Could you explode from excess gas?

Originally Published: February 28, 1997 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: June 25, 2012
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Dear Alice,

Is it possible for your intestines to explode if you have gas?

Thanks,

Gaseous

Dear Gaseous,

Do you ever feel souncomfortable, bloated, crampy, and distended that you think you may explode? This intense sensation is due to gas that is trapped in the intestine. Since the gas has nowhere to go, it builds up with increasing pressure, leaving you with gas pain. Good news for you —there are no findings that suggest that a person (or his/her intestine) can actually explode from flatulence. The only "explosion" might be a loud and startling noise that results from such a forceful expulsion (i.e., a fart).

Now that you’ve got your foot on the gas pedal, it is useful to know that between 7 and 10 liters of gas are processed by the intestine daily. Although most gas is reabsorbed into the blood, when your intestine can no longer accommodate what is left over, it gets pushed out of the intestine via contractions. The result: you'll pass the gas, fart, cut the cheese, let one rip, break wind, blow bad mud, have SBDs (silent, but deadly, farts), etc.

If you are experiencing recurrent or chronic gas sensations that resemble near-explosions, you may want to speak with a health care provider. Columbia students can make an appointment with Medical Services through Open Communicator, or by calling x4-2284. For more information, you can check out the related questions, and perhaps the children's book, The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts, by Shinta Cho.

Now that was a relief!

Alice