.


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