Because everybody farts, it’s normal you see,

you don’t hold in your poo, you don’t hold in your pee.

Better out than in is what we like to say,

yet you let one slip in public and it can pave the way,

for others to shame you, make fun, have a laugh

leaving you all embarrassed, wanting to barf.

And what if it’s a problem, something wrong in your gut?

That you can’t control the stuff that’s coming out your butt!

You ask Google for help, why am I so windy?

Because everybody farts, it’s normal you see...

WE’VE all been there, let’s not pretend. Whether it’s been at the cinema, in a meeting, on a date, on public transport or wherever else that you’re in company and you can’t get away.

You suddenly get that awful feeling in your gut. The one that sends rising waves of panic through you. You need to fart.

You cannot concentrate on what’s being said because all your energy is going into holding your fart in. You become consumed with analysing your options. Best-case scenario, it just goes away. You begin to scan exit points and hope to escape to the toilet or somewhere secluded at least, so you can set it free. If none of these options are possible, you pray for help from a higher power that when it comes out, it does so discreetly and without any odour, and most importantly, without anyone noticing it was gifted

by you.

Holding a fart in can be uncomfortable – especially when the pressure builds up. You shuffle about in your chair, you cross your legs, drink some water ... but nothing helps.

You catastrophise.

You lose perspective.

You remember all those rhymes and memes from the past. The worst thing that can happen IN YOUR LIFE is to fart in front of your boss, your new partner or, as happened to TV presenter Wendy Williams (now referred to as “Windy” Williams) a few weeks ago, in front of millions of people on live telly.

I was listening to the discussion around this situation on BBC Radio Scotland this week and Kaye Adams brilliantly approached the issue of body positivity and why we need to

stop being so ashamed of normal bodily functions. After all, we don’t have an issue with people coughing, blowing their noses

or sneezing in public – even though these potentially spread disease. Yet the passage of some wind out the backside holds such a taboo.

Flatulence – the medical term for farting – is normal and everyone, even the Queen, does it. It is perfectly normal to pass wind anywhere between 5-15 times a day. Smelly farts or farting a lot more than usual can be related to the types of foods you’re eating and how hard they are to digest, or could be due to swallowing excess amounts of air. However, if there has been a change to the amount or type of farts normal to you, then it could be a sign of something more serious.

Foods associated with excess flatulence include pulses (beans and lentils), cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, Brussels sprouts, some dried fruits, fizzy drinks and beer. Also the sweetener sorbitol – found in many foods and drinks – is associated with causing excess wind. Some medications, prescribed or from over the counter, can also cause excessive or foul-smelling wind so check the side-effects list if this is becoming an issue for you.

Many don’t know this, but chewing gum, smoking, wearing loose-fitting dentures, sucking hard sweets and eating a lot of fibre all introduce more air into the body and so contribute to excessive flatulence. Avoiding these can, therefore, help – as can eating or drinking more slowly or eating smaller portions of food more regularly, and I always advise patients to drink peppermint tea, especially after meals. It is known to aid digestion and helps with wind.

I was listening to the show with my six-year-old whom I educate a lot about body positivity and body confidence. I want him to be able to appreciate, respect and love his own body while also being considerate and kind towards others, knowing that everyone has a different body shape, size and colour and that bodily functions are not to be shamed. He therefore couldn’t understand why Wendy was being called “Windy Williams” and asked: “What’s wrong with farting mummy, it’s natural?”

I do appreciate etiquette is important and much like you would apologise for burping or sneezing, doing the same for passing wind is appropriate.

The gut is a complex organ

and is inextricably linked to

every other system in the body.

We must not, as a collective,

“poo-poo” its functioning. There could be more serious issues going on, so the discussions around bowels and flatulence need to be more open and non-judgmental, remembering that everybody farts, it’s normal you see.