Having horrible gas isn’t something you generally like to share with the world. Unless you’re within blasting distance of a sibling. But everybody suffers from it. Or almost everybody, as a new survey of citizens from the US, the UK, and Mexico has found that a whopping 81.3% of the adult population deals with “breaking wind” uncomfortably within a 24-hour period. And all we can say to that is: we smell your pain.
Gizmodo picked up on the survey, conducted by scientists from the Rome Foundation Research Institute in the US in collaboration with Danone Nutricia Research in France. The researchers presented their study at a recent United European Gastroenterology (UEG) conference in Vienna, Australia. And yes, the UEG focuses on exactly what you think it does.
According to the survey, eight out of every 10 adults from the participating countries reported flatulence within a 24-hour period. As EurekaAlert! notes, respondents also reported other “gas-related intestinal symptoms,” including things like stomach rumbling, which affected 60.5% of adults, bad breath (48.1%), belching (58%), and bloating/abdominal pressure (38.5%).
On average, the survey found that three different gas symptoms plagued each respondent within the previous 24 hours. And only 11.1% of the 6,000 people who participated in the survey reported having no gas symptoms whatsoever. Younger adults, encompassing the 18-34 and 35-49 age ranges, reported the highest overall burden of symptoms; earning, on average, the highest Intestinal Gas Questionnaires (or IGQ) score.
Despite the hilarity of how pervasive toots and the byproducts of musical fruits are, respondents universally associated gas-related issues with mental ones. Higher IGQ scores correlated with lower quality of life and issues like stress and depression. Interestingly, however, lower IGQ scores did not correlate with weight or BMI. Although exercise did have a “modest” negative association. (Which maybe means if you’re gassy, try doing some yoga? With a sibling, preferably.)
“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,” lead author of the study, Professor Olafur Palsson from the University of North Carolina, said in his presentation.